Another long and fun-filled day lay ahead of us as we left Arthur’s Pass and made the drive down the winding roads and multiple single-lane bridges to our first stop at Hokitika Gorge. Like pretty much everywhere we’ve been in the South Island there were loads of tourists but it is a detour well worth making for the incredible blue water and nice forest hike.
We didn’t linger long as we had to get to Franz Josef Glacier and that involved a fairly long walk. The weather wasn’t really playing along but we made a few stops on the way to Franz Josef as the scenery is just so incredible – your mind sometimes struggles to take it all in! At Franz Josef I was knackered and almost didn’t want to make the trek to the glacier, but was very glad that I did in the end! It is very special being able to see a glacier from so close up – and the sad thing is that they are shrinking so rapidly that they won’t be around for much longer!
From Franz Josef it is a fairly short drive to Fox Glacier, our stop for the night. We struck it lucky at Lake Matheson Motel where we were upgraded to a lovely two-bedroom apartment with heating and everything else you could possibly need. It was fairly late by the time we checked in and as the weather was still threatening we didn’t wait too long to go and check out the town’s (limited!) options for something to eat and drink. In the end I ate at Cook Saddle Cafe and we had a couple of drinks at The White Pub. As we walked home the sun finally broke through the clouds for a few minutes and the snow covered mountain tops made an appearance – a perfect end to the day!