- Accommodation with 4 stars
- Morning tea on the TranzAlpine train
- Dinner in 2 courses at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef
- Scenic TranzAlpine train journey from Christchurch to Greymouth
- Accommodation with 4 stars
- hotel breakfast
- Helicopter tour of the Southern Alps including the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers
- West Coast Wildlife Center(Video) Franz Josef Glacier Helicopter Flight and Hike
- Accommodation with 4 stars
- hotel breakfast
- West Coast Wildlife Center
- Westland Wonderland 40-minute film HELIMAX
- hotel breakfast
- Afternoon tea on the TranzAlpine train
- Tranz Alpine train
Day 1 review
Your Franz Josef Glacier experience travels from Christchurch to Greymouth on the West Coast on the world famous TranzAlpine Scenic Train, through the majestic Southern Alps.
On arrival in Greymouth, you will be met at the station by your transfer and embark on a scenic journey along the west coast en route to Franz Josef.
After checking into the spectacular Franz Josef View Hotel, you'll end the evening relaxing with a two-course dinner at the hotel.
Trains from Christchurch to Greymouth on TranzAlpine
On this world-famous train journey, you'll see epic vistas, soar over the edge of the frozen Waimakariri River and experience the ever-changing landscapes across the Great Divide.
But natural beauty is not the only miracle. The TranzAlpine ascends over a 72-meter-high stepped viaduct, through the 8.5-kilometer-long Otira Tunnel and deep beneath the Arthur's Pass mountains.
Enjoy morning tea on the train as you glide along the Crajburn and Kass Plateaus.
In the early afternoon, you'll step onto the Greymouth platform energized and ready to spend the afternoon exploring the stunning West Coast.
Day 2 review
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast at the hotel, then spend the morning exploring the beautiful cityFranz Josefand spectacular local walks.
In the early afternoon, if the weather is clear, take a helicopter tour of the local glaciers for a more advanced experience in the Southern Alps.
End the day by relaxing in the city or at the hotel. Explore local hiking trails or indulge in a treatment at Amaia Spa at Te Waonui Forest Retreat.
Staza Franz Josefa
From a 30-minute walk through stunning natural bushland to a 5-hour hike in the spectacular Southern Alps,Staza Franz JosefaSomething for everyone - regardless of age or ability.
The shortest and easiest walk is a 1.8 kilometer easy walk from the southern end of the city. If you have a flashlight, you can explore the trail at night and spot glowworms along the trail.
For a longer, more interesting walk, try the easy 3.6km Tatare Tunnels Track, which explores the old tunnel system from the gold mining era. A flashlight is essential for tunnel exploration, and waterproof shoes and jackets are highly recommended.
Slightly longer is the 5.2-kilometer Callery Track, which takes you through the ancient rainforest to Callery Gorge, a place full of natural splendor and historical charm.
If you have hiking boots and want to explore Glacier Canyon, Robert's Point Intermediate Trail takes about five hours and includes suspension bridges and views of glaciers, rocks, waterfalls and majestic peaks.
Tour of the glacier by helicopter
Take to the skies for an experience most people only see on TV.
Your afternoon activities were heavenlyTour of the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers by helicopter.From the unique aerial perspective that only a helicopter can provide, your pilot will take you through the different aspects and characteristics of two of New Zealand's famous glaciers.
Descending and hovering above these extraordinary geological formations, you will get a glimpse of the glacier environment. You will even land on glaciers, walk on untouched snow and breathe in the cold air.
Then climb the high peaks and marvel at how these massive ice caps have carved and shaped the West Coast environment. Your trip continues past Aoraki/Mt Cook, Mt Tasman and the Tasman Glacier, enjoying stunning views of the Southern Alps and rugged west coast.
It may take some time for the excitement and adrenaline to wear off after returning to Earth, but the feelings and memories you experience on this trip will stay with you forever.
explore and relax
Take an afternoon to settle in and come back to life on Earth.
