A couple of days full of highs and lows…We had booked a super cool package up Fox Glacier, our first news arrived when we were in Wanaka that the tour we booked would not go ahead as we presumed…there would be some modifications, but we were able to do essentially the same trip. BUT unfortunately the next morning, there were low clouds and there was a drizzle in the air, which meant the helicopters would not be able to get up to the glaciers :(. We also had a snapped tent pole and therefore a leaky tent… great start! So we went on a road trip.
We started off in Franz Josef where we did the usual round of tourist shops and tourist information centres and ended up hiking up to, as far as the boundaries allowed, the face of the Franz Josef glacier… we also hopped over a barrier and checked out some other cool ice. Franz Josef was notably a steep glacier with a wide flat bottomed valley which you walked through, and the glacier is mostly covered in moraines, keeping it cool. One positive about the rain is that all the waterfalls appear 🙂
After, we headed to Whataroa for lunch… where not much is going on, but there was a friendly, and chilly cafe! On the way back we we headed to Okarito, which had a nice beach which was being hit again, by the mighty Tasman Sea! The town itself was pretty sleepy again and was part of the short-lived gold rush. but now had a reserve. We went on a hike in a “kiwi refuge area” but failed to see any kiwis in the broad daylight.
We noticed a skinny seal on his own on the beach, and as we were now seal pros after seeing/smelling so many, we thought it was strange this single seal was chilling out on the beach…. I hope it made it back to its crew safely.
That night we managed to find an alternative for the tent and slept under the cooking shelter!
The next day we hung around keeping everything crossed we would be able to fly… Alas it was not meant to be. So we decided to get drenched and take a guided walk to the front of the Fox Glacier. In my opinion this was more impressive than Franz Josef as you got to see more exposed glacier! Again the tour was incredibly informative with some passionate guides at the helm.