We picked up our Toyota Yaris rental from the Hertz offices in Queenstown to begin another of those long road journeys that are ubiquitous to South Island. You have to make these "hard yards" if you wish to fully engaged with this beautiful island, as everywhere seems at least a half a day away. Our destination was this simple, good value accommodation in Fox Glacier on the west coast. Eschewing the longer easier route, we climbed steeply out of Queenstown on the route which takes you over the Crown Ranges, pausing briefly to take in the wonderful last views of Queenstown, The Kelvin Hills, Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu. Driving down through the Cardrona Valley, we passed by the former gold mining sites until we approached the small town of Wanaka, nestling alongside its sublime and tranquil lake. Pushing on past Lake Hawea we entered the extraordinary Haast Pass which was only completed some 80 years ago, allowing access to the western shores. Its bridges, passes and precipitous roads are a testimony to the sheer endeavour of New Zealands construction engineers, and we breathed a sigh of relief to finally reach the tiny Haast settlement. Pausing only to sample the locally caught blue cod, we continued up and along the coast running into Fox as early evening approached. Taking a quick right we ran up to the car-park below the Glacier, and we were concerned to see how much of the glacier has retreated up the valley back to the foothills of the imposing Mt. Cook. After a 30 minutes walk up towards the glacier, we wisely stopped and retreated back as darkness fell. On our way back down, we were delighted to see our first Kea as its wobbled, yes wobbled its way back up the alpine valley. Showing no alarm, it paused to cock its head to one side as it passed by. Shortly after, we were at the Motel where we were well served by its most friendly and helpful owner, Heather, who helped us find a place to eat, and on the following morning urged that we take breakfast at the local beauty spot, Lake Matheson, before continuing our journey north to Hokitika.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Lake Matheson Motel is ideally located 400 metres from the town centre of Fox Glacier. While we have been proudly named after beautiful Lake Matheson for our 22 years in business, we are definitely a town based motel; while we are not on the edge of the Lake, we are only a ten drive away and the same for the Glacier. Our motto is 'simply nice'. This means we provide simple, clean and comfortable accommodation and focus on giving you good quality basics such as quality Sleepyhead beds, cotton linen, good showers, televisions and utensils. We have a 4 star grade with Qualmark. So come and enjoy our studio and 2 bedroom units, with mountain views, in a peaceful location. We have WIFI,undercover parking for all units, some spa units, King and Queen bed units, continental breakfasts, a portable BBQ and a Guest Laundry for your convenience. We hope to welcome you to Fox Glacier soon. Heather and Mike, Motel Managers. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lake Matheson Hotel Fox Glacier
- Lake Matheson Fox Glacier