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Franz Josef, New Zealand – Day 2

February 28, 2023

Today’s plans involved Lake Matheson and two glaciers. Josh was very excited to go to Lake Matheson since it is his namesake. Thankfully for all of us, the lake was worthy of a stop.

Signs indicated Kiwi birds live in the area, but we didn’t see any. We did see lots of ferns, moss and Kea birds. It’s pretty wild seeing ferns that are part of the surrounding temperate rainforest and glaciers within a couple kilometers. We finished the track around the lake before grabbing a couple things from the cafe and heading to Fox Glacier.

We walked the Fox Glacier Southside trail, carrying on all the way to the end. The trail ends with a nice view of the glacier and the glacial river, so we had our lunch with a view. Ham, hummus and vegetable sandwiches, greengage plums, apples, dried apricots and chips.

We hiked back through the mossy rainforest and over to Franz Josef Glacier. Clouds began to roll in on our drive, hiding much of the mountains and glaciers. Luckily we could still see the Franz Josef Glacier. It only took 10 minutes to hike out to it’s viewpoint. We snapped a few photos, then went to the Waiho hot pools.

Franz Josef Glacier

The Waiho Hot Pools are wood fired stainless steel hot tubs in a perfectly natural setting. The woman dropped a single log into the burner and our pool heated up to 40°C. We had a lever on the side to add cold water wherever we wanted. Josh at right next to the cold spicket, frequently cooling down the pool.

Theresa had the bright idea to bring a bottle of wine along. We had a great time enjoying the hot pool and each other’s company!

We walked down to Snakebite, an Asian restaurant downtown, for dinner. After a couple of green curries (not as good as in Thailand but still good) we stopped in the local 4 Square for groceries. We picked up some bananas, yogurt and granola for breakfast.

Upon getting back to our hotel, we played cards, drank wine, and ate some of our giant Whittaker’s chocolate bar on our tiny deck. A Canadian couple stopped by and we compared trips. Both turning 65 this year, they are spending 47 days in New Zealand. They suggested we look for the kiwis at night. Shortly after they went back to their cottage we could hear them shuffling cards on their deck.

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