New Zealand West Coast
Franz Josef Glacier
A dynamic New Zealand glacier on the West Coast of the South Island, known for ice hikes and stunning views within the Southern Alps.
Tips from the community
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!
4 years ago
Franz Josef Glacier Guides
- amanda.t.dwyer (Amanda Dwyer)
I've been dreaming of going to New Zealand for so long! We booked a trip to go 8 years ago but then I got pregnant and had some complications early on so we had to cancel the trip. It will happen one of these years!! Hard to pick just 11 sites for now.
Franz Josef Glacier Articles
From the sheer-cut fjords of South Island to the smoke-sputtering volcano cones of North Island, New Zealand is brimming with breathtaking natural sites. It’s an obvious destination for any adventure-hungry traveler, touting more wild bays, shimmering beaches, misty rainforests, and snow-capped mountains than you can shake an endangered kiwi bird at (but definitely don’t do […]