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Franz Josef

Franz Josef is the name of the local village and the nearby glacier, the Maori name being Ko Roimata o Hine Hukatere which translates to The Tears of the Ice Maiden,
The main attraction is the rare glacier which is one of three in the world that transcends from alpine into temperate rainforest and almost sea level, New Zealand is home to two, the Franz Josef and Fox Glacier, these are also some of the most accessible in the world which is why they are so popular. The best way to see the glacier is either a scenic flight or for the more adventurous a Heli Hike, you are able to view the glacier by a short 5-minute drive south out of the village and a short easy walk to a viewing platform
As amazing as the glacier is, Franz Josef has plenty more to offer visitors, including adventure activities, an abundance of forest and alpine walking tracks. 

Glacier Valley Shuttle

Glacier Valley Shuttle

You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Glacier Shuttles and taken on a short tour to view the glacier. Your shuttle vehicle will transfer you up the Franz Josef valley to the road end. Here you will have the opportunity to walk to view the glacier from a viewing platform. Or enjoy one of the short walks available in this area. You will be returned to your accommodation by the Glacier Valley Shuttles.

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line

Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most beautiful terrain in the country. Your guide will choose the route as you go through a wonderland of blue ice and frozen pinnacles. You'll have endless views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest as well as plenty of opportunities to take photographs. Sure to be one of the most memorable experiences you have while you are in New Zealand. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike

After a thrilling scenic flight, high above the rugged terrain, you will land on the glacier, ready to undertake a 2.15 hour  guided glacier hike. Your friendly guide will lead you through some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacial scenery in the world. Your guide will choose your route carefully as you go and, with an eye for the most spectacular ice formations, you’ll soon be making your way through an extraordinary landscape of towering peaks and glistening blue ice.

Franz Josef Nature Tour with Glacier Valley Eco Tours

Franz Josef Nature Tour with Glacier Valley Eco Tours

Nestled in thick historic West Coast forest and a stone's throw from wild black sand beaches, this is one of the world's most unusual glaciers. Beautiful blue skies or magical misty rain, whatever the weather you will feel like you are in Narnia or LOTR.
With easy walking at your pace, information on glaciology, geology, geomorphology, flora and fauna, local legends, history, and small guided groups with fantastic guides, you will experience this glacier in style and in the best hands with the only local company. Wander past glacier rivers and streams and through beautiful podocarp forest; discover hidden natural treasures such as native snails, wild native mushrooms, and dozens of species of native orchids; listen to native bird song and waterfalls; see if you can spot a Chamois or a Tahr on the huge snow-capped mountains above while drinking a cup of tea and talking one-on-one with your guide. This tour will be a highlight of your travels in New Zealand.

48 Hour General Pass with West Coast Wildlife Centre

48 Hour General Pass with West Coast Wildlife Centre

Meet and discover New Zealand's rarest kiwi, the Rowi at the West Coast Wildlife Centre. This is a unique and interactive experience that brings together nature, conservation, and wildlife all under one roof. This all-weather attraction is fun for all ages to explore and takes place against the stunning backdrop of the Franz Josef Glacier.

Half Day Lake Matheson Eco Tour

Half Day Lake Matheson Eco Tour

Nature has combine three ingredients to create the stunning vista that is Lake Matheson. Explore the crystal clear waters and learn about flora, fauna, glaciation, geology and natural history of this beautiful area.
You'll be collected from your accommodation in Franz Josef and driven to the stunning Lake Matheson, where you'll walk the 3km gentle track that follows the lake edge. Along the way take in the reflective qualities of the lake and the surrounding lush rainforest which make for fantastic photo opportunities.

Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson Tour

Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson Tour

Explore the remarkable Fox Glacier and the crystal clear waters of Lake Matheson during this enjoyable day tour. You’ll be collected from your accommodation and drive towards Fox Glacier. You’ll then walk a track which runs through the lush historic glaciated rainforest in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, with focal points of huge rata, rimu trees and moss.
Views of Fox Glacier, Fox neve, Mt Tasman, one of NZ's highest mountains. Enjoy a cup of tea with a view and the opportunity to chat with your knowledgeable local guide. Information on glaciation, geothermology (inc geothermal spring to dip your hand in) geology, flora and fauna. Please note this tour does not get close or to view the terminal face of the glacier due to safety reasons.
Then head to the iconic Lake Matheson in the evening - renowned for its majestic mirror-like reflections this time of day. Treasure hunt with your knowledgeable guide for fungi, native orchids and native birds. Stop for a cup of tea and a chat with the picturesque landscape of Lake Matheson. This lake is a non-commercial and protected lake, part of the UNESCO World Heritage area and therefore you won't be disturbed by kayakers or noisy jet boats.

