Exploring Franz Josef Glacier from the valley floor, 5 reasons why you don’t want to miss this experience


Exploring Franz Josef Glacier on a guided Glacier Valley Walk ticks all your sightseeing boxes: Ancient rainforest, carved-out glacial valley, stunning glacier views and exclusive access beyond the public barriers. Yup, it's all here for you in this three-hour adventure hike.

It's not all about helicopters and ice... 5 great reasons to explore the rainforest and valley floor of Franz Josef Glacier

1.  Explore the lush heart of a World Heritage Area

The Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers lie within South West New Zealand Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area.  It’s not everyday you get to walk amongst UNESCO World Heritage listed rainforest.  Once you’re here, you’ll understand why this area is worth protecting.  Keep an eye out for some of the residents like Tuis, Fantails and maybe even the cheeky mountain parrot, the Kea.  As well as the winged inhabitants, the forest is lush and abundant with many alpine plant species that are endemic to New Zealand (they are found nowhere else). 

Lush rainforest of franz josef glacier valley2

2.  The rainforest of Westland is unique  

This rainforest is lush, deep green and almost prehistoric thanks to the high rainfall and moderate temperatures.  And there are not many places where you find snowy alpine peaks, temperate rainforest and wild coastline so close to each other. 

3.  Exclusive access

Once you’re through the rainforest and out onto the valley floor, you’ll get access beyond the public access barriers.  Franz Josef Glacier Guides gets you closer to the glacier so you can soak in stunning views of the terminal face of the glacier. 

The rainforest Glacier Valley Walk2

4.  A knowledgeable guide means you’ll get some knowledge too!

There’s a lot of cool stuff to learn about Franz Josef Glacier; like how the glacier was formed and what changes are currently occurring.  Learn about the history of guiding, the history of Franz Josef Township and the Māori legend of Kā Roimata o Hinehukatere.  Afterwards, you can impress your friends with your glacier knowledge! 

5.  It’s better when it’s raining!

The best thing about a glacier walk is it doesn’t matter what the weather is like.  If it’s a bit wet, we’ll give you wet weather gear and get you out exploring.  We think the valley walk is better on a wet day, the waterfalls are spectacular and the glacier casts an impressive presence over the valley.

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk2

 We'll see you there!