Fox & Franz Joseph Glaciers, New Zealand

Fox and Franz Joseph glaciers both descend from the Southern Alps and stretch for around 12km out to the coast (only 300m above sea level). After a brief stop off at the blue pools, we arrived in Fox Glacier town to a day of torrential rain. As the forecast was looking more promising for the following day, we decided to sit it out and wait for the rains to subside.

We awoke early the next morning and started off with the terminal face walks to both Fox and Franz Joseph glaciers. For safety reasons you can only get within 200m and 750m of the terminal faces, unless you pay for a helicopter tour that is! Our next walk was the 1.5 hour circuit around Lake Matheson. This was a beautiful walk and we were really lucky to see the near perfect reflection of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman in the lake.

We finished the day off with a tough 5 hour trek to Robert’s viewpoint. The path took us over 4 long suspension bridges, crossed waterfalls and streams and involved lots of scrambling over slippery rock faces. It was our most challenging walk so far and probably the most fun too. From Robert’s viewpoint we had a great lookout over Franz Joseph Glacier. We walked for around 8 hours in total, it was a great day and our legs were certainly ready for a good rest afterwards!

Next stop: Arthur’s Pass, New Zealand

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Mount Cook, New Zealand

Mount Cook is the highest peak in New Zealand standing at 3,724m and is snow capped all year round. The drive to Mount Cook is spectacular; the snow capped peak and surrounding mountain ranges encompass the beautifully blue Lake Pukaki. It took us around 2 hours to drive from Lake Tekapo with multiple stops for photos!

We walked the popular Hooker Valley track which took us around 3 hours. We crossed over several suspension bridges, passing tarns and vantage points until we reached the ice cold Hooker Lake at the base of Mount Cook. We spent the night camping in a beautiful spot, surrounded by mountains, at the starting point of the trail.

The next morning we headed south towards Queenstown and stopped off briefly at the Clay Cliffs. The sharp pinnacles and ravines have been formed by the natural erosion of the gravel and silt layers. It makes for quite a dramatic landscape and although the weather was a little gloomy we had fun scrambling around these towering cliffs.

Next stop: Queenstown, New Zealand