Trip Start Aug 24, 2008
129Trip End Jul 07, 2009
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
The next morning we woke up early and headed down to the glacier hikes office. There we were kitted up with waterproofs, boots, socks, hats, gloves and crampons and then we got in a bus that took us to the Franz Josef Glacier. We had to walk through the forest for 10 minutes before reaching a dry, rocky river bed. It was then a half hour walk to the glacier face, and the further we walked, the further away it looked. We got some great views of the glacier spilling down from the mountain, and the surrounding waterfalls. We stopped at the base of the glacier to put on our crampons. Then we started hiking up the steep front section of the glacier. At first we found it difficult to balance on the crampons, but we soon found that if you scuff your feet they have a firm grip. We hiked up to the surface of the glacier, where we were given ice axes, so we felt like proper mountaineers! We hiked up the ice through huge ridges with gaps between our feet. We crawled through tunnels, and even found a cave in the ice. The ice was very blue. We had one very narrow gap in the ice to squeeze through, which I found very difficult. Every time I took a step forward I slipped back. After a few hours we reached the high point, where we got a fabulous view of the whole glacier. It was beautiful. We had more steep climbs and walks past lakes of a deep blue
The following morning we drove back down to the Fox Glacier. Unfortunately it was a bit misty so we abandoned our plan to hike to a view point and instead went to Lake Matheson. We walked around the edge of the lake to a point where we could see Mount Cook in the distance. We then drove to Gillespie's beach to see the driftwood, which was loads of dead trees scattered all over the beach. By now it was raining heavily (the West Coast apparently has 200 days of rain a year) so we headed north.