Franz Josef Town
National Parks

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Our most recommended Franz Josef Town National Parks

Queenstown: Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike

1. Queenstown: Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike

Fly over the Southern Alps, home to over 3000 small glaciers. Visit Franz Josef Glacier on the western face of Aoraki/ Mt Cook or the Tasman Glacier on the east side. Enjoy the flexibility of seeing either glacier in case of poor weather conditions on your tour of choice. Check in on arrival at either the Franz Josef Glacier tour or Tasman Glacier tour and get to your helicopter. Have a safety briefing as your equipment is handed out. Go out to a deep part of the glacier via a scenic helicopter flight. Pass over the deep crevasses of the icefalls and waterfalls to land at the upper Franz Josef Icefall. Alternatively, take a scenic helicopter flight over the Tasman Terminal Lake to the Tasman Glacier. Be fitted with crampons for your trek out onto the glacier, exploring ices caves, and seeing the natural, ever-changing wonders of the South Island’s glaciers.

Franz Josef Glacier: 2-Hour Scenic Lake Mapourika Cruise

2. Franz Josef Glacier: 2-Hour Scenic Lake Mapourika Cruise

Soak up panoramic views of the Southern Alps and glaciers reflecting on the mirror-like waters of Lake Mapourika on this 2-hour scenic cruise. The lake was created by the Franz Josef Glacier as it retreated 14,000 years ago and now sits calm and reflective between the Southern Alps and the sea. Meet your experienced skipper and small group at the office in Franz Josef and take a complimentary transfer out to Lake Mapourika. Board the boat, then sit back and relax onboard the Hanna-k in the comfortable enclosed cabin or on the covered back deck. Your skipper will take you through to the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary on the far shorelines of the lake and will help you spot New Zealand's native birds. Enjoy informative commentary and fascinating stories as you cruise past untouched Jurassic rainforest and 900-year-old Kahikatea trees. Sip on a cup of complimentary tea or coffee as you unwind in beautiful Glacier Country, a picture perfect way to escape the crowds and enjoy the West Coast’s scenery.

Franz Josef: 3-Hour Kayak Tour on Lake Mapourika

3. Franz Josef: 3-Hour Kayak Tour on Lake Mapourika

Gear up for an incredible, three-hour guided kayaking experience. Begin your adventure by meeting your experienced team at the local partner's office in Franz Josef. Join them and your small group on a complimentary transfer out to Lake Mapourika. Glide effortlessly across the water, taking in panoramic views of the Southern Alps, glaciers, and untouched Jurassic rainforest reflected on the glassy waters of Lake Mapourika. Paddle into the heart of the Okarito Kiwi Bird Sanctuary, exploring the protected area with your knowledgeable guide. Tours depart at various times throughout the day. Mornings are often the calmest time of the day on the lake, a perfect choice for photographers looking to capture the beauty of the area. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and an experience not to be missed during your visit to Franz Josef.

Franz Josef: Franz Josef Glacier Lookout Guided Walk

4. Franz Josef: Franz Josef Glacier Lookout Guided Walk

Enjoy a relaxing small-group walking tour in the glacier valley to view the Franz Josef Glacier with an experienced local guide where you will learn about glaciers and the local nature, history, local stories & Maori legends. Get picked up from your accommodation and drive to the glacier carpark to begin your guided tour. Stroll through the tepid rainforest full of creeks, beautiful flora, fauna, and native trees. Discover hidden gems such as native snails, mushrooms, orchids, and birds, waterfalls & glowworms. During the walk, enjoy a cup of tea with a view, listen to the songs of the forest birds & chat with your guide.

Greymouth: Franz Josef Glacier & Wildlife Centre Guided Tour

5. Greymouth: Franz Josef Glacier & Wildlife Centre Guided Tour

Departing from Greymouth, you will enjoy a scenic drive South, following the coastline with ocean views before heading inland to reach your destination of Franz Josef. The township of Franz Josef is a popular tourist hot spot with thousands visiting the town to view the famous Franz Josef Glacier. Walk up to the glacier along a marked track called the Valley Walk, following the river bed. The trek will take approximately 1.5 hours. On your return to Franz Josef, you will visit the Wildlife Centre. Home to two of New Zealand’s native birds, the Rowi Kiwi and the Tuatara, the centre also hosts an interactive exhibit on the glacier. There is also a souvenir gift shop and cafe onsite. In Franz Josef there will be free time to buy lunch and look around the town, before returning back to Greymouth.

Franz Josef: Glacier Helicopter Ride with Snow Landing

6. Franz Josef: Glacier Helicopter Ride with Snow Landing

Board the helicopter at the local partner’s base in Franz Josef, then ascend into the New Zealand's highest mountain range known as the Southern Alps, where panoramic views await. Soar across the sky, passing over the spectacular ice pinnacles and crevasses of Franz Josef Glacier on the way to the snow landing site. Throughout the tour, soak up once-in-a-lifetime views of snow-capped mountains, ancient glacier as well as some of New Zealand’s highest peaks. Arrive at the landing site and take your first steps onto the snowy landscape. Be amazed by the sheer beauty of your surroundings as you are dwarfed by the size of this mountainous West Coast region. Enjoy enough time to take photos and soak up this magical location, then board the helicopter for the return journey to the base. Another view of this amazing and unique glacier formation as you descend back down across temperate rainforest and safe landing back at base.

