Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fox Glacier

____Early away out of Haast, riding alongside an Aussie cyclist; chatting for mile after mile until the traffic gets heavier as the campervans come out to play. Three major climbs leading up to Knight’s Point, from where the load levels out through endless temperate rain forest that is so dense; with tree ferns filling in the space under the canopy. Very few houses and the first place to stop for refreshment is at 70 kilometres. A salmon farm with attached cafĂ©; good salmon scones with a bottomless cup of tea. At Bruce Bay, the road briefly follows the beach, but with Fox Glacier village being just too far for a days riding, I stop and camp at Jacob’s River. A campsite so small that a Volvo estate car, parked on the grass, halves the area for tents.

____Thirty kilometres to Fox Glacier and after breakfast, I explore the tracks leading to the ice-mass; on foot to the Chalet Viewpoint is the most rewarding. A stiff climb with rock-hopping to cross several creeks finishes on a platform high above the point where the ice melts and the Fox River starts. Fox Glacier Village is purely for tourists to visit the ice but I’m pleasantly surprised to get a site for my tent for only NZ$17. For the second day running the famed Westland rainfall has contented itself to a couple of showers. However, there are plenty of the dreaded sandflies about.

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