We spent last night at a spot just out of Fox Glacier, in fact just opposite the scenic lookout for the best views of Fox Glacier and of Mt Cook.  The parking place was on the road to Gillespies Beach and as we had planned to visit there at some stage, it seemed a good place to stop.  It was a stunning afternoon weather wise so we managed to get a good view of both of the sights.

fox glacier 4Fox Glacier

cloud peircerCloud piercer, Aorangi Mt Cook

We set of into toward town to look at Lake Matheson, but we got there just on dusk which was too late to do the walk, we put this off until the morning (weather permitting of course).  We found we finally had cell and internet reception so quickly checked emails, texts and phone before heading back to the van for the evening.

Saturday 18th February

parked at FoxEarly morning view of the van with Fox Glacier in the background

Gillespies Beach was the first port of call this morning, the van was safely left parked up and we headed off through some beautiful beech forest to the Beach.

sign to gillespies beachSign at the start of the road to the beach!

gillespies beachLooking north

sun bathing at gillespies beachWhere else in the world can you see  in one shot Glaciers, Mountains and girls sunbathing on the beach!!

On returning from the beach we decided to walk to the lookout at Fox Glacier

fox glacier 3 Danger on the way

franz joseph 2 The face of Fox glacier

Just after lunch time we were on our way to Franz Josef, just 23kms up the road.  The road was, in places, steep and windy which kept our interest piqued.

speed 335km/hr for the next km?

speed 4now 25km/hr..what next?

speed 215 – that’s what!

speedHairpin bends, reminiscent of Switzerland.

We arrived in Franz Josef in time to set ourselves up and to host Happy Hour for the evening.  Parked next door to us were Richard and Ellen, a couple we had met at Lake Dunstan.  A wonderful evening ensued with many tales told.

happy hour Rather a large Happy hour gathering.


Sunday 19th February

The early morning riser took himself off for a walk to the base of Franz Josef Glacier.

franz joseph 4From the lookout about 40 minute walk from the Glacier

franz joseph 3Getting closer


franz joseph faceThe face of the glacier

at the faceAnd to prove it I’m here

Today we headed off for a look around Okarito and the surrounding area.

Okarito beach 2Looking north along Okarito Beach

Okarito beachand looking south.  Please note the weather, and the crowds!

Right in the carpark  we did find blackberries….unflattering photographic evidence follows!

blackberries Enough Blackberries to make some Blackberry & Apple Jam.

Roy tried his hand at fishing in the lagoon, but still no luck.

On the way back to Franz, we came across Lake Mapourika and this iconic scene.


Back to the fantastic NZ Motorhome Association Park over place in Franz, and again we host another happy hour.  Although not quite as large and for the first time, it split into male and female (a little to do with an intermittent shower and sheltering under two awnings).

Monday 20 February

After making the jam this morning, we packed ourselves off to spend the day in and around Whataroa

First stop was at the edge of Lake Wahapo, we headed off down a gravel track to see where it led and came across the intake for a hydroelectric power scheme.  The actual station was further down near The Forks on the road to Okarito.

power station inlet

Next stop Whataroa and a look around the couple of shops/gallery that are there, then off for a wander around the countryside.  Out to Whataroa Gorge, although there is little evidence of a gorge where Roy again tried to entice some trout onto the end of his line.  Again, no luck.  I keep telling him to put some bacon on his hook cos who can resist the aroma of bacon?  Never mind, he keeps trying.

On our way out of the gorge, we stopped to check out the blackberry situation, in no time at all, we had juice stained hands and two ice cream containers full of ripe, juicy blackberries!

blackberries 2

So home for the night, no Happy Hour today as we were late back and no one else had organised one!!  19 vehicles in tonight!


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