Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Beating the Weather

The west coast of South Island, New Zealand is well known for it's rainfall with an average of 11 metres a year. I guess it wasn't surprising then that it was overcast when we arrived at Fox Glacier and the mountain peaks were not visible. It was only a matter of an hour before it started raining. The motel manager assured us that the forecast for the morning was better.
 Unfortunately she was wrong.

So after a slow start, a trip to the shop, bacon and eggs and catching up on the washing we decided to venture out for a walk. Our plan for the day had included a possible trip in a helicopter onto the surface of Fox Glacier. This was clearly not a possibility but rather than be defeated we chose to walk to as close to the glacier as we could. The walk starts from a car park about 5km from the village and from here we walked up the glacier valley with the melt water river at our side and all the moraine from the previous glacier path.
 We had quite a climb for the last part of the path with signs requesting no stopping due to the risk of falling rocks. I didn't fully understand this. I was pretty sure that a rolling rock would have just a high chance of hitting me whether I was moving or not and I'm afraid I had to stop to catch my breath with my eyes on every rock in sight!

The climb was well worth it. We were able to get within 480 metres of the end of the glacier and it was a truly spectacular sight.

The last photo of these three shows the water trickling out from underneath joined by waterfalls on the side. We returned to our car feeling very satisfied.
The rain had cleared away by the time we arrived at the top of the path and stayed off during our afternoon walk. We had this more distant view of the glacier later in the day.

We noted this morning as we drove out of Fox Glacier that the glacier road and therefore the path was closed due to all the overnight rain so we were very lucky to be able to visit.


  1. You made the best of a dark day! I think photos of dark skies and mountains are pretty awesome.

  2. These photos give me a real sense of why so many Ulster folk emigrated to New Zealand and felt immediately at home

  3. Shame about the helicopter trip but it looks as if the walk was a good option, great views of the glacier