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We actually drove from Greymouth to Fox Glacier with a breakfast stop in Hokitika, but Hokitika (of The Luminaries fame) deserves its own little post. It was one of our shorter driving days but probably the day we fit the most in. After Hokitika, we stopped by a lake (the name of which I was too deep in holiday mode to note down), then took a short hiking trail beside one of the beautiful ice blue rivers that are EVERYWHERE on the west coast. I’m not being cliche when I say ice blue, they actually are. Specifically the water comes down from the alps and mixes with the mineral mica. Initially, this makes for sludgy grey rivers, but once the mica settles at the bottom it makes the water appear the most mazing blue.
On the hiking trail we found some long-abandoned huts, which were kind of creepy.
Then, after a lunch stop in Frans Josef, we hiked to the base of Frans Josef Glacier. This was a first for both of us; glaciers aren’t exactly bountiful in Melbourne. The hike there was pretty stunning, with the rocky valley floor flanked by incredible mountains and waterfalls. Frans Josef itself is slightly underwhelming as it’s shrinking pretty rapidly. In fact, unlike the nearby Fox Glacier, it’s retreated so far up the mountain it’s only accessible by helicopter. Still, it’s a GLACIER, so its pretty darn cool regardless.