Published: June 10th 2009June 10th 2009
This end of the south island, we’ve had to retrace our steps back from Milford Sound to Te Anau and on to Queenstown. Just after leaving Queenstown while heading east, we take a left and head north to Wanaka. Wanaka is a nice little town next to a beautiful lake with the backdrop of mountains. In spite of the weather and the fact that it’s off season, it has a very holiday-ish air about it. People walking alongside the lakeshore, cyclists, people having lunch outside - nice holiday feel to it.
We stopped here to break up our journey and the next morning, paid a visit to Puzzling World (www.puzzling world.co.nz). It’s a place filled with holograms, tricks of the eye, puzzles and a large outdoor maze. We did the maze first which took us a fair old time to do - the aim is not to get to the centre but to get to each of the red, green, yellow and blue towers at each corner. Pretty hard, and what makes it worse is the fact that there are lots of stairs and bridges over to different parts of the maze so you can see what direction you need
View near Queenstown
See that lake tucked away in the middle distance? That's reet near Queenstown
to go it but can never get there in a direct way. Luckily, before tempers where rising (it‘s the frustration, believe me!), we managed to get out and then had a look round the indoor part. The most memorable bit was walking into a room which was on something like a 45 degree angle - very strange walking in it and started to make your head spin. This room has the steps on which Paul is standing - looking like he’s standing at a strange angle. We were pleased to get out and back to normal. There’s a large seating area, where the entrance is and every table has a couple of puzzles in - from wooden building block to the two horseshoes attached together by two chain with a metal ring over the two chains and you have to get the ring off.
We left Wanaka and then drove on to Haast, on the west coast, where we stayed over night before driving on to Fox Glacier (ahhhh, so that’s where they got their name!), the next day. The afternoon we arrived, we walked around Lake Matheson, which at first, appeared to be your average lake with reeds,
trees and ducks. Once we got to the other side though, we could see why it’s so well photographed and seen in so many books. The reflection. We were lucky to see it on a sunny day but it was gorgeous - so calm and still and the snowy mountains echoed in the water. One of the peaks is meant to be that of Mount Cook apparently.
The following morning, we set off to see Fox Glacier itself (check out if there’s any minty resemblance). We parked up and came to the swing bridge, built in 1925, that took us over the river to the track the other side. We walked an hour through bush and over rocky streams to an old outpost (where apparently, tourists in the 1940’s would walk to, to actually get on the glacier - it’s receded a lot since then). There was a lovely view of the glacier - hard to imagine it as it had been in the forties - as in, right next to you.
The next day, we drove on to Franz Josef, another glacier town and this time, walked up the glacial bed to stand almost at the foot
On the way to Fox glacier, we passed this beach which had loads of these piles of stones - why are they like that? who made them? How come they don't fall off at a gust of wind? These are just some of the questions we'll never know the answers to...
of it (near to the glacier was roped off as there was loads of rocks and stones that had fallen on to the glacier on its way down and these would just randomly fall off). It was a lot dirtier than I’d imagined too - covered with debris. There was a huge hole - like it’s mouth (I think the correct term is ice cave) where a river of melted glacial water flowed out of. I kept imagining the whole block of ice melting all at once (as if someone had a wand and cast a spell on it) and a huge tidal wave appearing in front of us! (Think I’ve watched too many films…). It was quite a walk to the front of the glacier - there were lots of streams and huge rocks to rock dust and the odd lump of sparkly quartz, as well as a few scattered waterfalls at the sides. We saw a group of glacier walkers with their guide, going up one of the crevices (nutters! Why??) and they reminded me of a huge centipede!
So back to the van and northwards we go!
There are more photos below