Mountain Scenic Spectacular Flight with The Helicopter Line

Mountain Scenic Spectacular Flight with The Helicopter Line

The premier flight! Experience two of New Zealand's finest national parks and encounter the gigantic expanse of both the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Take in the towering ice formations and top it off with a snow landing and the chance to set foot on snow and breath the clean alpine air. Along the way, get to see the Tasman Glacier and get close to Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak. Duration of helicopter flight is 40 minutes.

Neve Discoverer Scenic Flight with The Helicopter Line

Neve Discoverer Scenic Flight with The Helicopter Line

The perfect opportunity to get up close to the glaciers and touch snow. You'll be captivated as you lift off and fly up and over the Franz Josef and experience the solitude of a landing in this natural alpine wonderland. Duration - 20 Minutes. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line's operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Off-Road Quad Bike Adventure Tour with Franz Josef Wilderness Tours

Off-Road Quad Bike Adventure Tour with Franz Josef Wilderness Tours

Let us take you on an amazing, guided off-roading adventure, ride through a beautiful rainforest, splash through rivers, and explore an ancient glacier riverbed while being blown away by the breathtaking scenery including the spectacular Southern Alps and Franz Josef Glacier. Your guide will kit you out with wet weather gear and gumboots and teach you how to ride our off-roading vehicles. They will entertain you and amaze you with beautiful Maori Legends and local history while refining your skills and giving you new challenges to conquer. Either take a single quad bike all to yourself or take a double quad bike or buggy and bring a passenger along for the ride or take one of our three-seater buggies that can fit two adults and one child.

One Hour Private Tub with Waiho Hot Tubs

One Hour Private Tub with Waiho Hot Tubs

Relax and unwind in the soothing comfort of fresh, warm water and aromatic wood smoke. Enjoy your own private tubs, nestled in a lush rainforest setting on New Zealand’s West Coast. These wood-fired hot tubs combine the soothing comfort of warm water with the unique atmosphere of wood smoke to give you an unforgettable experience.

The Grand Traverse Scenic Flight with Air Safaris

The Grand Traverse Scenic Flight with Air Safaris

The flight of a lifetime, the "Grand Traverse" is a spectacular scenic flight seeing experience allowing you to explore the Mount Cook and Westland National Parks. This magnificent flight encompasses two World Heritage National Parks and 200 km of New Zealand's most memorable and spectacular scenery. The contrast of colours is beautiful with the turquoise glacial lake against the tussock covered sheep stations. Your journey will bring you over Aoraki Mt Cook National park where you view New Zealand's longest glacier, The Tasman. From there you cross the main divide into the Westland National Park encompassing the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers which spill down to the rainforests of the west coast. Their large and varied fleet especially selected for New Zealand air tour sightseeing ensures that every passenger has a window seat and all aircraft have wings-above to ensure optimum viewing below. Pilots provide a full and informative commentary with multi-language commentary brochures supplied.

Fox and Franz Josef Twin Glacier with Glacier Helicopters

Fox and Franz Josef Twin Glacier with Glacier Helicopters

Explore the glacial icefalls of not one but two glaciers - Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier. Discover up close their neve and unusual ice formations - landing on the snowfields is a highlight and will make for superb photos, snowballs and memories. Duration is 30 minutes.

Kayak and Walk with Franz Josef Wilderness Tours

Kayak and Walk with Franz Josef Wilderness Tours

Explore the Jurassic rainforest and kiwi sanctuary on a private rainforest trail. Exclusively accessed by kayak and boat you’ll experience the pure remote wilderness of Lake Mapourika. Hot drinks provided, with an unbeatable panorama of the glaciers across the lake.

Skydive Franz - 20000ft Jump

Skydive Franz - 20000ft Jump

Nestled between New Zealand's highest mountains, the Tasman Sea, stunning temperate rainforest, glowing glaciers, mirror lakes and braided river beds, Franz Josef Glacier has been described as one of the most beautiful places on earth and the perfect location for your New Zealand Skydive. Tandem skydiving is the fastest, easiest and safest way for an inexperienced skydiver to enjoy the thrill of jumping out of a plane, free falling through the sky at 200kph/120mph and floating safely to the ground under a parachute. The system includes a harness and parachute system for both the passenger and the instructor to share, so you can simply enjoy the thrill of the experience knowing your instructor has everything under control for your Tandem NZ Skydive.

Franz Josef Glacier Adventure with Franz Josef Glacier Guides with lunch

Franz Josef Glacier Adventure with Franz Josef Glacier Guides with lunch

This exciting experience is for anyone seeking a private on-ice adventure. This activity includes a longer flight than most (10 minutes) as you fly over the glacier's neve area. On landing, the knowledgeable and experienced qualified NZMGA Hard Ice Guide will demonstrate their skills on the glacier. With no set tracks and a maximum of 4 guests per guide, guests will be taken through spectacular ice formations and crevasses. Guides will cater to the groups preferences making this a truly bespoke experience. Should the opportunity present itself guests will be able to explore different ice formations by walking through caves, and if you wish having a go at ice climbing.
All equipment required for this adventure is included in the cost, plus the helicopter transfers lunch and drinks.
Participants must be 14 years and older.

