186. Taking the Slow Road to Two Glaciers

Taking the Slow Road to Two Glaciers: The one great thing about leaving Queenstown is that there’s no unspectacular road out of it, and the one we chose may have been the grandest; a few hundred kilometers skirting between two grand lakes at the foot of Mt. Aspiring before topping the heavenly Haast Pass and turning north up the sublimely sunny West Coast. And at the end of this two day slow poke was a honey pot of New Zealand glaciers, where we had our first experience (ever) approaching a glacier on foot and then just a couple hours later, did it again at a second glacier. It’s taken us a couple of weeks to really figure this out, but here’s what New Zealand is all about: Repeatedly outdoing itself.

Time and again we find ourselves on a scenic roller coaster drive, itself worthy of a slow day’s exploration, only to be dropped at some world wonder sight that is nearly always approachable via a neatly groomed footpath. So it was with the Fox and Franz Joseph (above) glaciers, those sluggishly contorted rivers of ice inching their way towards the sea. To stand at the foot of these creeping giants and feel the cool rush of arctic air is humbling. To learn that the behavior of the glaciers today is a result of the weather activity five years ago is incredible. And to squint a bit and realize that the minuscule speck of Gore-Tex slowly traversing the surface is a human wielding an ice axe is mind-boggling. Good show, mate.

Photos, left to right: Mt. Aspiring; First glimpse of the coast beyond Haast Junction; the blue pools of Haast; sunrise view from a fine campsite at Lake Paringa; Fox Glacier’s terminal edge; trampers at Franz Joseph.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Your lens must feel like it's in heaven! Any chance you could demonstrate the traditional hongi greeting?