Explore this stunning World Heritage Area.
The Franz Josef glacier is a natural wonder- with stunning icy glaciers and clear-water lakes and grassy valleys where the icy mass once stood. Making your way through the glacier truly is an adventure- with helicopter tours taking you to the top to explore the caves and crevasses, and kayaking tours allowing you to paddle through the untouched rainforests and estuaries. It is also home to the West Coast Wildlife Centre, the largest kiwi-hatching facility on the island. Whether you head upwards to the glacier, or along the valley, it can be sure that you will have an adventure at the Franz Josef Glacier.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN FRANZ JOSEF
These are popular activities to do in Franz Josef. We can help you choose.
Glacier Helicopter: Soar over the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers on a helicopter tour with absolutely stunning views. On the tour you’ll get a chance to see the two different ice sheets from up above, as well as the snowy terrain yourself when the tour takes you down to ground on a high mountain landing. To ensure you get to see all of Franz Josef, a helicopter tour is simply a must-do.
Valley Walk: Make your way up the track of the glacial retreat through a gorgeous valley where snowy terrain meets grassy hills. Take a guided tour through the valley and learn of the geological history of the area, the migration of the glacier, and how we can expect it to change in the future. At the end of your hike you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view, as well as a soak in the hot pools to relax after your trek up.
Heli-Hike: Take a heli up with a small group for an extensive exploration of the Franz Josef glacier. Navigate your way through the network of caves, crevasses, and other geological wonders. Grab an ice axe and scale the mountain like the pros to be rewarded with a relaxing soak in the hot pools.
Roberts Point Track: Start your hike from the Douglas Bridge and weave your way up the Waiho Valley. The Robert’s Point track will take you through a variety of terrains for an exciting day trek with a sheltered spot for lunch at Hende’s Hut. If you’re looking for a simple excursion to appreciate the gorgeous landscape of the glacier then this is the activity for you.
West Coast Wildlife Centre: Visit the largest Kiwi Hatching facility on the South Island for a chance to see some of the rarest Kiwis on the island, the Rowi and Haast Tokoeka. If the weather restricts you from exploring landscape outside, then this indoor all-weather activity is the perfect visit for you.
Hukawai Art Gallery: Check out the works of local NZ artists at the Hukawai Art Gallery. Every month the collections are refreshed, making for a new experience each time you visit. The Art Gallery is another great all-weather indoor activity if the weather restricts you from exploring outside.
Kayak Adventure: Hop in a kayak and paddle across Lake Mapourika and check out the breathtaking 360-degree views around the Southern Alps. With your guide you will navigate through estuaries and untouched rainforest and be able to spot some of the rarest birds on the planet.