If you like relaxation, the lovely town of Franz Josef has a lot to offer, from boutiques and cafes to hot tubs and spa treatments. For total relaxation, try booking a spa treatment at Amaia Spa within Te Waonui Forest Retreat.
Or, if you need a morning adrenaline rush, there are plenty of nature walks, hiking and mountain biking trails to explore.
Day 3 review
Start the day with a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, then wander the city at your leisure.
Your morning activity is learning about the local wildlifeWest Coast Wildlife Centre, specializing in rowi and Haast tokoek, two of New Zealand's most endangered kiwi birds.
In the afternoon, head to the Franz Josef Cinemas for a screening of the incredible film Westland Wonderland – an incredible 40-minute journey through South West New Zealand.
Evenings are for relaxing and enjoying Franz Josef's hospitality.
West Coast Wildlife Center
this oneWest Coast Wildlife CenterSpecializing in the breeding and conservation of Rowe and Haasttokok kiwis, this is your chance to meet face to face on the Night Walk.
You'll also find a fascinating exhibit on the glacier, where you can learn about all the nooks and crannies of the local formation and how they've grown and shrunk over time.
If you want to go behind the scenes and get up close and personal with kiwis, book a VIP Backstage Guided Pass and go behind the scenes with one of the centre's wildlife keepers on a fully guided tour. Here you will learn about the history and success of Operation Nest Egg, a program working to save the rowi and Haast tokoek kiwi, New Zealand's most endangered species.
The tour continues backstage at the Tuatara Encounter, where you'll get up close and personal with real dinosaurs. Hailing from the order Sphenodontia, Tuatara have walked the Earth for 200 million years — a very lonely walk since all their relatives died out 60 million years ago.
Screened in Franz Josef Cinema, IncredibleWestern Wonderland HELIMAX movieEmbark on a 40-minute journey through the wilds of southwestern New Zealand and experience a bird's-eye view of the region's stunning scenery.
Relive yesterday's high-altitude adventure as you explore Bay Island's unspoilt open haven off the coast of Haast and further down the Cascade River on the border of Fiordland National Park.
Highlight the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site where you live, drawing inspiration from this beautiful cinematic masterpiece.
Day 4 review
Enjoy a relaxing breakfast at the hotel before checking out at 10.30am to meet your sightseeing bus.
By 12:30 your transport will take you back to Greymouth, where you will be registered for the TranzAlpine train back to Christchurch for another fantastic journey.
Find the cheapest train tickets from Greymouth to Christchurch on TranzAlpine
A heavenly trip through the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine train is the perfect relaxing end to your wonderful days exploring Franz Josef and the West Coast.
Your journey begins along the banks of the Gray River, past Coal Creek, around the stunning Lake Brunner, across the Plains of Inchbone, through the Otira Valley and up the Southern Alps through the Otira Tunnel.
From Arthur's Pass, you'll descend the meandering Waimakareri River into Canterbury, passing Cass and Craggyburn before meandering along the steep banks of the Waimakariri Gorge.
Sit back and relax in your seat, enjoy the mountain views as you sip your afternoon tea and contemplate the beauty of the natural world around you and the generations of engineers who built this great railway through the sky.
The spectacular five-hour journey to Christchurch will soon be over, but the fond memories of this train escape will live on forever.
