Queenstown - Haast- Fox Glacier

Yesterday  morning I set out from Queenstown (man that seems like a long time ago already) with the intention to go to Fox Glacier for an overnight. The drive took much much  longer than I expected, it was somewhere around 5-6 hours. I knew it was going to be long, but windy roads and mountain passes slowed it down more than expected. Not that I am complaining, it was a beautiful drive. Along the way I stopped in Wanaka to view the lake. Between Queenstown and Wanaka there was some serious wine country. All of the vines were wearing their winter coats already. The foliage and the vines was a real site, almost California wine country-ish, similar hills.

I passed through Lake Hawea which I loved, there was something about it. It was in the middle of nowhere and had very  little visible human population. Once you pass Lake Hawea you come over some mountains and run into Wanaka Lake again, which was pretty scenic. From there it was mountains for days over the Haast pass before actually hitting Haast a couple of hours later. There were some nice waterfalls along the way and a lot of one lane bridges on the sides of mountains.
Lake Hawea
I expected Haast to be a sizeable town, it was not. I had planned to stop there for lunch so my plan was mostly foiled except for the "chips" I was able to pick up at random mini store. Haast is however right on the coast so you can start to see the ocean fairly soon after it. The rain-forested mountains and the ocean all in one view, amazing. I had a nice chat with a septagenarian at one of the ocean views. An Aucklander who had been all over the island, his son was finally taking him to see the west coast. We had a lovely chat.

I arrived a Fox Glacier town, did a loop and found the place I was to be staying. I checked in and went to the room and immediately didn't want to stay. It wasn't that it wasn't clean or anything like that, it just didn't feel good, and it was so so dark. It was basically a small hotel masquerading as a hostel. This feeling only got worse as I headed to the Glacier view drive, and then the Fox Glacier Walk (they are on two separate roads). The glacier was pretty great to look at and the walk was brisk. I did it sort of fast because one, I had a weird feeling there, and two I didn't want to be there in the dark, even though I still had plenty of light.

You walk out in the glacier field for about a half hour or so before you reach the face of the glacier. They keep you back quite a bit because people have died due to falling ice and ice landslides. I stayed for a few minutes at the face took some pictures and headed back. There were some trekkers up on the ice that looked like ants that made me laugh. By this point I had also decided not to stay at the hostel I was at. Having now done all I wanted to do in this town (town is a strong word) I decided I might has well drive the extra 20 minutes north to Franz Josef town where I wanted to be in the morning anyway. The hostel I was to stay at in Franz Josef had really good reviews and free veggies soup, so I gave them a call and said I wanted to arrive a day early. It being the off season, they had room. It was a decision I was very happy with. I arrived in time for free soup and the hostel is very homey. Good call.