New Zealand Roadtrip: Day 3


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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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

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A treehouse with the most incredible view ever.

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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.

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sun’s getting low

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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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