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5 Franz Josef Glacier Must-Dos


Things you can’t miss in Franz Josef Glacier!

If travelling the wild West Coast of the South Island, you can’t miss the Franz Josef Glacier. Along with the Fox Glacier, it’s one of the most accessible glaciers in the world with a ton of ways to experience the ice giant! For those absolutely unmissable experiences in Franz Josef, look no further than this list of Franz Josef Glacier must-dos!

No matter your budget, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the dramatic landscape lying in the wake of the Franz Josef Glacier. When making this must-do list for Franz Josef, we’ve made sure to include something for everyone’s budget, interests and “adventure level”. For more information on the Franz Josef Glacier, head to Glacier Country – Guide for Backpackers.

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1. Heli-hike on the Franz Josef Glacier

The activity that is one of many backpacker’s New Zealand bucket list is to heli-hike on the Franz Josef Glacier. Exploring the ice caves, streams, ice walls and crevasses on an ice giant is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most of us. What’s more, the flight by helicopter onto the glacier provides epic views of the glacier valley. It’s an all-round package of awe!


2. Hike to the Franz Josef Glacier terminal Face

We get it, not everyone has the budget to take a helicopter onto a glacier. A great alternative which will still astound with the views is hiking to the Franz Josef Glacier terminal face. Walk among the gargantuan glacier valley following the track markers in this ever-changing environment. The hike can be tackled on your own or with a guide.

Location: Drive or walk south of the Franz Josef town, cross the road bridge and continue until you reach the Glacier Access Road. It’s 4km until you reach the car park at the end of the access road.

3. Skydive over the Franz Josef Glacier

One of the more adrenaline-fuelled ways to experience the Franz Josef Glacier is by skydiving over it. Skydiving in Franz Josef not only gives you some of the best aerial views in New Zealand (and in the world, but we might be a little biased) of the Southern Alps, Mt Cook and Franz Josef Glacier, it also gives you an insane freefalling experience from up to 19,000ft. All in all, skydiving in Franz Josef may be worth considering if wanting to do a skydive in New Zealand. Compare using our article: 12 Places to Tandem Skydive in New Zealand


4. Kayak on Lake Mapourika

Franz Josef Glacier isn’t just about the glacier itself. The glacier has forged plenty of spectacular formations in its wake, including Lake Mapourika. The dark reflective waters make the perfect reflection of the Southern Alps on a clear day. Kayak tours depart daily onto the lake with lots of photo opportunities, wildlife spottings and amazing scenery.


5. Relax in the glacier hot pools

We get it. Not all of us are into glacier exploration, jumping from planes or splashing on a cold lake. Alternatively (or additionally if you want to treat yourself after your activity of the day), head to the Glacier Hot Pools for some time to unwind. After all, you deserve it.

Location: Cron Street

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