8 March 2018

5 Reasons To Explore Franz Josef Glacier From The Valley Floor

by Emma Mulder

Exploring Franz Josef Glacier on a guided Glacier Valley Walk ticks all your sightseeing boxes and it's all here for you in this three-hour adventure hike!

Ancient rainforest
Carved-out glacial valley
Stunning glacier views

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

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1.  Explore the 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 every day 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 the cheeky mountain parrot, the Kea who sometimes visits the valley.  As well as the winged inhabitants, the forest is abundant with many alpine plant species that are endemic to New Zealand (they are found nowhere else).

2.  The rainforest of Westland is very unique

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

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3.  A knowledgeable guide means you’ll learn some interesting things

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!

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4.  It’s better when it’s raining!

The best thing about a glacier walk is that 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.

5. Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools

Once you have completed the valley walk you get free access to the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools, where you can immerse yourself amongst the rainforest while relaxing in the warm waters of our stunning pools.