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.
There’s nowhere on earth quite like the Franz Josef Glacier. At over 12 kilometres long and reaching over 2,700m above sea level, the awe-inspiring glacier stretches from the Southern Alps to the Westland’s National Park.
the very best way to explore Franz Josef up close, is with a guided tour. Under the expert supervision of an experienced guide you will be able to see and experience considerably more than if you were to travel alone. Franz Josef Glacier Guides know the ice better than anyone else and will deliver an unbeatable Franz Josef Glacier adventure.
Glacier Valley Walk
You’ll begin your walking tour in the Westland’s National Park rainforest. Over three hours, you’ll make your way along the valley floor, learning about the area’s amazing history, culture and geology of the area, until you reach he spectacular view point for the world-famous Franz Josef Glacier.
Fun for visitors of all ages and abilities, this easy walk won’t take you on to the ice.
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Glacier Heli Hike
From up above you can explore the full magnificence of the Franz Josef Glacier, and understand the true scale of this extraordinary formation. On a guided helicopter tour, your highly trained pilot will fly you high over the glacier, before delivering you down on the ice, where you will explore the stunning landscape on foot.
Get closer to the ice than ever before with a heart-pounding ice climbing adventure. Under the care of your well trained local Franz Josef Glacier guide, you’ll explore the brilliant blue ice caves and frozen caverns.
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The best way to finish off your Franz Josef Glacier adventure is with a trip to the relaxing Glacier Hot Pools, a relaxing sanctuary nestled in the rainforest of the Westland National Park.
To learn more about South Island glaciers, click here.
After a long, hard day of exploring the wilderness, there’s nothing you deserve more than a delicious meal and a cold beer in the warm and inviting surrounds of a local eatery. So come in from the cold, pull up a chair and enjoy some of the hearty culinary delights on offer on the West Coast of New Zealand.
Here are a few fantastic eateries we recommend you try:
Explore more of the best places to eat and drink on the West Coast.
Looking for somewhere to stay on your next trip to New Zealand? Ensure your stay is a comfortable one, by finding the right accommodation option for you and your party. From quaint B&Bs and budget backpacker hostels to luxury hotels and romantic retreats, you’ll be spoiled for choice for accommodation on the West Coast.
Check out our favourite places to stay near Franz Josef:
Combine the vast and dramatic landscape with the Kiwi thirst for adventure and you’ll find that the West Coast is home to some of New Zealand’s most exciting and exhilarating activities.
Below are a few of our favourite things to do in the area:
If you don’t mind getting a little wet, West Coast NZ has some of the best White Water Rafting in the world.
Hold on tight and whatever you do, DO look down on this Rainforest Zip-lining adventure.
From high above to deep into the blue, Glacier Heli Hiking is the ultimate way to explore the colossal Franz Josef Glacier.
Check out our list of some of the most heart pounding West Coast activities.
You don’t need a stack of cash to enjoy the adventure and beauty of New Zealand’s West Coast. These attractions and activities are absolutely free!
Head underground to the Tatare Tunnels Walk
Originally created by pioneering gold miners, this 500-meter tunnel system once channelled water to the Waiho terrace. Today the tunnels make for a great walking and discovery adventure. For this muddy passage you’ll need a raincoat, a torch and a decent pair of waterproof boots.
Wind your way through the rainforests of the Westland Tai Poutini National Park and head up the Franz Josef Glacier valley. By foot or on a bike, this easy, 8.7km track delivers incredible views of the valley and its surrounding mountains.
If your next visit is to New Zealand’s South Island, here are a few articles you might enjoy:
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