A relatively short drive to our first stop of the day, away from Hokitika to the south this time. We parked up at Okarito Township, a lovely little place about 15-20k off the main highway, about 120k south of Hokitika. It used to be a sea port of some importance in the early days of New Zealand, when the West Coast was the wild west of NZ. Its unreliable harbour which needed regularly digging out and blasting out put paid to that. Now the Okarito lagoon is home to the beautiful Kotuku, or White Heron, which only nests here in the lagoon. Another Kotuku, the Royal Spoonbill also nests here, and we have a colony of those near our home in Whitby.
So back to the car after a wonderful 9km or so walk, and off we went to go to Franz Joseph Glacier. Just as we driving past the lagoon, Lynn spotted a Kotuku fishing just off the shore, the first we had seen, but I didn't think to stop to get a photo!
We got to Franz Joseph at about lunchtime, so we stopped and had a cup of tea and shared an apple for lunch (OK, we had had some hot pork sandwiches whilst on the beach) and then set off to do some walking at the Glacier. We had planned to do something big, but the path to Roberts Point was closed because of land slips, so we just decided to do the walk to the Glacier face. We have done this a few times before, but as the Glacier is always changing, and the river changes course with every major rainstorm (which are common on the west coast) its a different walk every time!
It was a good walk as usual, it was nice to leave the tourists behind at the rope barrier beyond which only those properly equipped and experienced should venture. Didn't stop people in jandals (flip flops) walking up the face though! The obligatory photos were taken! Its difficult to show the scale of the glacier. I suppose it rises in the distance to about 2500-3000 metres. There's a chap in the first photo who is about 1 km from the face which may help give some scale.
We headed south to Fox Glacier in the car. It was a bit late to do another walk, so we found the campsite, which was very nice, good new facilities etc, pitched our little tent, went off and found a shop where we bought some frozen Lasagne and some veges for out evening meal, had dinner and a stroll and went to our sleeping bags. The sound of the Fox Glacier river a few hundred metres away was quite soothing, but the possum in the tree by our tent, that systematically destroyed the top half of the tree over most of the night, very noisily, was not soothing at all! I am too old for sleeping in small tents on thin foam mats!