Discover Franz Josef

Most people travelling to Franz Josef come to visit the iconic glaciers and are unaware there are a lot of other things to do, see and experience.

All activities in Franz Josef are weather-dependent and people booked for activities pay only when they go. It is advisable to pre-book your activities to ensure your place as most activities are restricted by numbers.

Alex is more than happy to book your activities or to assist you in developing an itinerary for your visit to ensure that you experience Franz Josef at its best.


It is not until you place your footprints onto a high alpine snow field, journey deep into the towering rainforests, explore the blue ice caves of the glaciers, tackle a trout on a beautiful lake or jetboat up a glacial river, that you will truly experience Glacier Country.

Here, we have included details of many activities and attractions on offer in Glacier Country.

Walks and Exploration

The Department of Conservation welcomes you to the Franz Josef Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere and Fox Te Moeka o Tuawe Glaciers within the Westland Tai Poutini National Park and Te Wahipounamu South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. Spectacular scenery and a fascinating cultural heritage combine in this area to offer you exciting and interesting recreational opportunities. The DOC Visitor Centre at Franz Josef is a great starting point to get your bearings. The Visitor Centre offers interesting displays and detailed information about the Glaciers and Westland Tai Poutini National Park. The centre screens an excellent video about the area. Up-to-date weather forecasts and track conditions are provided daily and make sure you ask about the recreational opportunities in the area. Hut tickets and hunting permits are available as well as a range of conservation gifts and essential outdoor equipment.

New Glacier Base building

Directly opposite 58 On Cron Motel, we have the new Glacier Base building which is also the reception for the Glacier Hot Pools and Franz Josef Glacier Guides.

Glacier Hot Pools

Just across from us. nestled in lush rainforest, the Glacier Hot Pools provide a haven of natural tranquility. The pools — of varying temperatures — are the perfect way for visitors to unwind and experience a blissful state of pure relaxation after travelling along Te Tai o Poutini (The West Coast) or enjoying one of its many attractions. (Ask at Reception to borrow towels to bring along to the pools so you don’t have to rent one. Also $2 coins to rent lockers.)

Across Country Quad Bikes Franz Josef

Imagine following ancient glacial pathways carved into the landscape by ice and water and the thrill of driving these fun, 2-seater ATV quad bikes through this wild place. You will be amazed at what is around every twist and turn as you are guided through rainforests, riverbeds, grasslands, sand and mud. Feel the thrill of fresh air in your face and the excitement of riding ATV quads.

Heli Hike – Franz Josef Glacier Guides

Located just across Cron Street from us. Take a tour with Heli Hike – Franz Josef Glacier Guides and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and with plenty of photo opportunities and the chance to learn more about this magnificent glacier. This will almost certainly be one of your most memorable experiences whilst in New Zealand.

The most incredible guided glacier experience includes: awesome scenic helicopter flight with experienced, professional pilots, 2-hour glacier walk (allow 3 hours) to experience ice caves, seracs, pinnacles, pristine alpine environment, extraordinary ice flow colours – above and up close with skillful guides from Franz Josef Glacier Guides. Average fitness required.

Fox & Franz Heliservices

In operation since the early 1980’s, Alpine Adventures – home to Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Heliservices, Tekapo Helicopters and Kaikoura Helicopters – is an experienced helicopter flight-seeing company providing visitors with a diverse range of South Island scenic helicopter flights and private charters in some of most spectacular alpine and coastal regions of New Zealand.

The only 100% locally owned and operated helicopter company licensed to land at all designated landing sites within the Westland National Park, Alpine Adventures provides a selection of highly popular Fox & Franz Josef Glacier scenic flights that include a snow landing on a glacier – all year round!

The Helicopter Line

The Helicopter Line is New Zealand’s leading helicopter operating company. Formed in 1986 when 3 separate helicopter companies combined, The Helicopter Line has grown to become the largest Kiwi-owned Helicopter Company in New Zealand and the largest provider of scenic flights in the country.

The Helicopter Line fleet consists predominantly of AS350 Squirrels. They are perfectly suited to scenic flights, with the open plan cabin allowing for excellent views from all seats.

Glacier Helicopters

Glacier Helicopters is a trusted and professional helicopter company, providing a number of aviation services within the West Coast region of the South Island, New Zealand.

