The local's pick: Where to eat and drink in Franz Josef Glacier

 

Ahhhh.. the great outdoors.

Franz Josef Glacier has it bucket loads.  Take your pick of trekking around lakes, over mountains and through rainforests.  Or glacier hiking by helicopter. 

All that outdoorsy stuff sure can make you hungry (and thirsty).

As generous locals, we’re happy to share our expert, insider knowledge on where to eat, drink and revive yourself after a big day in the outdoors. 

Whether you’re after a cold beer, a café snack or a hearty meal here are our tips on the best places to eat and drink in Franz Josef Glacier.

 

The Landing

If you’re eager to hunt down your guide after a Franz Josef Glacier Guides trip, your best chance of success is a visit to The Landing.  At the end of an amazing day on the ice, you’re more than likely to find the Franz Josef team at our favourite pub having a “de-brief.”

Located on the main road, and easy walking distance from, well everything, there’s always something happening at The Landing. 

Whether it's pub quizzes, drink specials or sports TV, there’s always something going on at this busy watering hole.  Secure yourself a seat on the covered deck and enjoy the comings and goings of downtown Franz Josef.  While you’re here why not sample a Speight’s - ‘The Pride of the South’?  Speight’s is an iconic South Island beer and has a delicious range of flavours.  Also available at The Landing is the West Coast's very own Monteith's beer.  Don’t leave Glacier Country without trying one of these locals' favourites.

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Why we love it

This is what West Coast hospitality is all about.  No fuss or fanfare just a great place to hang out and have a drink with friends. The great vibe of the place means you're sure to find a local or two at The Landing.

 

Monsoon Bar

The Monsoon Bar at Rainforest Retreat is an unbeatable place to grab a warm, cosy seat by the fire while the wild West Coast weather lashes outside.  This log cabin style bar includes two amazing open fireplaces as well as a large outdoor fire.  Perfect for warming up chilly toes after a glacier hike.  Monsoon Bar offers a great range of meals and they’re kinda famous for the ‘all you can eat pizza fest’.

After a big day exploring the West Coast, this is the perfect place to settle in with a drink and share stories with other travellers.  Monsoon Bar is a backpacker-friendly bar offering an outstanding $12 backpacker meal. 

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Why we love it

With huge windows that overlook the deck, Monsoon Bar is the best place to be during one of our famous West Coast downpours.  And on a sunny day, the deck is an unbeatable spot for a cold one.

 

Wild Café at The West Coast Wildlife Centre

For a truly unique café experience, you can’t go past Wild Café at The West Coast Wildlife Centre.  Set amongst the actual workings of a kiwi centre, you can grab a great coffee and a snack while the rangers do their amazing work around you.

The cabinet is always full of homemade goodies and it’s hard to beat the hot pies and quiches.  You can even grab a famous (or infamous) cheese roll.  The cheese roll is the South Island’s contribution to culinary excellence and no visit to this part of the world is complete without sampling one.  Honest.

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Why we love it

What’s not to love about a café in a kiwi centre?  After coffee and cake, take a walk through the centre’s incredible nocturnal area where you’re likely to spot a kiwi or two.  There are very few places in the world where you can get this close to kiwi and what makes this centre very special is the kiwis here are Rowi.  The Rowi is the rarest species of kiwi and their natural habitat is the Okarito Forest, just down the road from us. 

 

Glacier Base Cafe

Located in the Glacier Base building, there’s never a dull moment at this bustling café loved by locals and visitors.  Situated in the heart of the action, this is where the Franz Josef Glacier Guides depart for heli-hiking and the relaxation of Glacier Hot Pools begins. 

The café has a great range of gourmet teas as well as light meals and snacks.  We recommend anyone visiting Franz Josef should make a visit to the Glacier Base building.  The centre is full of information for everything you need to know about glaciers, hot pools and the history of the area.  Located on Cron Street, and easy distance from all Franz Josef Glacier accommodation, Glacier Base is a taste of the West Coast.

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Why we love it

Just alongside the café is the Glacier Hot Pools.  An experience not to be missed, the hot pools are the perfect way to relax and rejuvenate after a West Coast adventure.  So after your Glacier Base Café experience, get yourself into the Glacier Hot Pools experience.