One of the highlights of South Island that I really looked forward to was the glaciers! Initially, I was very keen on booking a helicopter tour to the Franz Joseph or Fox Glaciers for some trekking. However, due to unpredictable weather conditions and the cost, we decided to just walk around the trails instead. I do want to mention how beautiful the Franz Joseph iSite is. A bit random, but after a sandflies infested night camping out, the beautiful information center and restroom was particularly comforting to be in.
We quickly proceeded to the Franz Joseph trail when we got there to enjoy as much of the sun as possible as the weather forecast indicated rain in the late afternoon. The trail was roughly 1.5hours roundtrip. My travelmates and I agreed that the best photo spot was 15 minutes into the trail and the rest was limited change in scenery. It was scary to see how much the glacier had retreated, but I am grateful to see it before it melts away even more! Afterwards, we made a short stop to the Fox Glacier since it was on the way to take a glimpse of this glacier. It is one of those things where once you see one, the other one would not be as fascinating.
One of the most photographs places in South Island is Lake Matheson. On a nice day with calm winds, you can see the reflection of the alps on the lake. You might have already guessed it, when we went the sky was gloomy with a slight breeze disrupting the water in the lake so no mirage was formed. The beauty in Lake Matheson is entirely dependent on that perfect timing with it is sunny or else it would look like any other lake. Boo.
Here goes another destination that seems to be falsely advertised: Blue Pools at Mount Aspiring National Pool. By its name, you would assume the water is blue. False! The water is green! Disappointed, we decided to continue on the trail to see if we can find something more intriguing. Unaware of how long and where the young river mouth trail would take, we just went with the flow. Since it was raining earlier, the field was really wet. Our sneakers were completely soaked; I mean, after stepping into the first puddle, the rest would not matter anymore. At some point, the water was to my knees! The trail led us to this beautiful open field filled with yellow flowers. The scenery reminded me of The Sound of Music, which I actually never watched. It was so peaceful here, I would love to camp here if there was no rain for the night. There are mini scare during our hike along the young river mouth trail. We got separated from our travelmate and were unable to find him until 2 hours later! None of us are swimmers and we were afraid that he somehow slipped and fell in the water or along the tracks. There was no clear end to the trail and when the new track starts, so it turns out, he thought the end was near so he continued pacing forward instead of finally deciding to turn back an hour later. Just our luck, we were in a no signal zone so the only way to pass on a message is to leave some indicator on the car and we backtracked. Luckily, we were finally able to bump into each other!
Thankfully the weather has cleared up after Blue Pools and were were able to enjoy a bit of the beautiful scenery towards Lake Wanaka!