New Zealand February 1999  
At the other end of the world
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  Haast - Fox Glacier 26th February

There is not much more to do in Haast - especially if you don't want to spend money. (There are jetboat trips and wildlife-viewing trips available) That's why we decided to drive the last bit of the way to the Glaciers. Not far away from Haast we stopped at Knights Point Lookout but it was cloudy and hazy; the view was not very good. Nevertheless, we did the walk to Monroe Beach, a one hour walk to a deserted beach, where you may see Fjordland Crested Penguins - but not at this time of the year. The beach was amazing and very beautiful - only the weather was not.

Last stop before our final destination for the day we visited the beginning of the Copland Track. We didn't walk the track, because we had enough of these overnight tramps and we thought it may be to difficult for us. It's six to seven hours of uphill walking. We tried to do the walk to the terminal face in the afternoon but the track was closed. We had a look at the Visitor Information and the shops and spent the afternoon playing games in the lounge.

 Fox Glacier 27th February

In the morning we drove towards Gilliespie Beach because the weather seemed better over there. Eventually the weather did get better there - sunshine :)! At the beach the wind was so strong we thought we were getting ready for take-off. We took the inland path instead and walked to the old gold dredge. Big pieces of rusty metal laying around in the lagoon ..

Well, it was interesting and there was also a small information sign with a picture which showed what it once looked like.

Unfortunately the peak view was not much better on the way back - still too many clouds in front of the mountains.

The walk around Lake Matheson was nice and it is a nice lake also, but the "View of the views" didn't work. No Mountains to see in the distance and no reflection in the lake. When we went to the terminal face the track was re-opened. We got some stunning views towards the glacier - it is very impressive to see the ice down in the valley. But you don't get very close to the ice unless you ignore the ropes and the signs; the area around the Fox Glacier is very unstable. Some people didn't care and went on - but we stayed behind the warning signs. On the way down the Glacier Acess Road we stopped at the River Walk which connects this road with the Glacier View Road. A sign was saying that there is a viewpoint just a two minutes walk from the carpark. Eventually it was only a moment until we reached the great swingbridge over the glacier river. From there we could see the valley (created by the glacier) and the glacier in the distance.

Afterwards we drove up the glacier view road and stopped at a designated viewpoint (Glacier Valley Viewpoint) to see the full length of the glacier, but there were still too many clouds up there disturbing the view. At the carpark we decided not to walk the Chalet Lookout Track because of the clouds. We didn't want to walk an hour and a half just to be disappointed. It was also quite late - time to get back to the accommodation for dinner.

 

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