Visiting Fox and Franz glacier

New Zealand’s Wild West Coast was WET during our March visit. We continued our caravan journey along the coast to Fox Glacier. We planned on driving out to view the Glacier up close and take a walk around. Unfortunately, Glacier View road was closed due to flooding and there was no access available.

So we drove out to Lake Matheson instead. We took a short, but scenic walk in the misty rain and continued onwards to Franz Glacier.

Success! The road was open and we were able to hike very close to Franz Glacier as the weather had improved significantly by that time. It was a lovely walk along the river and there were several waterfalls along the way to the glacier. I can’t say how it compares to Fox Glacier, having only viewed it from so far away, but I think Franz Glacier was a lovely stop

Driving to Hokitika and Freedom Camping on the beach

We decided not to drive all of the way to Hokitika and found a place to freedom camp on the beach. We spent a peaceful night next to the ocean. Then, we woke up to a spectacular sunrise on the beach with the tallest full rainbow we have ever seen. The best part was we were the only people in sight that entire morning. Our only company was a famously curious Weka bird. Don’t worry, we didn’t feed it (although I suspect that other people do, because it was suspiciously interested in us while we cooked breakfast) and if you want to Keep Traveling Aloha you shouldn’t feed or try to touch wildlife either.

How to spend a day in Hokitika

Our next stop was Hokitika and we explored the waterfront and town. Next, we drove out to the renowned Hokitika Gorge which is well known for its turquoise water. However, it was milky during our visit due to all the rain. The bridge is a great place to be, but the lookout point across the way was cloudy with carnivorous sandflies. Did you know that New Zealand, and especially the South Island’s West Coast, has a huge problem with biting sandflies? Well I didn’t either until this trip. Trust me, they can make any stunning scenery instantly less attractive. While we were determined not to let them ruin our trip, I can’t tell you how many times we spoke of our gratitude that these annoying little siblings don’t live in Hawaii. Mosquitoes are bad enough.

How to spend a day at arthur’s pass

Our next stop was Arthur’s Pass where we camped for a night by the river and were blessed with another great rainbow (we thought we had the monopoly on rainbows in Hawaii, but we’re happy to share). We got stuck in “traffic” for a good 20 minutes and couldn’t complain because this traffic was fluffy and cute. If only all traffic looked and sounded so fun!

Cave Stream Scenic Reserve

Luckily, we finally caught some sun on the South Island our last day and we made good use of it. We had a picnic and took the loop trail at Cave Stream Scenic Reserve, unfortunately we weren’t prepared for spelunking.

Castle hill

We pretended we were the King and Queen of the boulders at Castle Hill and Ryan might admit to getting a bit queasy at the very top looking over the edge. But, it’s also possible he would deny the whole thing.