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Trip Planner:   South Pacific  /  New Zealand  /  South Island  /  West Coast Region  /  Westland Tai Poutini National Park  /  Franz Josef  /  Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier, Franz Josef

4.5
#1 of 179 in Trails in South Island
Must see · World heritage site · Geologic Formation · Landmark
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Explore one of New Zealand's natural gems with a trek or helicopter ride at Franz Josef Glacier, part of a national park and World Heritage Site. The country's native inhabitants called this 12 km (7.5 mi) glacier "Tears of the Avalanche Girl," believing a young girl's tears over a lost lover froze into the massive sheet of ice. Europeans first investigated the site in the 1860s, when explorer Julius Haast named it after the Austrian emperor. An ideal spot for an outdoor New Zealand adventure, the glacier offers a range of hiking tours suitable for all levels of ability and fitness. To see the glacier from the air, consider a helicopter tour over the frozen mountain landscape. Check the website for deals on tour packages. Add Franz Josef Glacier to your Franz Josef travel itinerary, and discover new vacation ideas by using our Franz Josef online holiday planner.
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Franz Josef Glacier reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
3,599 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Spectacular glacier which is resting climate warming… nice views from the helicopter. Impressive, unfortunately, it is slowly shrinking. 
    Spectacular glacier which is resting climate warming… nice views from the helicopter. Impressive, unfortunately, it is slowly shrinking.  more »
  • I first visited Franz Joseph in 1980 and visited both glaciers several time in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Back then it was an awe inspiring experience with the terminal face a few hundred metres away... 
    I first visited Franz Joseph in 1980 and visited both glaciers several time in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Back then it was an awe inspiring experience with the terminal face a few hundred metres away...  more »
  • The easy 5 km walk took us through some beautiful native tree glades to the best vantage point. Tourists can do this walk themselves but our guide Sophie made it so much more interesting by... 
    The easy 5 km walk took us through some beautiful native tree glades to the best vantage point. Tourists can do this walk themselves but our guide Sophie made it so much more interesting by...  more »
Google
  • What a wonderful experience from start to finish. Very professional, warm. welcoming and accommodating. Poppy was our pilot and a great host. Yes the experience is an expense but well worth it for seeing the two glaciers and putting the mountain range magnitude into perspective. Highly recommended.
  • Came here as part of a helihike. Quite the experience, definitely recommend.
  • I think this place is over-rated. Took 30 mins to drive 13km up the winding mountain roads. A bit disappointed as it has nothing really fantastic here. Would expect it to be more interesting though. Not recommended if you don’t really like mountains and rocks!
  • The glacier has retracted to the point where it cannot be seen in the valley from the viewpoint if there is any high cloud.
  • Beautiful views, there is a glacier trail walk which would normally take 1.5 hours but access is cut off 30 minutes in due to the river changing its course and washing away some of the trail. Still a lovely walk but temper your expectations if you can!

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