The Franz Josef Glacier is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New Zealand, and it's not difficult to see why. The glacier is an amazing natural wonder, surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery. Visiting the glacier is precisely the kind of awe-inspiring experience that people travel to New Zealand for.Is Franz Josef Glacier worth it? ›
The Franz Josef Glacier is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New Zealand, and it's not difficult to see why. The glacier is an amazing natural wonder, surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery. Visiting the glacier is precisely the kind of awe-inspiring experience that people travel to New Zealand for.How long does it take to see Franz Josef Glacier? ›
Even when it is teeming with rain, the Glacier Valley is still a place of isolation, wonderment and awe. Anyone with sensible shoes and a basic level of fitness can complete the round trip in 1 hour 30 minutes.Which is better Fox or Franz Josef? ›
Fox Glacier has a gradual incline whereas Franz Josef is steeper. The surface of Franz Josef Glacier is full of crevasses and ice caves, where you have a much better chance of seeing the famous blue ice.Can you touch Franz Josef Glacier? ›
You can take the self-guided walk to the viewing area. But if you want feet to touch ice, you need to go with one of operators that run guided tours to Franz Josef Glacier. The only safe way to get up yourself onto the glacier is to fly, in the company of experienced guides.What is the prettiest part of Glacier National Park? ›
The main attraction in Glacier National Park is the Going-To-The-Sun Road. The Sun Road is 50 miles long from West Glacier on the West Side to Saint Mary on the East Side. The West Side encompasses 35 miles of this Road and will provide you with the more scenic and picturesque drive.Is glacier better than Yellowstone? ›
If you're hoping to do more hiking to reach areas of the park, Glacier is the best choice for you. You'll most likely encounter less people and have more opportunities for exploring the backcountry here too. On the other hand, if you want a wide variety of landscapes to explore, plan a trip to Yellowstone.How hard is Franz Josef Glacier Walk? ›
The walk to the glacier is an easy hike and is around 4 km (2.5 mi) return. The trail is considered a must-do on any South Island itinerary. The walk takes about 1.5 hours in total to complete depending on your speed and how long you spend looking at the glacier.Can you walk on Franz Josef Glacier without helicopter? ›
You cannot get on the glacier unless you do a guided heli-hike. The guided walks around the glacier will allow you to access private viewing points closer to the glaciers.How long is the Fox Glacier walk? ›
How long will it take? This is a 2.6km one-hour return walk. Drive south for 2km from Fox Glacier Weheka township, and turn left immediately before the Fox River bridge. From the car park at the end of the glacier access road, you will notice large mounds of moraine for the first 100 or so metres of the track.
Like nearby Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world, with a terminal face as low as 300 m above sea level, close to the village of Fox Glacier. It is a major tourist attraction and about 1000 people daily visit it during high tourist season.How do I get to Franz Joseph glacier? ›
Follow SH 73 from Christchurch through to Kumara Junction, turn left at Kumara Junction and follow SH 6 through to Franz Josef Glacier. The drive is very picturesque, a great opportunity to experience some of the most impressive landscapes in the region.
How Many Days Do You Need in Franz Josef? Generally, one day is enough. However, we recommend at least two or three days in Franz Josef to allow an extra day in case your helicopter tour is cancelled due to bad weather (which happens frequently).What should I wear to Franz Josef Glacier? ›
Dressing with this in mind will ensure you have a great time on the glacier. We recommend 3-4 upper layers such as a light shirt, long sleeve fleece, and a wind-breaker. Jeans are not recommended for our trips as they become very heavy, cold and uncomfortable to wear when wet. Track pants or long cotton pants are best.Can you walk inside a glacier? ›
A person should never walk on a glacier alone. The risk of slipping on the ice and sliding into an open crevasse, or of breaking through and falling into a hidden crevasse is too great.What is the most scenic drive in Glacier National Park? ›
Going-to-the-Sun Road is a highlight not to be missed during your Glacier visit. The Road spans 50 miles and crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. During your traverse you will see impressive glaciers, beautiful valleys, cascading waterfalls, towering mountains and colorful wildflowers.When should I avoid Glacier National Park? ›
In general, you'll want to steer clear of visiting during the winter season when there are fewer wildlife sightings and more limited accessibility (unless you're open to exploring on skis).What time of year is best to visit Glacier? ›
For most people, late June through mid-September is the best time to visit Glacier, because they want to drive the Going to the Sun Road, raft and fish the rivers, hike the trails, visit the backcountry Chalets, and explore several areas of the park, on both sides of the Continental Divide.What side of Glacier is best to stay? ›
The east side of Glacier National Park is generally drier, cooler and windier than the rest of the park. The base elevation is higher and the valleys are wider. That makes for some epic scenery and outstanding adventuring. Here are some of our favorite spots on the east side.Why is Franz Josef Glacier famous? ›
Franz Josef is the steepest and fastest moving glacier in New Zealand. The steep form of the glacier creates the perfect conditions for ice flow. One impressive Franz Josef glacier fact is that this glacier has been recorded as moving up to 4 metres per day.
