New Zealand Roadtrip: Day 3


I woke up to a beautiful day and took my time packing up camp and eating breakfast. Then I went on a hike back to an old gold mining establishment and then out onto the rocky beach.


After an hour or so I decided I should get a move on from there and started the long drive back out to the main road.


The view from the car wasn’t too shabby along the way.


There was one stop I wanted to make before getting back to Fox Glacier village and the main road: Lake Matheson.


Uh. Wow.

This lake is nicknamed “Mirror Lake” because it’s often glassy and gives a perfect reflection of Mt Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain.


The water wasn’t smooth when I was there since there was a bit of a breeze but it was absolutely worth the visit anyway.


A cool trail wound around the lake with various outlooks along the way.



This plant had fur. Not regular fuzzy fur. Long, hairy fur. It was creepy.


I think this water was famously brown for some natural reason but I don’t remember what it was.

After doing the loop of the lake I headed back to Fox Glacier where I had turned off the main road. I headed straight to the glacier to climb up to the terminus and take a look.


As with all glaciers, there is a river flowing below it from the meltwater. Apparently swimming in the water is a lot like body surfing.


panorama of the cliff in the previous shot. It was big.

It was pretty hot and quite a climb up to the terminus, but it was worth the effort.


That day tourists were able to get to within 200 m of the terminus from the trail. Paid tours took you onto the ice, but I didn’t have time this trip. I’ll just have to go back…


this is the bottom edge of the glacier

You could hear what sounded like avalanches from inside the cave at the lower right. Ice was actively breaking off as I stood there. After a bit of gawking and picture-taking, I headed back down the hill. It was a much quicker trip back down.


This guy was parked in the parking lot. Travelling in style.

I wanted to get another view of the glacier so I headed toward the “Chalet” trail. To get there, I had to pass through Jurassic Park.




After about 90 minutes and a river crossing I got to the chalet which was pretty much a simple treehouse.


A treehouse with the most incredible view ever.


It was cool that I had just been standing next to the glacier a few hours before and now here I was seeing it in all its glory.

I relished the sight for a while and had a snack before deciding to hit the road again. I was heading south toward the Queenstown/Lake Wanaka area and decided to just drive until the sun got low and I found a good campground.


sun’s getting low


found a good campground

I ended up on the shore of Lake Wanaka for the night. Far less crowded than the night before and great facilities for a mere 6 NZ dollars. Great stargazing included.


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