A Glacial Adventure: 4 Days at Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier, nestled in the heart of New Zealand’s West Coast, offers an icy wonderland ripe for exploration. This four-day itinerary combines breathtaking glacier activities with luxury accommodations and culinary delights, ensuring an unforgettable adventure.

Day 1: Arrival and Village Exploration

Accommodation: Begin your adventure at the Te Waonui Forest Retreat, a luxury hotel that blends seamlessly into the natural surroundings. With its focus on sustainability and comfort, it’s the perfect base for your glacial exploration.

Activity: Spend your first day acquainting yourself with the Franz Josef Village. Visit the West Coast Wildlife Centre to learn about the unique wildlife of the region, including the rare Rowi kiwi. This introduction provides a deeper understanding of the area’s ecological significance.

Dining: Enjoy your first meal at King Tiger Eastern Eating House & Bar, offering a fusion of flavors from across Asia in a cozy setting. It’s a warm welcome to the culinary diversity of Franz Josef.

Day 2: Glacier Heli-Hike

Activity: The highlight of any visit to Franz Josef is a Glacier Heli-Hike. Board a helicopter for a scenic flight that offers aerial views of the glacier and surrounding peaks. Then, equipped with ice axes and crampons, follow your guide on a hike across the glacier’s surface. This experience combines the thrill of a helicopter flight with the surreal beauty of walking on ice, allowing you to explore ice caves, crevasses, and the unique blue ice formations up close.

Dining: After your icy adventure, warm up at The Landing Bar & Restaurant, where you can enjoy hearty New Zealand cuisine with a view of the mountains that you explored earlier in the day.

Day 3: Kayaking and Relaxation

Activity (Morning): Embark on a kayaking tour on Lake Mapourika, located just outside Franz Josef. This serene lake, created by glacial meltwater, offers stunning reflections of the Southern Alps. The kayaking experience is both peaceful and invigorating, allowing you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the landscape.

Activity (Afternoon): Dedicate your afternoon to relaxation at the Glacier Hot Pools. Nestled in a lush rainforest, these natural hot pools are the perfect way to soothe your muscles after the previous day’s adventures. The serene environment and geothermal warmth offer a unique opportunity to relax amidst nature.

Dining: Dine at Monsoon Restaurant & Bar for an evening of contemporary cuisine that showcases local produce and wild game. The restaurant’s ambiance reflects the rugged beauty of the West Coast, providing a cozy retreat.

Day 4: Scenic Flight and Departure

Activity: Before your departure, take a scenic flight over Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and the Southern Alps, including a breathtaking view of Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. This flight gives you a bird’s-eye view of the landscapes you’ve been exploring, offering a new perspective on their grandeur and the forces of nature that have shaped them.

Dining: Grab a casual breakfast or brunch at Full of Beans, a local café known for its friendly atmosphere and delicious coffee. It’s a perfect spot to reflect on your adventures before heading home.

Why Franz Josef Glacier?

Franz Josef Glacier offers a unique blend of adventure and relaxation set against the stunning backdrop of New Zealand’s rugged West Coast. The activities here are not just about the thrill of exploration but also about connecting with the natural world in a profound and unforgettable way. Heli-hiking on the glacier provides an unparalleled adventure, offering access to a dynamic and otherworldly landscape that few get to experience. Kayaking on Lake Mapourika immerses you in the peaceful beauty of the region, while the scenic flight offers awe-inspiring views that put the scale and beauty of the Southern Alps into perspective.