We got up at 6am and drove to Lake Matheson for the famous sunrise shot, walked around the lake to Reflection Island and set up (we were the only people there at that stage), and waited. There was quite a bit of cloud overhead but we could see the mountains so we were hoping for a nice bit of colour on the peaks as the sun rose. As we waited some more people arrived; a group of backpackers who we could hear coming all the way around the lake, and a man by himself, who after brief introductions turned out to be Neil Protheroe who we were facebook friends with. He was over from his adopted home in Kaikoura to scout locations, and also to meet Rina who we were supposed to catch up with.
As the sun rose the drizzle started, and then the rain so there was no colours on the mountains and the reflection disappeared with the raindrops disturbing the lake surface. We left and walked the longer but flatter way around the lake, chatting to Neil on the way, back to the van at 9am. We drove back to the camp to have breakfast and empty out / fill up the van. Off again at 10:30 and drove to the main road and filled up with diesel, then headed north again out of Fox.
The road between Fox and Franz Josef is quite steep and windy and a bit of a struggle for the big van but thankfully we weren't holding up any traffic (ie there was no traffic). We dropped back down and into Franz Josef, where we stopped for groceries and a quick walk around town. Back off again in the van but only for a few kilometers to the Oasis Hotel where the legendary Andris Apse has a gallery. We stopped there and took in the stunning pieces of art on the walls and watched a brief documentary about his life and his photography. Very inspiring to a couple of amateur landscape photographers.
We carried on north past Lake Mapourika (our camp for the night) and drove out to the coast at Okarito at 1:30pm, where we stopped by the lagoon and had some lunch in the sunshine. The clouds seemed to be building up along the mountains and by the time we got back to the campsite at about 2pm (Ottos/MacDonalds Camp, a standard DOC site with flush toilets, at the northern end of Lake Mapourika) it was raining hard. We parked up and waited out the rain.
By the time the rain had stopped it was around 4 so we had a quick wander around the camp, paid our fees in the honesty box, then drove out in the van and back south along the side of the lake to the boat jetty at the southern end. When we arrived we met a group of kayakers who had been out on the lake with Glacier Country Lake Tours, and they were packing up and heading back to Franz Josef. But they very kindly (?) left their boat tied to the jetty for us to photograph as part of the sunset. The clouds produced some nice colours during sunset so we took a few shots then headed back to camp at 6pm for a rest and some dinner.