Franz Josef Glacier Heli Ice Climb

Franz Josef Glacier Heli Ice Climb

Your climb starts with a scenic helicopter transfer up onto the glacier; a great chance to take in the full panoramic majesty of the glacier and surrounding mountains. Ice climbing at Franz Josef is a day packed with excitement and adventure. Under the expert tuition of some of New Zealand's most experienced ice climbers, you will learn the skills and techniques you need to carefully and comfortably climb the glacier. A great way to introduce you to the exhilarating sport of ice climbing under the watchful eye of the expert team. Your guide will tailor the day to challenge novices and experts alike. No experience necessary, ice climbing, is a challenging sport however and you'll need a good level of fitness, flexibility and agility to complete this trip.

Kayak Classic with Franz Josef Wilderness Tours

Kayak Classic with Franz Josef Wilderness Tours

Glide effortlessly across the water taking in the panoramic views of the Southern Alps, glaciers, and untouched Jurassic rainforest reflected on the glassy waters of Lake Mapourika. Paddle into the heart of the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary, exploring the protected area with your knowledgeable guide.

Okarito Lagoon Guided Kayak Trip (2 hours)

Okarito Lagoon Guided Kayak Trip (2 hours)

Okarito, New Zealand's largest unmodified coastal wetland covers 3240 hectares of open water and is known for its rare New Zealand birds such as the White Heron and Royal Spoonbill. On this tour, you'll explore the open water and river channels by kayak leading you deep into the heart of the rainforest. On a clear day, you'll enjoy awe-inspiring views of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps.
Your guide will then take you to several popular spots where you'll discover the flora, fauna and history of the lagoon.

Pilot's Choice 35 minute Glacier Scenic Flight with Glacier Country Helicopters

Pilot's Choice 35 minute Glacier Scenic Flight with Glacier Country Helicopters

Experience the ultimate scenic helicopter flight and glacier landing in New Zealand’s world famous Glacier Region. Pilots choice includes two scenic flights and a snow landing. Depending on the day you will either fly over Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier or Franz Josef Glacier and the Tasman Glacier with Glacier Country Helicopters.

VIP Guided Backstage Pass Tour with West Coast Wildlife Centre

VIP Guided Backstage Pass Tour with West Coast Wildlife Centre

The VIP Backstage Pass Tour is a combo ticket that combines the All Day 48-Hour General Pass PLUS the VIP Guided Backstage Pass Tour. This is a fully guided tour with one of our Wildlife Rangers through the incubation and rearing facility where you will learn about the history and successes of the Operation Nest Egg program. Plus you will also go behind the scenes to see our Tuatara Encounter – where we look after 7 Tuatara and you will have the opportunity to meet them close up!

Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef

Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef

There are many walks and hikes in and around Franz Josef. The information below is provided by the Department of Conservation. Located in Franz Josef village is a Department of Conservation information centre and you can get updates on track conditions and suitability plus you can learn about the area, its natural history and its people. Listed below are a selection of short walks but check with the Department of Conservation information centre for weather conditions, track suitability and conditions  first.

Douglas Walk
The Douglas Walk is an easy one-hour forest walk that passes by the Peters Pool viewpoint and crosses several moraines before descending to the bridge across Dolly Creek on the way back to the road.
Category:  Walking track. Completion Time:  1 hr return

Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere Walk
The 40-minute walk to the terminal face of the Franz Josef Glacier follows a rocky path over riverbed. Only experienced and prepared visitors should attempt climbing on the glacier.
Category:  Walking track. Completion Time:  1 hr 30 min return

Lake Wombat Track
The Lake Wombat Track leads you through a lush rimu forest to the idyllic Lake Wombat.
Category:  Walking track. Completion Time:  1 hr 30 min

Okarito walking tracks
North of the Franz Josef Township sits the coastal settlement of Okarito and the Okarito Lagoon. The lagoon is home to more than 76 species of native birds including the kōtuku/white heron and royal spoonbills.
Category:  Walking track.

Peters Pool Walk
The spectacular view at Peters Pool includes Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere, and the Fritz Range, including Mt Moltke and Mt Roon.
Category:  Easy access walk. Completion Time:  25 min

Sentinel Rock Walk
Just a short distance south of the Franz Josef Township you will come to the Glacier and Sentinel Rock walks. The Sentinel Rock Lookout offers impressive views of the glacier, the valley and Waiho River.
Category:  Short walk. Completion Time:  20 min

Tatare Tunnels Walk
The 80-minute return Tatare Tunnels Walk follows an old 4WD road to a junction with the Callery/Waiho Walk. From there follow the track to the old water tunnels.
Category:  Walking track. Completion Time:  1 hr 20 min return

Terrace Walk
Follow the Terrace Walk as it winds through forest and goes by remnants of past gold mining operations.
Category:  Short walk. Completion Time:  30 min

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