Looking to get off the beaten track when you visit Glacier Country? Here's 4 of the best secret spots in and around Franz Josef Glacier to satisfy the explorer within.
Just don’t tell anyone…!
There's no shortage of glacier activities at Fox and Franz Josef townships. And for good reason! Everyone who visits New Zealand should include a glacier experience in the itinerary. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. Just make sure you leave time to explore some of the other amazing sights Glacier Country has to offer. Like Hot Pools, the Kiwi Wildlife Centre, stunning views and lush rainforest. How about a kayaking or nature tour? And don’t forget the great selection of pubs and restaurants. But if you're itching to get off the beaten track, here's four of our favourite spots that might be a bit less crowded.
Okarito Trig Walk
Located 32 kilometres north of Franz Josef is Okarito, a spectacularly tranquil beachside township. With a population of just 30, Okarito is a peaceful spot overlooking the Okarito Lagoon. We think the Okarito Trig Walk is one of the best short walks to do in the Glacier Country area. It’s just 4.2 kilometres return and winds gently uphill to the Okarito Trig Viewpoint. Here you will be rewarded with outstanding views of the snowy peaks of the Southern Alps, the lush forest of the National Park, the lagoon and the wild beaches of the Coast.
Maybe not so much a secret of the West Coast, but it is definitely a “must do”. Lake Matheson is just 6km west of Fox Glacier and has the title of most photographed lake in New Zealand for good reason. On the right day, you will see a perfectly mirrored reflection of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman on the water. There is a boardwalk track around the lake so you can soak up all of the West Coast goodness.
Tatare Track walk
Not many people know about this walk that explores the remains of a tunnel system built in the early 1900’s. It was built to pipe water from the Tatare Gorge to the Waiho Terrace for gold miners and went on to provide Franz Josef township with its water supply after gold mining was found to be unviable. The walk is a fascinating exploration of pioneering engineering. You can start the walk on Cowan Street at Franz Josef township.
Glow Worms on The Terrace Walk
After the sun goes down, grab your torch and head off for a Glow Work walk. You may not think of glow worms and glaciers together in the same location, but there are many spots around the Fox and Franz Josef Glacier area where you will find these little creatures. One of the easiest spots to see glow worms when staying in Franz Josef Glacier is along The Terrace Walk, located just off State Highway 6 near the Westland Visitor Centre. Look for glow worms around or under large fallen trees.