Choose from guided glacier heli-hike experiences, or book a scenic helicopter flight, embark on scenic self-guided hikes and mountain biking. Explore local Lake Mapourika for picnics, swimming, kayaking and fishing tours. Book a massage, relax by a beach bonfire whilst watching an epic West Coast sunset or explore our charming cafes and restaurants. Whether it's adrenaline-fueled excitement or relaxation, Franz Josef Glacier has something for everyone
Franz Josef Glacier offers a myriad of recreational activities.
Browse our top picks...
Franz Josef Glacier can only be accessed on foot by helicopter with Franz Josef Glacier Guides who offer a range of guided experiences on Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere (Franz Josef Glacier) regarded as the pinnacle experience of New Zealand. Discover ice caves, tunnels, seracs, towers and crevasses and come away with a new-found appreciation for Mother Nature and Franz Josef Glacier.
Explore Franz Josef Glacier
A visit to our local Lake Mapourika is a must during your time in Glacier Country! Enjoy self-guided activities such as picnics, swimming and bird watching or hire a S.U.P (Stand Up Paddle Board) from Franz Josef Wilderness Tours which also offer a range of lake adventures such as guided kayaking tours with nature walk, covered boat sunset cruises and fishing tours!
The Roberts Point Track is an 11-12.3 km tramping track that offers a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience. Starting from the Douglas Bridge, the trail winds up the right side of the Waiho Valley, crossing several swing bridges and traversing over ice-carved rock formations. The hike culminates at a high viewpoint overlooking Franz Josef Glacier. The trail is known for its lush scenery and epic swing bridges, making it one of the best hikes on the West Coast of New Zealand.
Roberts Point Trail
The Callery Gorge Walk in Franz Josef Glacier is an enchanting 5km return hike that starts from the Tatare Tunnels Track. This easy and centrally located trail takes you on a gentle climb to a high terrace behind the township, following the old sluice pipes. As you traverse through the native Beech Rainforest, you'll reach the stunning Callery Gorge, known for its electric blue waters. The walk is generally completed in about 1 hour and 20 minutes, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a moderately challenging yet rewarding outdoor experience.
Photo: Geoff Marks
Callery Gorge Hike
The Tatare Tunnels Walk is a unique glowworm viewing experience in Franz Josef Glacier. This moderately challenging 3.8km (2.4-mile) out-and-back trail runs uphill alongside a rushing river, taking about 1 hour and 20 minutes to complete. The highlight of the hike is the old mining tunnel at the end, where you can turn off your flashlights to marvel at the magical spectacle of glow worms. Created by gold miners, this trail offers a fascinating blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue.
Photo: Clint Trahan
Tartare Tunnels Glow Worms
The Lake Wombat Walk in Franz Josef Glacier is a tranquil 3km return hike that takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete. This fern-lined trail gently climbs from the car park through a lush rimu forest, leading to the serene Lake Wombat. Formed by glacial action, this kettle lake is nestled amidst a podocarp hardwood forest. The walk offers great opportunities for bird-watching and is generally considered an easy route, making it an ideal choice for families and those seeking a peaceful outdoor experience
Lake Wombat Hike
The Alex Knob Track in Franz Josef Glacier is a challenging yet rewarding 8-hour return hike that takes you to the top of Alex Knob, offering unobstructed views of the Franz Josef Glacier. The trail starts alongside the Lake Wombat track but soon diverges, climbing steeply through a variety of vegetation types. With two viewpoints along the way - Rata and Christmas - at around 700m and 900m respectively, the trail culminates in a stunning panorama of the glacier, Southern Alps, and West Coast. Despite the 1000m climb, the breathtaking vistas make this trail one of the best ways to experience Franz Josef Glacier without taking a helicopter flight.
Alex Knob Hike
The Okarito Trig Walk near the Franz Josef Glacier is a delightful 1.5-hour return walk that begins in the quaint village of Okarito, about a 30-minute drive from Franz Josef. This well-graded uphill track rewards hikers with stunning panoramic views of Aoraki - Mount Cook, pristine beaches, and the expansive Okarito Lagoon. The walk is known for its spectacular coastal and alpine vistas, offering a 360-degree view of the surroundings from the trig point. It's an ideal choice for those seeking a blend of forest, beach and mountain scenery. You can extend the walk right along to the Five Mile Lagoon and walk back along the beach at low tide. You might spot seals and penguins!
Okarito Trig Point
Experience the untouched beauty of Okarito Beach, a hidden gem nestled on New Zealand's West Coast. This tranquil beach offers a unique blend of stunning coastal landscapes and abundant birdlife, making it an ideal day out for nature lovers. As night falls, Okarito Beach transforms into a magical spot to light a bonfire, toast some s'mores, and soak in the breathtaking beauty of an epic West Coast sunset. You could also embark on an adventure with Okarito Kayaks for a serene paddling experience on the lagoon or a Boat Tour with Okarito Eco Boat Tours offering stunning views of the Southern Alps.
Ōkārito Bonfire & Sunset
Soar over the highest peaks of the Southern Alps of New Zealand and step out onto pristine snowfields when you book a scenic helicopter with snow landing flight during your visit to Franz Josef Glacier. Please Contact Us for more information and for recommended providers of this service.
Photo: The Helicopter Line
Scenic Helicopter Flight
The West Coast Wildlife Centre, located in the heart of Franz Josef Glacier Village, is a must-visit all-weather attraction. As the South Island's largest kiwi hatching facility, the centre is home to the official hatching program for the rarest kiwi, the rowi, found only in the nearby Okarito Forest. The Centre is open from 8.30am each day and has a great cafe. Apart from the kiwis, visitors can also see live tuatara
Photo: West Coast Wildlife Center
West Coast Wildlife Center
Embark on an exhilarating quad biking tour with Franz Josef Tours where adventure meets stunning landscapes. Traverse through the Jurassic rainforest, cross rivers, and explore ancient glacier riverbeds. With safety ensured by experienced guides, these 2-hour tours offer a unique perspective of the glacier region, navigating the rugged terrain of Westland Tai Poutini National Park's ancient glacial pathways. Whether solo or with a passenger, this off-road adventure promises unforgettable thrills amidst breathtaking natural beauty.