Glaciers can be dangerous for several reasons - due to ice falling from the front or side of the glacier, because of the danger of falling into a crevasse when travelling on the glacier or because of other hazards such as sudden glacier floods or ice avalanches. Take care when near the glacier front or on the glacier.What is the easiest glacier to hike to in Glacier National Park? ›
Jackson Glacier is the easiest glacier to see in the park and it is the 7th largest.How cold is walking on glacier? ›
You can experience sun, rain and snow, all in the same trip. The temperatures in spring are around 4 °C (40 ℉) on the glacier, in summer they go up to 12 °C (54 ℉), autumn is similar to the spring season and in winter the temperature usually stays slightly below zero (32 ℉).Does it rain a lot in Franz Josef? ›
Franz Josef is one of the wetter regions of New Zealand, with slightly higher levels of rain expected all year round, with October in particular being the wettest month of the year.What animals live in Franz Josef Glacier? ›
Wildlife of Franz Josef Land
85% of the archipelago is covered in glaciers. Here you will find seals, harp being the most common, walrus (although their numbers reduced due to hunting they are now protected), polar bears and Arctic foxes.
Significantly smaller than the Fox Glacier, the Franz Josef Glacier is steeper and more susceptible to atmospheric conditions. As with Fox you can walk along the valley to the terminal face, or take a helicopter guided tour on the ice.What town is Franz Josef Glacier in? ›
Franz Josef (officially Franz Josef / Waiau) is a small town in the West Coast region of the South Island of New Zealand. Whataroa is 32 kilometres (20 mi) to the north-east, and the township of Fox Glacier is 23 kilometres (14 mi) to the south-west.Why is Fox Glacier closed? ›
The access road to the iconic destination of Fox Glacier/Te Moeka o Tuawe in South Westland will be closed for the indefinite future after an engineering report commissioned by DOC and the New Zealand Transport Agency found it was no longer practical to re-establish road access into the valley.Can you drive up to Fox Glacier? ›
By car. If you're driving, you can get to Fox Glacier Village on State Highway 6. Below are the average drive times from major destinations on the South Island.Can you touch Fox Glacier? ›
While you can't walk up and touch it with your hand by yourself, there are guides available to take you safely up and onto the glaciers. Find accommodation, food and activities in Franz Josef and Fox Glacier.
To see the glacier, you can head towards Lake Matheson on Cook Flat Road for magnificent views. You can arrange an ice-hiking adventure or booking a scenic flight. There are glow worm caves just a short walk from the town centre, which offers a good choice of cafes and restaurants.How much is skydiving at Fox Glacier? ›
Skydive, Kayak Tour & Accommodation Special For 2 People $499 Each. Take the jump with this 13,000ft skydive, 2 nights accommodation nestled amongst the Southern Alps close to Franz Josef Glacier and countless scenic spots & explore the West Coast's scenic Lake Mapourika via kayak!What is the rare ice dragon in glacier? ›
The Patagonian ice dragon lives on glaciers and is believed to have natural anti-freeze in its blood. This rare creature is endangered because its habitat is melting away.Can you visit Franz Josef Glacier? ›
The glacier is five kilometres from the town of the same name, and a 1.5 hour walk will take you to within 750m of its terminal face. If you want to actually make contact with the glacier, take a heli-hike or a guided ice walk. Aerial sightseeing is another option.How fast is Franz Josef Glacier moving? ›
Most glaciers move at an average speed of around 50 cm to one metre per day, Franz Josef Glacier has been known to move at up to 4 metres per day.How do I get to Franz Josef Land? ›
To reach Franz Josef Land requires you to fly to Longyearbyen – the most northern airport in the world that operates scheduled flights (quite the journey when travelling from Australia) and then sail for around two days before passing through a Russian checkpoint, after which you are finally ready to explore!How long is the heli hike at Franz Josef? ›
This world-renowned Glacier Heli Hike is not to be missed.
