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Experience the enticing thrills of Franz Josef Glacier
There’s a tour available for anyone at the stunning Franz Josef Glacier. When you’re booking an adventure tour of the West Coast, make sure to leave some room for this fantastic World Heritage marvel.
Though our planet's glacial activity has all but vanished into a distant geological memory, there are still relics of this fascinating time remaining today. One such relic is the awe-inspiring glacier on the South Island's West Coast, Franz Josef. Situated near the heart of the West Coast, the Franz Josef glacier is, in some parts, hundreds of metres deep and has existed for around 7,000 years. Nowadays, however, it is a World Heritage Area and can be easily accessed on foot for some once-in-a-lifetime hiking holidays!
What to do at Franz Josef
The ultimate way to see the Franz Josef glacier is by the power of your own two feet. Before you drive to the region, make sure you've booked a guided tour using Franz Josef Glacier Guides. They have a range of tour types available and their guides are professional, highly trained and possess expert knowledge of the region.
If you're looking for a unique walk, consider the Ice Explorer Tour. A short helicopter flight takes you to an area of the glacier called the Pinnacles, at around 600 metres above sea level, which is where you begin your descent into this fantastic blue and white maze. Over the course of around three hours your guide will assist you in traversing the fascinating landscape of Franz Josef, all the while explaining its geological history and how it changes. The tour ends with a dip in a relaxing Glacier Hot Pool – the perfect way to unwind after a trip on the ice. A Heli-hike is a shorter version of this adventure, perfect for those wanting a short introduction to this magical world of ice.
Beginner hikers can take the Glacier Valley Walk which follows the glacier's path of retreat, though experts and daredevils should book into the Heli Ice Climb instead to experience the thrills (and chills) of ice climbing!