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A few kilometerss away from Franz Josef glacier, a little bit further south on the South Island west coast, you can find its icy little brother : the Fox glacier, equally reknown for its walking tracks and  its helicopter tours.

Fox Glacier

Petit cours d'eau à enjamber...We woke up early this morning to try to follow the fast holiday pace of our friends François and Younn. We are now driving in the direction of the Fox glacier through a foggy decor, still covered by shiny morning dew. At the car park, fingers still frozen from the folding of the wet tent this morning and scarf up to the nose, we decide to take the « short » track that winds its way at the bottom of the valley to the foot of the glacier. For once we will take the classical 1h-return track, followed by hundreds of tourists everyday.

A few metres after passing by a crazy fluo blue-green lake we begin the stroll along the grey glacier river. From this place, you can see the mountains split, giving way to a large deep valley surrounded by a dense humid forest covering steep cloudy cliffs. Magical morning atmosphere ! We make our way slowly along the path. The four of us are passionate photographers… We stop every 15 m to try our best to capture this striking moment! We follow the rapids, jumping from time to time over rusty-orange stones that give a volcanic touch to this all-grey panorama. On the other side of the valley, a few waterfalls make the leap from the top of those gigantic rocky walls.

As we finally reach the foot of the glacier, the clouds drift away, offering us a nice shooting opportunity with the glacier. We stay there quite a long time, admiring the exceptionnal view. We even notice a small blue pond  only visible when climbing on some rocks! The Fox glacier is less dirty than its big brother the Franz Josef, and the lookout is more interesting. Moreover, the track to go there, even if short, is exceptionally beautiful! So we can now answer THE eternal question : Franz or Fox?? Fox, decidedly!

Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier

Heading south

As morning drift by, the helicopters start their endless noisy dance and we decide it’s time for us to give way to mass tourism and start to go back. François and Younn’s holiday schedule is quite busy : they have only 10 days to visit all south island! So here we are, driving south again, through green endless fields, moutains ranges with snowy tips, and over icy little rivers. The only black dot in the chart was the boring city of Haast, where we stop to refill our tank. Not only the petrol is very expensive here, but the city is also quite ugly and depressing, and the bartender not really friendly. Even so, we are too hungry and decide to stay for a small picnic and take away the worst coffee we ever tried!! For now… We will tell you more about it later…!


Tintin & Riette

Pretty view somewhere after Haast

Pretty view somewhere after Haast

Conseils / Bons plans :

Randonner au Fox Glacier :

Si on a préféré la petite balade et le panorama ici, il faut bien reconnaitre que si vous cherchez de la rando, le Franz Josef glacier à bien plus à offrir que le Fox glacier… Ici on est limité à de petites marches seulement.

  • Là ou le glacier se stoppe (Photo par Mariette)Fox Glacier Valley Walk : 2,6km – 1h aller/retour – facile
    La rando qu’on a choisi. Passe par le fond de la vallée et offre de superbes vues sur les montagnes alentours et un beau lookout assez proche du glacier.
  • Chalet Lookout track : 3;6km – 1h30 aller/retour – facile
    De l’autre côté de la vallée, cette piste passe par la forêt pour vous emmener à un lookout un peu plus éloigné mais avec un angle de vue différent sur le glacier (totalement en face)
  • Lake Matheson Walk : 2,6km – 1h30 – facile
    Cette marche ne vous emmènera pas au glacier ! Elle est même d’ailleurs pas située au même endroit. Mais elle n’en est pas moins à laisser de côté ! Cette petite rando vous emènera vers des points de vues fabuleux sur les Southern Alps et le Mt Cook, et offre l’un des plus beau spot photo du coin, en jouant avec le reflet des montagnes dans les eaux du lac.

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