Marc Raffaele Photography

Travel Blog

The West Coast

We were extremely lucky to arrive on the west coast when we did. It was the first day in a week that the weather had cleared enough for helicopters to fly safely over Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, and the next day they were cancelled again! Our heli-flight left from the town of Franz Josef, flew over Fox Glacier, with views to Mt Cook (Aoraki) and Mt Tasman (Horokoau) and landed on Franz Josef Glacier, where we played in the snow for 10 minutes before heading back.

Fox Glacier

Chopper Views

Glacier Crevice

Perspective view from the chopper.

Glacier Helicopters.

Once we arrived back in town we decided we could not get enough of the glaciers, so we hiked through rainforest to the closest viewing points of the terminal faces of both Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.

Franz Josef Glacier

Things you come across along the path to Fox Glacier.

Can’t hide from the paparazzi.

We stayed in the town of Fox Glacier so that we would have access to Lake Matheson at sunrise and sunset, where on a clear day a mirror image of New Zealand’s tallest mountains appears in the lake’s dark waters.  Unfortunately, the weather didn’t allow for this as the mountains were not visible during our stay, but I took a few photos regardless.

Path leading to Lake Matheson.

Lake Matheson.

Mountain peaks just poking through, only time it happened the whole time.

We drove down a long and windy gravel road where free-range sheep roam, to Gillespie’s Beach, a secluded pebble beach with plenty of driftwood, birdlife and pesky sand flies!

Just one of a million sheep seen to date.

Gillespie’s Beach.

Gillespie’s Beach.

We also got lost in the dark during a self-guided tour of the lowland rainforest glow-worm grottos! We made it back to town eventually

Amazing light from the glow-worms.

The next morning we drove through the Haast Pass. It was a spectacular drive, with waterfalls around every turn, many directly adjacent to the road. It rained all day, visibility was not great and I kept getting water drops on my lens.  A few of the better photos are below.

Roaring Billy Falls

Thunder Creek Falls

Fantail Falls.

Next stop Wanaka….

Marc RaffaeleComment