The drive to Fox Glacier and Fox Glacier

I’m not a rock climber, hiker, trekker, or mountaineer, but I love mountains. The silence, the trees, the mist and clouds, the twisting, rushing rivers in valleys full of rocks… it’s all more magic than a harsh, empty, burning bright beach could ever be.

New Zealand is full of mountains, and some have snow or ice on them all year. We didn’t walk on or fly over any of the glaciers on the South Island, but I was happy we had the chance to stroll up near one of them.

There are 42 photos below.

On the road

It started out sunny on the way from Hokitika to Fox Glacier.
Then it got cloudy.
I’m okay with cloudy.
Sometimes cloudy is nice.
Sometimes it’s pretty awesome!

Fox Glacier (the town)

New Zealand is famous for ferns.
Q: What did the alga say to the fungus? A: I’ve taken a lichen to ya!
That was a joke from high school biology. The teacher wanted us to remember that lichen are the product of symbiotic relationships between algae and fungi. I have now remembered this joke for approximately two decades.
The excellent cafe and shop at Lake Matheson.
The rainy view from the cafe at dinner.
Good morning!
Do you know why it’s a good morning?
We’re going to see the glacier!
I can’t wait!

Fox Glacier (the glacier)

As recommended, and because we needed to leave Fox Glacier and drive to Queenstown, we drove to the start of the gentle one-hour walking trail first thing in the morning. It was very quiet. There were only one or two other people on the trail ahead of us. By the time we were headed back to the parking lot, there were more.

I was glad we got to see the valley empty. I was even more glad it didn’t rain; they close the trail if they think the water might suddenly rise to dangerous levels because of runoff.

So much rock! And so many rocks!
Rocks are so interesting!

We went up that twisty trail to get closer to the glacier.

It’s easy to mistake the scale of these rocks. Those dots are people.

Rocks can fall off the mountains and roll down anytime, especially if it’s raining and they’re pushed by water, but anytime really. These probably didn’t fall recently, though. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

For some reason I had been expecting trees on the trail, but the only shady stretch was this one.

It’s not the rocks that are red here, it’s the stuff growing on them.
This is about as close as the trail gets to the face of the glacier.
That’s the edge of the glacier ice, courtesy of my camera’s zoom.
Time to go back down now… Goodbye, Fox Glacier!