Fox Glacier: Half Day Walking & Nature Tour with Local Guide

7. Fox Glacier: Half Day Walking & Nature Tour with Local Guide

Walk through the lush historic glaciated rainforest in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, spotting the huge rata, rimu trees and moss. During the walk your guide will provide informative commentary on glaciation, geothermology geology, flora and fauna. Dip your hand into a geothermal spring to feel nature up close. Take in the views of upper Fox Glacier, Fox Neve, and Mount Tasman, one of New Zealand's highest mountains. Due to the location, you won't get up close to the terminal face of the glacier, this walk is predominantly focused on the stunning nature in the Fox Glacier Valley.  Upon completion of the walk, your guide will drop you back to your accommodation.

Franz Josef: Kayak & Walking Tour to Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary

8. Franz Josef: Kayak & Walking Tour to Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary

Enjoy a scenic kayaking tour across Lake Mapourika and onto the ancient soils of the protected Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary. Begin your adventure by meeting your experienced team at the local partner's office in Franz Josef. Join them and your small group on a complimentary transfer out to Lake Mapourika. Head out onto the water and take in panoramic views of the Southern Alps, glaciers, and untouched Jurassic rainforest reflected on the glassy waters of Lake Mapourika. Paddle into the heart of the Okarito Kiwi Bird Sanctuary, exploring the protected area with your knowledgeable guide. Discover a prehistoric rainforest, abundant birdlife, and the home of the rarest Kiwi on the planet. Throughout your tour, enjoy complimentary tea and coffee. Enjoy multiple fantastic photo opportunities, and have your guide take complimentary photos of you as you paddle and hike to the sanctuary.

Franz Josef: Half-Day Guided Tour to Okarito

9. Franz Josef: Half-Day Guided Tour to Okarito

Get off the beaten track and explore one of New Zealand's hidden gems on this half-day tour. Learn about the history of the old gold mining township of Okarito from your knowledgeable guide. Start your adventure in Franz Josef Township, where you will meet your guide and the rest of your group before departing on a 25-minute drive down the highway to reach Okarito. You will then head out on a walk to admire the stunning landscapes. Take in spectacular views of the mountains and glaciers of New Zealand's West Coast and take pictures as you go.  Experience unique bird & wildlife sightings throughout the tour, and if you're lucky you may get a chance to see dolphins. Your guide will do their best to tailor this walk to your interests. If you like photography, there is an opportunity to stop at the world-renowned Andris Apse photography gallery.

New Zealand: 9 Day South Island Tour

10. New Zealand: 9 Day South Island Tour

Day 1 - Christchurch to Lake Tekapo Marvel at the stars at the Dark Sky Project, Lake Tekapo. Visit The Church of the Good Shepherd. Hike up Mount John for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. Day 2 - Lake Tekapo to Mount Cook (return) Spend the day at Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. Hike the Hooker Valley Track to Hooker Lake. Day 3 - Lake Tekapo to Queenstown Enjoy a buffet dinner with panoramic views of Queenstown at the Skyline Stratosphere Restaurant (At your own expense). Day 4 - Queenstown free day Have the whole day to yourself and explore the wonders of Queenstown. Day 5 - Queenstown to Glenorchy day trip Cruise past the lake, soaking up the views, and onto Glenorchy for some short walks. Day 6 - Queenstown to Wanaka Roys Peak hike (6-hour return). Take in breathtaking views over Lake Wānaka (only accessible from November to May). Mt Iron hike (alternative to Roys Peak) that provides 360-degree views of The Pisa range. Visit the famous Wanaka tree. Day 7 - Wanaka to Franz Josef Thunder Creek falls in Mt Aspiring National Park. Head to Lake Matheson, famous for mirror views of Aoraki/Mount Cook. Day 8 - Franz Josef Design and carve your own Greenstone jewelry in a West Coast workshop (included). Walk the Glacier valley walk in Franz Josef Day 9 - Franz Josef to Christchurch Take a scenic hike across Arthurs Pass, walk the Castle Hill track, and visit Devils Punchbowl waterfalls.

Frequently asked questions about Franz Josef Town National Parks

What are other things to do than National Parks that are worth visiting in Franz Josef Town?

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What people are saying about Franz Josef Town

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 2 reviews

The cruise was nice and perfectly relaxing. Looking back the alpine background as you paddle towards the peninsula gives a unique tranquility base. The guide is very knowlegeable about the wildlife and the environment. I would not have appreciated a lot of local knowledge and fieldcraft survival if she did not show us. The guide looked after not only our comfort and safety but also in making sure the whole trip was recorded in digital photo without a charge. It very unique experience worth the time and the price.

Outstanding! On a perfect day we enjoyed the cruise and beauty of Lake Mapourika while learning of its history and natural surroundings. Magnificent views of the mountains and glaciers were mirrored in the serene waters. Jake was interesting and informative. Just do it! A photo album of wonderful memories.

Beautiful cruise around the lake with excellent cruise operator Dale... Kept us entertained with informative and interesting area history and west coast lifestyle...friendly and welcoming personality..

Tour guide David was fantastic. Very knowledgeable and took us to locations off the main track for some amazing sights.

A wonderful morning with a great guide - well worthwhile!