Franz Josef Glacier

It’s possible to do the drive from the Wild West Coast around Punakaiki to the glacier-topped town of Franz Josef in a single day. The route skirts wave-bashed shores and runs through ancient forestry plugged with ferns. If you’ve got the time, pit stops at the river trails of Hokitika and a picnic with broadside views of the Westland mountains at Lake Wahapo are certainly worth it! When you finally arrive in Franz Josef, it’s time to set your sights on one of South Island’s most eye-watering wonders: the Franz Josef Glacier. Cascading down from the Westland Tai Poutini National Park, it clocks up a length of more than 11 miles and carves out a wide valley between waterfall-draped massifs. There are multiple ways for hikers to get up close. You can do the simple path that takes you to the base of the ice field. The challenging Robert’s Point Trail, meanwhile, zigzags for five hours over mossy rocks and mountain streams before revealing a soaring lookout point. And there are even helicopter treks that take place right on Franz Josef Glacier itself!

New Zealand West Coast

Map of Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier Lists

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Franz Josef Glacier Images

Franz Josef Glacier Articles

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