It is a rainforest after all
The weather at Fox Glacier Village was overcast and rainy and our holiday park seemed deserted. A few people in motorhomes arrived a little later and at any given time there were no more than about four motorhomes in the park. The self-contained units were mostly empty and Ferrari decided a great spot to hangout was underneath one of them. At times it felt really eery to use the huge bathroom facilities. Due to the lack of international tourists, there were no guided walks at Fox or Franz Joseph Glaciers. There was a viewpoint at Fox Glacier that we drove to. We got a clear view, but it was unfortunately from quite a distance away. Matheson Lake is also in the area and is known for the mirror image reflections of the Southern Alps in the water. On this day the light was just not quite right. The road to Franz Joseph was exceptionally scenic with sharp bends and one or two hairpin twists. The little town offers more than Fox Glacier in terms of shops and it has the West Coast Wild Life Centre where I saw a kiwi. At our holiday park in Franz Joseph I couldn't contain myself any longer and asked that stupid cliche question: "Is the weather always like this?" the lady just smiled and said, "Oh, no we have had about ten days of sunshine before this, but this is a rainforest" (or something to that effect). Yes, well I guess I did ask for it!😁 The moment the rain subsided, we went to have a look at the glacier.
Fox Glacier was named after Sir William Fox who was New Zealand's Prime Minister from 1869 to 1872 and Franz Joseph was named after Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. New Zealand has many more glaciers (even some at Mount Ruapehu), but the two we visited are the largest and most accessible.
Ferrari having a walkabout at the Fox Glacier holiday park.
A very quiet holiday park.
Fox Glacier from the viewpoint. This is about as close as you can get, unless you take a helicopter ride (which you can still undertake, weather permitting).
Holiday Park at Frans Joseph was a little busier. We bought lovely fish at the take-away stall they have every Wednesday.
Here you will find kiwis, tuataras, a glacier exhibition and giftshop.
From the parking area it is about 15 minutes' walk to the viewpoint for Frans Joseph glacier. On the way there were waterfalls cascading from the mountain. It was possible earlier to get closer to the glacier, but floods took out some of the bridges along the rest of the walkway.
What is left of the Frans Joseph Glacier.
In the early 1900's the glacier came all the way to the bottom of this photo.