Franz Josef and Fox Glacier

We got back from our overnight trip through Doubtful Sound mid morning and set out heading north. Our trip up to that point had been scheduled and planned in terms of hotel reservations but from here on out we were fly by the seat of our pants!

We knew we wanted to head back towards Queenstown so while Jeff drove, I looked through our notes and plotted out possible itineraries for the next few days. In New Zealand there are something like 12 sheep for every one person so Jeff knew I had been scouting for a good sheep picture. As my head was buried in my guidebook he said “sheep” and I looked up and saw this….good scouting honey 🙂

flock of sheep in New Zealand Another pretty spot along the way

We stopped for lunch in Arrowtown and discovered a super yummy restaurant called Saffron – we’d highly recommend it. After grabbing some gelato we headed north towards Cardrona and enjoyed this beautiful view as we finished our dessert! From there we drove towards the small west coast town of Haast

View from above arrowtown new zealand

As you’re driving you see signs along the side of the road for hikes or waterfalls. Jeff is like a little kid when it comes to waterfalls – he LOVES them. This is Thunder Creek Falls which is particularly impressive

Can’t remember where this was along the way – it was right after we crossed a bridge!

That night we called around to schedule a glacier tour for the next day. Fox Glacier Guiding only had the first tour available the next day at 8:00 AM so we went for it…knowing we’d have to get up EARLY. In reality it might have been smart to call 24 or 48 hours in advance to get better availability….a traveler’s tip! We had breakfast at the cafe at Fox Guiding headquarters and it was yummy….be sure to leave enough time though – we had to eat on the fly!

They bus you out to the glacier and then you walk towards it and eventually up onto it. Glaciers are pretty fascinating with how much they move, shift, and change so we had to be careful where we stepped. The light blue is the part we walked on – the actual glacier. It moves inches forward and/or backward each day!

Fox glacier new zealand

The view from Fox Glacier back down the valley

view from fox glacier new zealand

Jeff with my walking pick

man on fox glacier new zealand

Us….on a glacier!!


After returning around 11:00 we headed over to the Reflections cafe at Lake Matheson for lunch. The food was yummy and it was a very interesting building architecturally – I’d recommend it! After lunch we did the one hour walk around the lake. This lake is famous for it’s views but because of the clouds it was pretty but not spectacular 🙁

Lake matheson New Zealand

After it was still early afternoon (that’s what happens when you start the day at 6 AM!!) so we headed north to visit the Franz Josef glacier. The walk in is further and while scenic I’m glad that we hiked Fox as we spent more time on the glacier and less time getting to it. Don’t get too close – a few people have died in the past few years because they didn’t pay attention to the warning signs.

Terminal face Franz Josef Glacier


cairn at fox glacier

Next stop….driving up the west coast!