Friday, October 5, 2012

Gillespie's Beach and Galway Seal Colony

Its been nothing but rain and cold since I have been Fox Glacier, save for one day.  On this day I got out and went for a walk along the beach.  There had been a gold mining rush here in the 1930's and I followed a trail along to see some of the bits left behind.  There is an old dredge now overgrown with plants and further along a tunnel dug through a mountain and exiting at a cliff face to the ocean for what purpose i have no idea.

This was one of the most beautiful walks I have yet been on in New Zealand.  Starting on the shore you move along behind wind sheltering plants with birds flitting about and the occasional sheep scurrying hurriedly across your path. After a nice stroll to the gold dredge and a short examination just in case they happened to leave any nuggets behind, the path turns onto the rocky shoreline itself.  Walking along here is the chance to find shells and a most beautiful array of rocks including the culturally significant Maori Greenstone.

Upon approaching a bluff you turn inland along a milky rivers edge and cross over via a small bridge. This takes you to my favorite part of the walk.  For the next 20 minutes you will walk through a lush rainforest with a thousand different plants all around.  Behind you can hear the waves crashing against the bluff but muffled and distant through the canopy with a soft constant chatter of birds all about.  How I had missed the sounds of birds when I was up above the trees at Mt. Cheeseman.

This is where you then come upon the tunnel, no more than 50 meters in length though the end is nothing but a bright light shining through. The tunnel seems as much a doorway to another world as a miners excavation.  Water drips over the openings like a beaded curtain and heightens that mystical sense of finding something so out of place and hidden. About what is at the end of the tunnel? I will leave that for you to come to New Zealand and discover it for yourself.

A fair hours trek through a wet sponge-like path after the tunnel you come again to the shore and to the the Galway Seal Colony far along past the bluff.  It lies along an ocean facing cliff with cascading waterfalls every 50 meters till you come upon the seals.  I crept up slowly and quietly hoping to get some candid shots of seals in action.  Of course they were all asleep, laying out and sunning on this gorgeous day.  As I moved closer and closer for a good shot of the nearest one I heard a rock just in front of me move about suddenly.  Of course it was a baby seal that was laying so still I hadn't noticed it.  It was not frightened, only curious, as it watched me.  It's mother however was not so trusting. She lie just behind the baby and let me know that she was not amused so I backed off but not before taking a few quick photos of the adorable pup.

1 comment:

  1. That walk sounds lovely. Hopefully we can take it in when we visit. Mom