New Zealand: Fox Glacier to Nelson

After scraping the ice from the windscreen we were on our way. None of the cafes in Fox Glacier Village were open early for breakfast on a winter Sunday morning so we had to wait for that until we got to Franz Josef Glacier. Dense mist and low sun made progress a little slow as did meeting a large herd of cattle who were being moved a couple of miles along the road near Whataroa. A little further on we found a lovely spot on the shores of Lake Ianthe. You can camp here and a couple of campervans were there.

Ross is a former gold prospecting town where the largest nugget in New Zealand was found in 1907. Nowhere was open for coffee so we pressed on the Hokitita. Caffeine levels topped up we had a little look around town. It has something I have never seen before: a sock shop and museum. They do sell a few other woollen (merino and possum) items e.g. sweaters but it is mostly socks and wool. They have a large display of old machinery, domestic and commercial used for sock-knitting. There is also a large jade factory and shop. You can go in and see the stones being ground and decorated and there is a large shop selling jewellery and other items.

Heading north out of Hokitita we were driving alongside the railway and the coast. Many of the old wooden bridges sit alongside the new concrete ones. Just north of Kumara junction Highway 6 still uses the old single-lane metal bridge but a new one is under construction. We drove through a place called Shantytown which had a motel but did not look at all an inspiring place to stay. At Greymouth we drove inland on Highway 7 up the Grey River Valley crossing its various tributaries and then on another road to rejoin Highway 6.

To get to Nelson the road goes over two passes. We got stuck behind a very slow truck over the Hope Saddle which did not stop to let cars pass until the summit. It was then blocking the entrance to the overlook so no views on that occasion. Spooners Saddle does not have a lookout and after that it was downhill all the way to Nelson with the thermometer now reading 16 degrees.

One thought on “New Zealand: Fox Glacier to Nelson

  1. We have a Sockshop Santa Cruz with an overwhelming assortment of socks….but alas, no museum! The jade factory sounded interesting – geologist Craig would’ve liked to see that too.

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