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Snow-capped peaks rimming crystal lakes under some of the world’s clearest skies are only a dream to many outside New Zealand’s pristine Queenstown. The minute you blink for the first time and breathe lungs full of mother nature’s purest air in this place and the magic takes over. Regardless of whether you’re there in the crisp winter, pretty autumn, lively spring or sparkling summer, Queenstown, is a natural gem in a class of its own. And while it’s a phenomenon of the physical world, whether you’re travelling on your own, with a partner in crime or the entire family, there is an absolute abundance of activities in Queenstown that can’t be missed.
Westland Tai Poutini National Park, on New Zealand’s South Island, is home to the 12 kilometer long Franz Josef Glacier. First explored in 1865 by Julius von Haast, a German geologist and explorer. Von Haast named the glacier Franz Josef, in a tribute to the Austrian Emperor, although the native Māori called it Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere (The tears of Hinehukatere).
Visit the incredible West Coast of New Zealand and you’ll soon discover a land as dramatic and diverse as it is beautiful. From the snow capped alpine peaks and other-worldly glaciers, to the lush rainforests and wild rivers. With such a huge range of attractions and activities to choose from it can be hard to know where to start. Explore our West Coast tourism tips below and start planning your next trip.
So, you’ve booked your tickets, your bags are packed and you’re ready to begin your epic New Zealand adventure, but where do you start?
Heading to New Zealand without a plan? Not sure what you want to do or where to go? Perhaps you’re the kind of traveller who prefers to ‘take things as they come’? Maybe, you’re just not that keen on commitment.
What sounds like more fun? Learning about glaciers in the classroom, or getting out onto the ice and experiencing a glacier firsthand? Our guess is if you ask kids that question, they'll take the real-life glacier experience any day. There’s no YouTube video that comes close to the real thing.
We’d like to give a huge glacier-sized thank you to everyone who voted for Franz Josef Glacier Guides in the TNT Golden Backpack Awards. You may have seen us promoting the awards on our Facebook page last month, and encouraging our friends to vote online.
These amazing historic shots show the changing face of Franz Josef Glacier between 1951 and 2015.