February 26, 2016

Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, New Zealand

After an incredible time on the Abel Tasman, we drove South toward New Zealand’s most famous glaciers – Franz Josef and Fox!

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Now up until this point, we had been incredibly lucky when it came to weather. I mean, we had barely seen any rain at all! So when we arrived, while surprised that we had finally encountered a bit of rain, we did not let it bring us down.

I was almost happy to go for a walk in the rain. We had been carrying around our rain gear for a couple of months now and I was super excited to try out my new rain pants.

It’s the small things in life…

So after a quick bite to eat, we went looking for the Franz Josef glacier.  I have to say, the signage to get to the glaciers is poor in Franz Josef. There are lots of information centres for guided tours and helicopter rides up to the glacier, but not for the walking paths. I mean, we just wanted to see them. It did not need to be on a fancy, expensive tour.

After some searching, I eventually found a great blog which explained where the car park leading to the glaciers is located. Better yet, I found the car park on Google Maps.

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What did I do without Google?

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The walk is nice and easy starting through lush rain forest then along the river valley carved by the glacier thousands of years ago. Presence of the glacier can be seen throughout the valley through its cascading waterfalls and powerful river.

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After about 40 minutes, we reached the viewing point for the glacier. As it has receded 800 metres since 2008, the viewing platform is now quite far away from the glacier. I read that at one point the platform was right next to the glacier.

That would have made the view much better!

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While is was not the most spectacular glacier view I had ever seen, the walk was great and it was a perfect way to spend a slightly rainy afternoon. Not to mention that the town, Franz Josef, was a great spot to rest on our drive from the Abel Tasman to Queenstown.

That night we stayed at the Rainforest Retreat in town. It was a great Holiday Park with camping spots surrounded by trees.image

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The next day, we continued on. While we had no plans to visit the Fox Glacier, we saw a turn off on the highway for a viewing point and decided to check it out.

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We were thankful that we had because we were treated to an awesome view of the Fox Glacier. Maybe even a better view than the Franz Josef…

Once we captured our photos, we headed back out on the highway only to see another turn off for a closer view of the glacier. This was another nice spot because you could drive right up to the viewing point as well.

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imageOverall, the stop in Franz Josef was great. We enjoyed The Franz Josef Glacier Walk and the views of Fox Glacier!

It was another piece of New Zealand’s beautiful landscape that we got to experience.

Next stop – Arrowtown and Queenstown!

Which piece of New Zealand would we get to see next?

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