Unfortunately for the two nights we spent at Kaikoura the weather was very cold grey and windy so the boats for the whale watching weren't going out as it was too rough. We did however get to have crayfish or lobster. We also had the best fish and chips from a little shop in the main street, lovely freshly battered blue eye cod and crumbed hoki, my favourite was the cod. I also managed to find the patchwork shop where I just had to buy a tiny bit of fabric. Kaikoura is a very pretty place with the mountains right near the ocean.
Very early in the morning (6.45am) we left for Franz Josef as it was going to be a long drive. The weather predictions were for heavy frosts so once again we had some quite interesting driving conditions, especially heading through the Lewis Pass. Very beautiful though of course.
At times it was hard to tell weather the ground was covered in a bit of snow or frost!
At other times it was more obvious.
After a short stop at Hokitika for lunch we finally arrived at Franz Josef and the amazing glaciers of Franz Josef and Fox (which is another 20 odd k's further on) amid the rainforests.
You could see the glacier from our motel.
Our first afternoon we walked to the terminal face of Franz Josef. It had changed quite a lot since we had been there in 2004 and I was a little bit disappointed. It didn't seem to be quite so spectacular as the first time we saw it and didn't have as much blue ice, it seemed to have a lot of black. The light also wasn't the best as it was late afternoon by the time we did the 50 minute walk to the terminal face.
It's hard to see the size of the glaciers from photos but if you look closely you can see people coming back from the guided hikes onto the glaciers on the right of the photo in blue and red jackets.
The next day we took the helicopter up to the top of the glacier and around Mt Cook and Mt Tasman.