Camping New Zealand Travel

Franz Josef: Hiking, Hot Pools, and Campfires

By on September 12, 2016

We pulled the Wicked camper van away from the campground at Fiordland National Park and headed toward Fox Glacier, located on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.  Our plan was to visit both Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier; but the weather only allowed us to visit Fox Glacier.  We couldn’t get too upset, though, because rainy weather meant that it was a perfect day for the Glacier Hot Pools.

Lake Hawea

Along the way from Fiordland to Franz Josef, we stopped to camp at Kidds Bush Campground alongside Lake Hawea.  There were several other people camped there as well, but it was still very quiet and peaceful.  Kidds Bush Campground has nice facilities and is very clean, so we really appreciated that.  Also, what a spectacular sunset over the lake!

A Quick Pre-Hike

The next morning, we got back on the road towards Fox Glacier, stopping again for a quick hike at Mount Aspiring National Park, and then to snap a few photos at gorgeous Haast.  It’s New Zealand, after all.  You can only go so far before you find another beautiful spot to hike and another stunning photo to take.

Fox Glacier

After a long ride in the camper van, we finally made it to Fox Glacier.  Bev was still having coughing fits, making a moderately steep climb at the Glacier more difficult.  But if you’re going to visit South Island, this is a must see.  Coughing fits, cold wind, and some drizzle aside, we were all glad we did it!

Okarito Campground

We were ready for a nice campfire after our hike at Fox Glacier.  We found an open site at the busy Okarito Campground, but it didn’t have a fire pit.  Our Argentinian campground neighbor invited us to share the fire he had going at his site.  He might have regretted having extended the invitation a little later because we didn’t want to leave that nice, warm spot.  Gerard, Steven, and Bev finally did call it a night earlier than the other two.

Bonfire on the Beach

After everyone else went to bed, Dirk and Nick walked down to the beach about 150 yards away, to investigate the source of some fireworks that were being launched.  They found and met some really friendly people sitting around another fire.  Once we knew fires were allowed on the beach, we made plans to have our own bonfire the next night.  And that ended up being one of the best nights the five of us spent in New Zealand together.  It was perfect.

Glacier Hot Pools Instead of Franz Josep Glacier

Discouraged by rainy weather at Franz Josef the next day, we decided to hit the Glacier Hot Pools instead.  In fact, we enjoyed this so much that we went to them twice in the same day.  We stopped at The Landing for lunch in between soaks.

The next morning, we packed up and headed North towards Punakaiki.  But first, we had to stop along the way to snap a photo at Whataroa.  Of course.

Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Lake Hawea

 

Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Lake Hawea

 

Kidds Bush Campground, Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Showing our best “Maori faces” at Kidds Bush Campground, Lake Hawea

 

Kidds Bush Campground, Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Kidds Bush Campground, Lake Hawea

 

Kidds Bush Campground, Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Kidds Bush Campground, Lake Hawea

 

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Lake Wanaka

 

Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

Mount Aspiring National Park

 

Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

Mount Aspiring National Park

 

Haast, New Zealand

Haast

 

Fox River, Fox Glacier, New Zealand

Fox River emerging from Fox Glacier

 

Fox River, New Zealand

Fox River at Westland Tai Poutini National Park

 

Glacier Hot Pools, Franz Josef

Glacier Hot Pools, Franz Josef

 

Okarito, New Zealand

Okarito

 

Okarito, New Zealand

Okarito

 

Okarito Campground, New Zealand

Okarito Campground

 

Franz Josef Bonfire on Beach

Our Bonfire on the Beach at Okarito Campground

 

Whataroa, New Zealand

Whataroa

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