Franz Josef Glacier, November 2013
The Franz Josef Glacier (Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere) offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience a dynamic glacial environment, in a temperate environment, while being within easy driving and walking distance from the main highway.
In the last ice age the glacier extended in a huge ice-sheet to beyond the present coastline. Although today’s glacier has retreated considerably, echoes of it’s frozen past are still apparent in the present landscape. The terminal face of the glacier is less than 300 metres above sea level and is just one of three to be this close to the coastline.
Take an imaginary journey back in time and witness the awesome power of moving ice, the shaping of the valley, the formations of moraine, and the impressive wall of ice at the terminus of the glacier.
There are a number of short and longer walks within the glacier valley. There are also commercial guides available to guide you on these walks and provide further valuable information.
There are no places to stay in the glacier valley but accommodation is available in the nearby town of Franz Josef.
The area is a dynamic and potentially hazardous environment, and river levels and water channels can change rapidly. Find out how to get there, and how to look after yourself and the area.
Viewing the glaciers is an exciting experience, but it can also be dangerous - people have died or been injured after ignoring signs and barriers. Follow these guidelines to have a safe and enjoyable visit.
At Franz Josef students can take walks through the glacier valley and observe features carved out by this giant sheet of ice.
Westland Tai Poutini National Park is located about half way down the South Island on the West Coast of New Zealand.
Find businesses that are DOC-approved to provide activities and services in Franz Josef Glacier.
DOC maps: Discover the outdoors - DOC's key places, campsites, tracks and huts, and visitor centres on a map
Westland Tai Poutini National Park
Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:1. Plan your trip2. Tell someone3. Be aware of the weather4. Know your limits5. Take sufficient supplies
Alerts for West Coast places