Your experience combines a short, exhilarating helicopter ride, jaw-dropping scenery and a two- and half-hour hike through the most spectacular glacier features.
Gillespies beach is a 40 minute drive away from Franz Josef, and very worth it! Definitely bring the sandfly repellent here, there are quite a few. You can have a stroll on the beach, enjoy the sunset or do one of the many walks around.Is the Fox Glacier Valley walk closed? ›
Walking the track
However, due to big landslides and the changing rate of melt and shape of Fox Glacier this track is closed indefinitely.
Lightweight hiking pants, track pants or long cotton pants are convenient and wear wind/waterproof pants over them. There is high UV and sunlight reflecting off on the glacier so we highly recommend using sunglasses and sunscreen even if it is cloudy.
If you ask me, the answer to this question is a big fat yes. A glacier hike in Iceland is truly worth it. If you love hiking in beautiful nature, a glacier hike will give you a whole new twist on that activity. I've been told by a guide that glacier hikes in Iceland are unique.How cold is the inside of a glacier? ›
Temperatures range from −0.03° C near the surface to −0.13° C at a depth of 105 m, with an estimated uncertainty of 0.02 or 0.03 deg. On the average the temperature is about 0.05 deg colder than the equilibrium temperature of ice and pure water.Can you swim in glacier water? ›
Swimming in Glacier is not the same experience as swimming in a heated pool in your backyard. Swimming in Glacier usually means lowering yourself in the water for only a few minutes. The water is very cold. Being submerged in cold water for a long time is uncomfortable and can be extremely dangerous.What is the best Glacier National Park map? ›
Glacier trail maps. If you want a single trail map that covers the entire park, the National Geographic Trails Illustrated map is probably your top choice. This is the best map for showing all of Glacier's trails, though it doesn't have mileages (so download the free backcountry trail map in the section below).Which Glacier National Park entrance is best? ›
West Glacier, Montana is the most popular entrance to Glacier National Park. Its proximity and easy access to Glacier International Airport in Kalispell makes it the best place to start or end your trip.How long is Franz Josef walk? ›
The Franz Josef Glacier walk is the best way to view the Franz Josef Glacier without paying for a tour. The walk to the glacier is an easy hike and is around 4 km (2.5 mi) return. The trail is considered a must-do on any South Island itinerary.What is the most photographed place in Glacier National Park? ›
Lake McDonald is one of the most famous photo spots in Glacier National Park, and it's for good reason. From the lake you can get gorgeous reflections, amazing sunrises and sunsets, and stunning mountain views.What is the easiest Glacier to get to at Glacier National Park? ›
Jackson Glacier is the easiest glacier to see in the park and it is the 7th largest.When should you avoid crowds in Glacier National Park? ›
The best time to visit Glacier National Park is late June to mid-September. All park lodges, visitor centers, campgrounds, roads, and hiking trails are open during the summer months. However, summer can be crowded. To avoid crowds, visit in early-to-mid September after Labor Day.Is it better to stay on the east or west side of Glacier National Park? ›
You'll also be near the Many Glacier area of the park. In fact, if you stay in West Glacier, it will take you over 2 hours one-way to get to Many Glacier! This makes staying on the east side of the park the best option if you are visiting the area solely for Glacier National Park.