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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
Next stop Wanaka….