Best Travel Advice

by Thomas
(Gross-Umstadt, Germany)

Fox Glacier Under Water

Fox Glacier Under Water

In review my best travel advice for Fox Glacier is: plan and book in advance especially through the summer season between December and January.


When we started out we had some ideas what we intended to see, but it turned out quite differently.

Our van was packed for five, three adults two children. This was dynamite in itself. Auckland, Rotorua, Napier, Wellington, ferry crossing, Farewell Spit, Westport, Greymouth went all great. The sun favoured us and underlaid the picturesque scenery pleasingly.

We were looking forward to spend some time in the Franz Josef area. Innocently, without a best travel advice, we trusted our fortune that accompanied us until then.

Franz Josef/Waiau is a major touristy centre where hotels, motels, and backpackers in all sizes and shapes were at hand. Late afternoon the time we arrived there was no chance to find a place to stay. Up to now there was always a place on the camping ground but here we encountered an exception.

After excessive accommodation hunt we took a break to still our hunger first. This was one of the last chances to stay for the night other than sleeping crowded in the van. With a filled tummy we reconsidered our plans and decided to drive on and see if there is something else further down the road.

As cash travellers a closed petrol station, only accessible with a credit card or one of those special service station cards caught us by surprise. Uncomfortably we took off anyway.

The roads were winding up and down no service station in sight then the tank light started to flicker alarmingly. At reduced speed, held as steady as possible, we drove on. Complete darkness surrounded us by now. Rain set in, and the narrow road offered no place to stop. Finally light drew closer from the distance. We were saved a service station and to our delight still with someone servicing.

What a relieve, our worst imagination running out of petrol during the middle of the night on an uphill gradient in the middle of nowhere passed us just.

Our test still kept on. The tank filled and we drove on to follow somewhere on the way a sign that said: Camping, by now the rain was pouring down. The office was closed, so we decided to stay the night cramped like sardines in a tin in our van. First thing next morning we planned to inquire for beds. Since the rain persisted and had soaked everything our desire changed from camping place to cabin.

In the morning an outraged campground owner demanded to remove the vehicle immediately. Understandable, it was standing below her bedroom window which we only realized when day light flooded the night away. Our request was unsuccessful. Still extremely wet and nowhere to stay we gave up on our plans to visit Fox Glacier and region for good. We drove on. The day made up its wet start around lunch time.

Our lesson learned, our best travel advice is prepare your trip thoroughly and pre-book in main touristy centres to save yourself heart ache and disappointment.

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Mar 08, 2010
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Thanks Thomas for your story.
by: Beate

This is an excellent advice which I can only encourage. You might remember our tour to Cape Reinga , when we experienced a similar situation.

Another option is to book a bus tour around the South Island pre-organized and in company. Your only task is to enjoy vacation and activities in beautiful settings.


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