We went up to the parking lot at Franz Josef Glacier because we figured we could brave the rain and hike the glacier valley walk. However, when we got there it was raining even harder and we saw a few people coming back just drenched. We had to consider the fact that we were staying in a campervan and wouldn't really have a ton of space to "dry" our clothes (like they would dry hanging in the campervan on a super damp day anyway!)
So....change of plans. We drove back into the little town and decided to splurge on a private hot pool at the Glacier Hot Pools. This was fancy and such a good choice! Great way to get warm and then we got a free (super nice) shower out of it too! I'm not sure I'd recommend the public pools. They seemed a bit crowded (probably because everyone else was stuck in the same situation as us!)
After relaxing in our private pool, we decided to continue down the road to Fox Glacier and check into a campervan park. We found a really nice, quiet little spot in Fox Glacier Campervan Park (part of Fox Glacier Lodge). It was very convenient to town (we walked to dinner), biking distance to the glacier, and a super close drive to the start of the glacier valley walk. By the time we checked in, it had started to clear up. I wouldn't say it was clear, but it was basically done raining. We decided to head to Fox Glacier and check out what all this fuss is about!
The drive into the valley was my favorite part of the day. There were signs that said "this is where the glacier was in 1900, 1920, etc." A sad story, but an interesting one nonetheless. There were waterfalls everywhere because of all the rain. It was just a spectacular valley, like it was right out of Land Before Time. The walk to the glacier is easy (and therefore a bit crowded), but totally worth it.
After the valley walk, we took a quick detour to check out the 70 m long suspension bridge over the Fox River that was built in 1929. It was a little scary, especially considering how fast the river was rushing that day.
Our plan was to do Lake Matheson at sunset, to catch the reflection of the mountains in the lake at sunset; however, we weren't going to get a sunset or see any mountains that evening. We decided to give it a shot in the morning instead, before heading on through Haast Pass to Wanaka.