Franz Josef is a small town tucked in the Southern Alps with views of the Franz Josef Glacier. The highest peak in New Zealand, Mt. Cook, is a short helicopter ride away from town with views of the Tasman and Fox Glaciers along the way.
Our accommodations in Franz Josef were a little rougher than other places, but the town is more focused on outdoor activities than luxury. I shared a room with three other women and got to sleep on the top bunk!
Walking around town is a bit dangerous – not because it’s crowded. There are only about 4 streets. But the views of the mountains and glacier from town are downright distracting so it’s hard to focus on where you’re going. When we arrived, there was a thick fog hanging out over the mountain tops, so seeing a clear view of the glacier the next day was quite a treat.
I also took some time to walk through a rainforest track just outside of town and was amazed at the dense forest. The climate here is tropical, in spite of the massive snow-capped mountains that tower above you.
Check back tomorrow for pictures from my helicopter ride through the glaciers.
Title quote: Maori for “If you should bow to greatness, let it be to a lofty mountain,” a Maori proverb