The exotic Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers deeply touch the heart and soul of sightseers in New Zealand. The icy twosome is located on the West Coast in Westland Tai Poutini National Park at the bottom of a valley merely 300 meters above the sea level. The striking landscape of mighty mountains, breathtaking glaciers, primitive rainforest, raging mountain rivers and serene coastal formations offer sights and adventures which enthrall one and all.

Cascading from the massive ice fields of the Southern Alps, the duo traverses through a challenging terrain and ends in lush primal forests. On its way to the forest the two bergs create dramatic ice cliffs and jagged chasms.

Franz Josef Glacier

franz josef glacier

Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand

The gem of New Zealand's West Coast Glaciers is an extravagant river of ice. Franz Josef glacier is one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world. Known as one of the steepest glaciers in the world, it descends 1.5 miles over its 7.5 mile path through the valley.


Located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, the glacier lies along the West coast of New Zealand’s South Island at the floor of the western slopes of Mount Cook.

Thousands of tourists and localities visit the glacial ice during the peak season.

How to reach Franz Josef?

Franz Josef can be reached via Christchurch airport. Franz Josef Airport is apt for light aircraft. On the other hand Mount Cook Airport offers fantastic scenic flight seeing trips.

The spectacular TranzAlpine scenic train also takes you from Christchurch to Greymouth.

Franz Josef is about:

  • Thirty minute trip from Fox Glacier
  • Three hour trip from Greymouth
  • Four and a half hour trip from Wanaka
  • Six hour drive from Christchurch

Several tours buses are available that takes the inquisitive tourists to the dazzling destination.

Franz Josef – Places to visit:

  • Lake Mapourika
  • Okarito Lagoon
  • Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve.
  • Glacier Hot Pools
  • Alpine Adventure Centre

Franz Josef Glacier – Activities

  • Kiwi watching
  • Kayaking
  • Scenic helicopter flight
  • Hiking
  • Guided and unguided walking and tramping
  • Skydiving
  • ATV quad biking
  • Horse riding

Franz Josef Glacier - Walks and tracks:

  • Roberts Point Track
  • Alex Knob Track
  • Lake Wombat Track
  • Terrace Walk
  • Sentinel Rock Walk
  • Tatare Tunnels Walk
  • Okarito Township and Lagoon
  • Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
  • Okarito Trig & 3 Mile Lagoon
  • Canavan's Knob
  • Callery-Waiho Walk
  • Lake Mapourika
  • Pakahi Walk
  • Douglas Walk
  • Waitangi Taona Wetland Walk

Fox Glacier

Tourist Walking over Fox Glacier

Tourist Walking over Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier is regarded as New Zealand's major commercially guided ice field. It happens to be the longest glacier in New Zealand. It’s an exploratory realm. The land of discovery drives you from high alpine snow fields into the deep rainforests. Key highlights of Fox glacier are Lake Matheson and the seals at Gillespies Beach.


It is situated 21 kms south of Franz Josef on the West coast of the South Island, in Glacier Country.

How to Reach Fox Glacier?

Take the State Highway 6 in order to reach Fox glacier.

Fox glacier is about:

  • A four-and-a-half hour trip by car from Queenstown
  • A three-hour trip by car from Wanaka
  • A one-and-a-half hour trip by car from Haast
  • A five-and-a-half hour trip by car from from Christchurch approximately
  • A two-and-a-half hour trip by car from Greymouth
  • A two-hour trip by car from Hokitika

Fox Glacier – Places to visit:

  • New Zealand's National Parks
  • Mount Cook/ Aoraki
  • Chancellor Dome
  • Mount Tasman
  • Tasman Glacier
  • Fox Glacier village/Weheka
  • Lake Matheson
  • Gillespies Beach

Fox Glacier- Activities:

  • Ice climbing
  • Scenic flights
  • horse riding
  • Sdrenaline pumping
  • Skydiving
  • Guided and unguided walking and tramping
  • Heli-Trek
  • Heli-Rafting

Fox Glacier - Walks and tracks:

  • Copland Track - Welcome Flat
  • River Walk
  • Mount Fox Route
  • Gillespies & Galway Beach
  • Peak View Lookout
  • Fox Glacier Valley Walk
  • Lake Matheson
  • Moraine Walk
  • The Chalet Lookout
  • Minnehaha Walk

Hotels in Franz Josef and Fox Glacier:

  • Bella Vista Motel Fox Glacier
  • Sunset Motel Fox Glacier
  • Misty Peaks Fox Glacier
  • Te Weheka Fox Glacier
  • Heartland Hotel Glacier Country Fox Glacier
  • Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier
Published On: Wednesday, September 25th, 2013