Finally, I’m back with another installment of the trip I took with friends back in late January! I didn’t realize how quickly time has passed since my last post, but here we are again with more pictures!
After walking up to view the Franz Josef Glacier, we headed further south—about half an hour’s drive, I think—to the Fox Glacier. There, we were all quite hungry, so we sat on the rocks bordering the temporary car park and had lunch together. After walking for several hours, even sandwiches are appealing! Only made better with a bit of delicious salami, fresh tomatoes, and salt and vinegar chips, of course. 🙂
This is the Fox River and highway bridge, taken from our picnic area. Notice how the sand and gravel are contoured; if I remember right, the water came most of the way up to under this bridge when there was heavy rain in the area last year—the bridge further north, over the Franz Josef River, was washed out at that time.
Did you notice I said “temporary” car park? This is why:
I was rather confused about our bearings for a little while, but when we got here, I knew where we were. I was hoping to show our friends the lookout at the end of this track, but what I didn’t realize was that the original road that went out to the glacier had to be closed because of extensive slips. As in, I’m not even sure it’s open yet for people to drive back to get to the glacier face itself! What we were walking on here was the glacier outlook road, but instead of driving it like we used to be able to do, we had an hour or two’s worth of walking.
The road was really damaged with all the flooding, and those of us who had always ridden past these spots found it quite interesting to see all the changes!
Then we got up to the viewpoint itself, and—woah. The track had to be rerouted at least once, and I couldn’t believe the amount of gravel, rocks, and boulders that had been washed down this river during the flooding. This used to be a fairly flat riverbed; in places, it looked like it had risen 1-2 meters in depth! The slip about in the middle of the picture is on the access road to the walk to the glacier face, which I’ve been up before, but weren’t able to go to this time.
And one of my favorites: A fern tree! Unfortunately, the clouds hadn’t lifted in this valley as they had at the Franz Josef Glacier, so we weren’t able to see the Fox Glacier itself.
On our way back, we took a detour on a narrow little track that created a loop from one point on the main track to further down. It added some time to our walk back, but we were happy for a change of scenery, as it really felt like we got into the bush from there! I thought it was interesting to see the glacier terminal signs, and wondered how people would have been able to figure out the dating for these!
This was sort-of difficult to see in real life (I wasn’t entirely certain which tree was which) but I thought the sign was funny!
Moraine Walk. Highly recommended—probably one of my most favorite tracks that day!
And we were exhausted. The boys found a soft moss-covered rock to rest on for a bit.
On our way home, we stopped for a short look at Lake Matheson—but after walking about 18 km that day, we decided we had had enough and wouldn’t add another hour and a half to our day’s total. I’d love to explore that area more some other time, though!
So we stopped for a picture at the photo stand (I’d love to see what this looks like when the weather is clear!), picked up some coffee from the cafe, and headed home.
Crossing the Franz Josef river on the temporary bridge (this was the one that washed out last year):
Getting to one of the many roadworks between Franz Josef village and Hokitika (this little tractor was pretty neat!):
And stopping in Harihari for a short break. While there, we looked across at a little park and decided to explore a bit before heading on.
They had a mosaic maze there! We met the woman who masterminded the project, a local who does a lot of work with pottery and other crafty things. She provides the tiles and other materials, you draw your message or picture on it, then she’ll fire it and place it somewhere in the maze.
There are lovely shard mosaics around the outside, as well as these fun “stepping stones”:
And the maze itself! I didn’t actually go all the way through it, because I got distracted by reading the individual tiles. The pillar in the middle has a sundial on the top, and the sides are made from pieces of old china cups, plates, and saucers.
Some tiles were sad:
Some were fun:
But put together, it was beautiful! The woman who works to keep the maze up also does a lot of the gardening around, and she was pulling weeds while we were there. She says that as she has time, she’s looking forward to putting a lot more flowers and shrubs in on the grounds.
Another sad tile:
And some were sweet:
I loved the pillars that graced the outskirts of the park, too!
In all, the Harihari park was a lovely place to stop and stretch after traveling for a while, and I’d love to spend more time exploring there! It was a lovely end to a long day!
After being gone all day, we were ready for a bit of a break—but Thursday, we headed up to Arthur’s Pass to explore! I’ll share those pictures next.
Have you seen a mosaic maze before? I remember right after the Christchurch earthquakes that people got together with all their old family china that had broken, and they made mosaic pieces out of them—but I don’t remember seeing any of the resulting works of art.