All of our staff are focused on providing the best client experience in a safe and enjoyable manner. They have a unique knowledge and understanding of the local operating environment and share a passion for showcasing this stunning landscape to clients.

Mountain Helicopters

Mountain Helicopters is a small private company offering value based fares. We fly from both Fox Glacier and Franz Josef.

Our emphasis is on personal service, catering to the needs of small groups, families and individuals.

White Heron Sanctuary Tours

White Heron Sanctuary Tours departs from Whataroa and consists of a short minibus ride to connect with the jet-boat for a gentle 20 minute scenic cruise into the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve (the only way to access this area is by boat). In the reserve you will disembark from the boat for a short walk through ancient Kahikatea rainforest to the purpose- built viewing hide to observe the magnificent White Heron (Kotuku) in their natural nesting environment. The Royal Spoonbill and the Little Shag also share this special area and all can easily be observed from the hide.

Skydive Franz

Skydive Franz is New Zealand’s most scenic skydive. It was founded back in 2010 by Craig Clark, James Meldrum and Alex Miller – three Kiwi guys with a passion for the West Coast and also enthusiastic aviators. The growth of the business has been rapid as the word of mouth reputation for excellent service, incredible scenery and an outstanding safety culture has spread around the globe. Skydive Franz offers skydiving from 12,000 feet, 15,000 feet and 18,000 feet.

South Westland Horse Treks

Experience the beauty of New Zealand and Franz Josef Glacier Country on horseback, just like in days of yore! South Westland Horse Treks offers horse riding in paradise with a stunning backdrop of mountain ranges and rainforest. Soak up the magnificent views of the Southern Alps and the spectacular glacier, as you trek over lush farmland, glacial moraine and riverbed.

Te Koha Gallery

Te Koha Gallery is a unique Maori and local gallery. 100% NZ jade carved on site by master carver Adam White. Our jade comes from our NZ South Island West Coast, and we are one of the rare carving studios that carve only NZ jade.

We source our jade from old timers who were lucky enough to hold mining licenses to mine jade prior to the vesting act in 1997. We also have traditional or contemporary Maori art.

Glacier Country kayaks

Welcome to Glacier Country Kayaks. Now you can experience Franz Josef’s unique landscape up close from the dramatic Southern Alps to the Westland’s protected wetlands and rugged coastline.

Enjoy unbeatable panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers reflected upon Lake Mapourika’s mirror-like water. You’ll also get up close and personal with some of Westland’s oldest, untouched rainforest as we paddle our way through the protected habitat of the elusive kiwi.

Air Safaris Scenic Flights

Air Safaris Scenic Flights is a great way to view the glaciers. Choose from fixed wing and helicopter flights, some with a snow landing on the glacier neve.

Radfords Lakeview Motel

Offering lake and mountain views from every room, Radfords Lakeview Motel is located across the road from Lake Te Anau.

Radfords is your base to Fiordland activities, Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound and other great Fiordland experiences.

The team is passionate about conservation and are involved with local conservation projects through the Fiordland Conservation Trust.

The Moorings

The Moorings, Lake Wanaka offers stylish quality self-catering motel and apartment accommodation for the discerning traveller. Our Qualmark rating is 4 Star Plus.

Whether travelling on your own, as a couple, or with friends and family, The Moorings offers space and comfort for all.

Waiatoto River Safari

Waiatoto River Safari. Ocean to the Mountains.

2.25 hours of extraordinary nature and exceptional beauty on this trip.

Experience the history of Gondwana land, smell the rainforest as you walk softly through the dripping ferns with the sparkling clear light shimmering with the snowy peaks as your backdrop.

West Coast Travel Centre

Greymouth i-SITE – West Coast Travel Centre is your one-stop shop for all your accommodation and travel advice and bookings for the West Coast of the South Island and around New Zealand.

Travel to the West Coast on one of the world’s leading scenic train journeys, the Tranz Alpine Train and enter a world surrounded by bush-clad mountains, raging rivers, pristine lakes and ice-fed glaciers.

New Zealand Travel Organiser

New Zealand Travel Organiser Ltd is Kiwi-owned and operated and is a member of the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand (TIA). With a qualified background in tourism and management plus thirty years of business expertise we can’t wait to book your New Zealand holiday and travel needs!