In case palm trees, babbling brooks, waterfalls, green wilderness which you can stare at and walk through for miles plus clean beaches with rolling waves where you can swim with wild dolphins isn’t enough for you, New Zealand also provides glaciers.
If New Zealand could speak, I think it would say – “Look. I’ve got all the aces. Do you really want to play out this hand?”, which of course would be said extremely politely, in a tone of someone wanting to genuinely help you, not showoff – a trait that seems to run across our entire experience with New Zealanders.
About the ice. They’ve got two glaciers on view for people – Franz Josef, and Fox glacier. The one above is Franz and the people in the foreground were a couple who, on the walk to the glacier (a 45min loop), sped past us and everyone else. I bit my tongue, wanting to yell: “Ya know they’ve already named the glacier!”.
Instead, I thought, at very least, I could memorialize them here for their determination.
Also, in the photo above, is the view of the valley floor, which is amazingly deceiving. You walk into the valley, see the glacier ahead of you, and think it’s 10 mins away. Then after 30 mins, and it’s still far away, you wonder if you’re on a treadmill.
On the walk there, features on the side of the valley include a waterfall:
Plus these enormous rocks, on which you can see the glacier’s teeth marks as it gnawed away on the earth below on its retreat up the mountain:
There’s all kinds of warnings on your way there, steering you in the right direction, so you don’t stray too close to the rocks, which have this disorienting feeling in that they seem thousands of feet away, but are in fact, more likely to be hanging right over you.
Apparently an overzealous tourist recently died trying for a better photograph, leading to all the alarming signs to stay back:
Just above, on the viewing platform, we started a recurring relationship with another couple, who we’ve seen, so far, a total of four times, at other attractions, hundreds of kms apart – granted NZ is small, but it was a funny coincidence.
We then drove down the road 30 mins or so to see another snow capped mountain (honestly, the scenery is so ridiculously picturesque that I would joke, if a normal mountain was in view on our drive – “Come on New Zealand. Give me snowcapped”.
Mount Cook – another mountain near Fox glacier, I had no complaints with:
As an example of the varied landscape, below is what was directly behind us as we took the above photo:
Rose commented that people’s wardrobes were as equally varied as the landscape. We’ve seen all of these combinations on the same day: shorts and t-shirts, pants and sweater, pants and t-shirts, shorts and sweater.
As we worked our way down the West Coast, we stopped at another roadside view, called the Blue Pools:
Where we ran into that couple for a second time, on this bridge, overlooking, yes, another snowcapped mountain:
We’re now heading farther South, down the West Coast to Wanaka.