Fox Glacier & Lake Mahinapua – A quest for Jackson bay fish and chips…
We left Queenstown with plans of a longish drive through Haast and then a treat of fish and chips in Jackson Bay mid afternoon at a place which had been recommended to us. The drive was stunning and we stopped off several times on the way to take pics….we eventually made it to Jackson Bay, but to our absolute horror after driving out of our way for over 50 km the shop was closed and there absolutely nothing else in Jackson Bay except this closed shop. We were pretty heartbroken and despondent, but we went for a little walk and then made our way back to Haast where we found another chip shop – not world famous but tasty all the same.
Once we were full up on fish and chips we got driving again with the intention of getting to Franz Josef as we knew of a freebie campsite nearby. It ended up taking a lot longer than planned and once it was dark the driving became a bit of a struggle – to make matters worse, we arrived at the campsite only to find it was closed. So, we kept on driving, but by this point it was nearly 9pm so we ended up stopping in Fox Glacier at a paid campsite, which was a relief and meant we had power for the night.
The next day we did the tourist shenanigans, which included a walk around Lake Matheson, which was stunning and a regular on most NZ postcards. After that we headed to Fox Glacier itself and did the walk up to the glacier, which was really interesting.
We then set off for another freebie campsite as we continued our route north.
We arrived at Lake Mahinpua rather late after a day of walking and sightseeing so we were pretty exhausted, but the location was stunning and right by a lake again with plenty of walking trails nearby.
We settled in for the night, with our camper surrounded by wildlife – in particular the native wingless birds; Kiwis. These seemed to surround our van, but were completely harmless.
We woke to a beautiful sunrise and took ourselves off for a couple of short walks before setting off on our next part of the journey.
Would definitely recommend the DOC campsite – no showers, but every other facility you could wish for, plus great walks and stunning lake, what more can you ask for.