position S035 19.100 E174 07.200

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Sun 24 Feb 2019 16:09

Sunday 15th Nov. 

Next stop the shyly retreating Franz Joseph Glacier. After coffee in the tourist village and a brief check of the price of merino possum gloves, we drove a few miles up the valley and parked in a large car park already filling with glacier spotting tourists. We studied the signs and decided that the gentle valley walk to get a distant view of the  glacier was too busy and chose instead to cross the Waiho river and take the Roberts Point track upstream on the opposite bank.

The sign promised a 5 hour return walk and thus far most of the printed time estimates for our walks had proved reasonably accurate. The track started easily enough with a well built cable bridge over the fast and full Waiho river. The track soon became more challenging as it climbed ridges and dropped into gullies, boulder hopping side streams and  bouncing over an occasional swing bridge.
At each crest we eagerly expected the glacier to appear from the mist.  After about 3 hours of slow progress we met some fit looking hikers returning from the end of the track and discovered we still had a couple of hours to go and as we reached a particularly tricky gully the decision to return without the promised glacier view was reluctantly but easily made.
If we had perservered a view such as this stolen image may have opened up. I was optimistic that we would live to see another glacier on anther day although Diana had doubts.

As we returned we stopped for a rest on a bench overlooking a little lake that had been left by the retreating glacier. A friendly couple on the next door bench chatted and were visiting on their wedding anniversary having been married at the little church at the foot of the valley. Then they could see the end of the glacier from the church so in 30 odd years the glacier had reteated a long way. They were both doctors who had come over from UK to NZ after qualifing. They recommended their friends bnb near Omarama although it sounded like it would break our $100 budget -more hunting lodge than bnb.

Our next bnb was at Lake Hawea, a good 3-4 hours on so we pressed on along the coast to Haast and then turned inland and to Haast pass through the mountains.

The scenery on the drive was spectacular even by the standards to which were by now accustomed.   I see that the sun came out which contradicts my previous claims of the end of south island sunshine. Lake Hawea appeared although the town is at the south end of the massive lake so we still had a way to go.

Another converted shed for the bnb, but very comfy and with the requisite provisions for Diana to permit a 5 star rating.