Franz Joseph Glacier

Franz Joseph Glacier

Day 17.

Good intentions…but the warm bed and time of day convinced me that Lake Matheson probably would be clouded if not rainy. The morning starts very good – finally clear sky and sunny. I book an Eco guided tour to the Franz Joseph Glacier starting at 9:30am. We are 9 persons on this guided tour, which brings us a bit away from the beaten track, and the guide explains of flora, fauna, glacier and rocks. We then get closer to the glacier which has a light blue touch. Incredible to think that the glacier in 1908 went all the way to where we are standing – maybe a couple of kilometers from current position. We walk to the river from the melting glacier and touch small pieces of ice which have stayed at the riverbed from last night’s heavy rain. We cross the road to another area not available as part of the regular path, so we can get different views to the glacier. We also see the positions where the glacier went to in year 2008 and 2000 – clearly indicated with the moraine but also tree lines at the surrounding mountains. Like other glaciers, this one is also heavily influenced by the global warming – a very clear sight in how it’s withdrawn. We are nicely surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, riverbed, and then the light blue glacier in front of us. We get a hot drink (tea, coffee, chocolate) and a small break before we continue to the closest point we can get, roughly 750m from the glacier. There are a couple of waterfalls at the glacier, and it’s clear that a lot of water is melting continuously. We continue back along the official path and a few places we are jumping from stones to stones to cross small watercourses.

I drive to Lake Matheson near Fox Glacier to get one of the reflection images where Mount Cook and Abel Tasman are perfectly reflected in the lake. Something is wrong, it’s both cloudy so I can not see the mountain summits, and there is also too much wind so no clear reflection in the lake. Not leaving without a reflection, I take one of myself looking down into the water from the Reflection Island.

I drive to a camp site in Haast but there is not much interesting to see along the way. Quite different camp site from where I came – many large signs in capitals (yelling in your face), and one almost feel as a convict. Over dinner I talk to a father and son from UK, who are travelling around New Zealand in just 2½ weeks (both islands). They are very interested in rugby and cricket and are going to see a couple of cricket matches when they get to Auckland.

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