Seeing Frans Joseph Glacier has always been something on our bucket list. After leaving Greymouth we were determined to get as far as we could on our trip to Queenstown before it got too late.
Having only decided that morning to travel down the West Coast (yes, I am very true to my mantra of going without a map and getting lost and seeing where the road takes us) we really had no idea how long anything would take or what we would want to see. We stopped several times along the way to take photos or have a look around but with the sun about 2 hours from setting we decided it was time to call for help!
My brother drives the West Coast frequently in his classic car so I gave him a call to get some local advice. Our plan was to get to Wanaka that night but he quickly told us not to even try. His advise – get to the glaciers in daylight (Frans Joseph being the easiest to access in a camper and the closest) and travel the Haast Pass in daylight because it was so beautiful it was a shame to miss it in the dark (he was right).
We pulled up in the carpark of Frans Joseph Glacier about an hour before sunset and sprinted out down the well maintained tracks to catch a glimpse of the glaciers before we lost the sun.
It was an easy walk to the river bed below the glacier with even the kids having very little to complain about. The mosquito’s (here and all around the South Island) are vicious so we were glad we had packed our insect repellant!
We walked for about 15 minutes and it was well worth the walk with the glaciers and waterfalls simply awe inspiring.
There are lots of opportunities for photos and the kids loved playing on the rocks and moving them around.
You can check out their website here which has a lot of really cool things that you can do that we ran out of time (and money) for…
Racing back to the camper van we were starving so headed to the small town at the foot of the Fox Glacier – there wasn’t much in the way of takeaways but we did find some good chips at pub in Fox Glacier that they kindly put in a takeaway container for us that we took away with us to have with some marmite sammie (fast becoming our staple diet on this trip) and we were soon on our way to Haast.
We really needed that walk – we’d been driving a while and I probably would have fallen asleep. It was a big lump of ice about half a km away but the water tasted nice. One of those things I’ve always wanted to see and it was pretty beautiful.
How we rated it…
Sophia (6 years old) rates it 5/10
Krystal (8 years old) rates it 8/10
Bella (9 years old) rates it 7/10
James rates it 7/10
Cat rates it 8/10