Brrrr, it was about 4 C. this morning when we crawled out of Jucy! Good thing we had extra sleeping bags because they made us toasty as we slept.
Fox Glacier was our first destination today, about 20k from Franz Josef, where we spent the night. There was another half hour hike to the face of the glacier, but we were able to get much closer to Fox glacier than we were at Franz Josef. We were able to see the crevasses and see the water rushing out of the bottom of the glacier. There was blue ice from the years of compacted snow. This glacier was even more impressive than yesterday’s glacier because of our proximity to it. While we were at the viewing area we saw a small rockfall on the far side and it was amazing to hear the sound of rock crashing! There are signs all over the place about not going off the trail because of how unstable the ice and rocks are and now we understand. There were icebergs all over the river bed from when the river was higher and then receded, leaving the icebergs high and dry!
We continued to drive south to Haast, where we turned east to head over a low mountain pass to get to the town of Wanaka. Along the way we stopped at Tasman Sea overlooks, to walk to several waterfalls, and to do a hike through the rain forest and to see some deep blue pools along a river. We got rained on during most of these walks, but never hard and at times the sun was trying to break through.
The Haast Pass route is closed at night because there is a stretch of the road that has been severely damaged because of a rock slide. When we arrived at the site we had to stop because the road crew was letting one lane of traffic through at a time. Usually, when we go through road construction, the speed limit is greatly reduced. Well, at this rock slide area, the road crew was vigorously waving everyone through as fast as you could go! I think the less time you spend in this area, the safer you are!
Once we crossed the pass we were suddenly out of the rain forest environment with heavy, dark clouds and into a drier, sunny environment! The transition was fast and amazing! We drove along the shorelines of 2 huge, long lakes that were fed by glacier water, we think. They were the most lovely shade of blue, especially with a blue sky and harmless, white, puffy clouds!
Wanaka sits at the end of one of these lakes, Lake Wanaka, and we stopped here to do some shopping. After looking over the map we realized we could stay in this beautiful, little town that is surrounded by tall mountains! So we are once again in a Top Ten Holiday Park! Should have bought one of their discount cards! This is the first time I’ve camped right next to a pasture full of sheep and lambs and we are about a kilometer from the town center.
Tomorrow we have at least 5 hours of driving to get to Christchurch, where we fly from on Friday morning. This has been quite a circular tour of NZ and we’ve loved it all!
I’ll end with a photo to make you laugh!