April 20th
written by Alonna
Franz Josef Glacier - below the clouds

Franz Josef Glacier - below the clouds

A popular stop on any New Zealand itinerary is the Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers. We arrived yesterday to cloudy skies and a poor forecast for the next few days. Since we’ve seen our share of glaciers, we decided just to do a long day hike for the exercise and leave the next day, whether or not we saw the glaciers in all their glory.

Peaking out the campervan window this morning, the skies looked clear and I was hopeful for good weather. We rushed to get ready and hit the trail by 10am for our 10 mile 4000 foot elevation gain hike. After three hours of strenuous hiking through rough terrain we ran into cloudy skies and figured we wouldn’t see a thing the rest of the day. In fact, two other couples we met on the trail turned around early to head back. But we were in it for the exercise, so we trotted on.

New Zealand above the clouds

Soon after we came out of the forest above the treeline, the sun peaked out and the clouds started to dissipate. Soon enough, we were struck by one of the most amazing mountain views I’ve ever seen: snow-capped mountains framed by bright blue skies, floating above a thick layer of clouds.  We practically ran the rest of the way to the top to get the full view. Only a few minutes later we were again surrounded by clouds, completely obscuring the view.  We had lunch and waited around another 45 minutes for the clouds to leave. Finally they did, and we scrambled to take a bunch of photos.  I couldn’t believe our luck – pushing ourselves to complete the hike despite the weather, and then getting to see this amazing view.


  1. Eric Lipari

    Awesome pictures. Glad the weather semi-cooperated with you guys. Enjoy the rest of your stay in NZ.

  2. 04/28/2010

    I am in awe, a ten mile hike, up! What break to see so much in that weather. The cave sounded exciting too. I am wondering if you had a guide.

  3. 04/29/2010

    @Betty – It was 10 miles round trip… but still it was tough! We were sore for a couple days after that 🙂 Yep, we had a guide for the cave, there’s no way we could have found our way through without him! Thanks for checking out the site, it’s great to hear from you. Hope to see you in June!