In the morning we left our quite little town of Pukekura and travelled on to Franz Josef. We arrived fairly early in Franz Josef after a short trip. We were met with the almost constant sound of helicopters flying above us, taking tourists to the peeks of the snow capped mountains. We had looked into get a flight in a helicopter for the family, although it was a little out of our reach at over $1,000.00 for 20 mins.
Unless we were prepared to pay for a helicopter ride there seemed to be no other choice to get to see the glacier and feel the snow, so we settled for a visit to the equally no-value for money wildlife center tour. Our $75 entry fee got us into a self guided 10 minute tour of 4 different rooms. One containing two kiwi birds that were pretty hard to see. The other rooms were novel, and contained some good information, but certainly not worth the entry fee. The same amount of time spent on Google would have possibly delivered a better experience.
We drove a few minutes down the road and saw the turn off to Franz Josef Glacier. We found that we could walk approximately 750m away from the bottom of the glacier, which, by the ,looks of the notice boards could vary each day, and sometimes multiple times a day.
We decided not to make the full walk as the first viewing area offered a good view of the glacier. We had planned on making it as far as Haast and going to the Crab Pot at Jackson Bay for some famous fish (blue cod) and chips, however after talking to one of the locals we found out that they are closed during winter. So we decided to try and make it as far as we could to get to Wanaka and Puzzling World in the morning.
We stopped in at Knights Point lookout, where we were almost blown away. The westerly winds were really strong and blew in short little gusts. We saw a couple of young travellers, possibly European, kicking a football around. One of them stood up on the handrail so he could get a better view. Really quite a stupid act, as if he would have been up there when a gust of wind came he wouldn’t have been able to keep his balance and the fall would have almost certainly killed him. Fortunately he escaped unharmed without any real danger from his stupidity.
We moved on to our next stop along the way which was only a 5 minute walk to a very high waterfall called Thunder Falls. We were able to get right down to the water and captured some pretty awesome photos. We also managed to get a quick drink before we headed off.
We arrived late into what I think is the most beautiful holiday park we have seen all trip at Lake Hawea Holiday Park. One of the main header photos of this website were taken here.