Franz Josef

Franz Josef is the name of both the glacier and the nearby village. The small but lively Franz Josef Waiau village is surrounded by lush rainforest with the high snow-capped Alps rising above it.

There are many ways to take in the natural attractions within a short distance of the village. Your options include a cycleway, walks of varying lengths, guided walks, kayaking, and action adventures like rafting or skydiving. You can also visit the white heron colony or see the world’s rarest kiwi.

A short distance from neighbouring Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier is one of the steepest glaciers in New Zealand. It descends from its origins high in the Southern Alps deep into the lush native rainforest of Westland’s National Park.

The glacier moves faster than your average glacier so no two days are the same. The main ice fall moves an average of 50cm per day, but steep sections can move as much as 10 metres in a single day. This creates some truly incredible features in the glacier such as ice caves, tunnels, seracs and crevasses; and all features are constantly changing and evolving.