Franz Josef Things To Do

Franz Josef Tours

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Things to Do in Franz Josef

Nestled amidst the stunning landscapes of New Zealand's West Coast, Franz Josef is a charming village with a vibrant atmosphere. Despite having only a few hundred residents, this town is a hub of activity, offering visitors an array of activities and experiences to enjoy.


The lush rainforests that surround Franz Josef are truly incredible; with ancient trees towering overhead and a variety of exotic flora and fauna thriving beneath the canopy, these forests are a haven for nature lovers. Guided tours through these rainforests offer an opportunity to discover the diverse flora and fauna that call them home, such as the endangered kiwi bird, tui and kereru.


But that's not all - Franz Josef is also home to snow-capped alps, including the majestic Southern Alps. These towering peaks are a playground for adventure seekers, with our guided tours able to take you to some of the most breathtaking viewpoints in the region, where you can take in the awe-inspiring views and appreciate the natural beauty of the area.


For those looking to get up close and personal with the glaciers, there are numerous guided tours available that will take you on a journey of discovery through the icy wonderland. This Twin Glacier Scenic Flight departs Franz Josef or the Fox Glacier, making it the perfect chance to encounter both jaw-dropping glaciers and experience two very different glacial formations from the air! A snow landing will also take you face-to-face with the glacier itself! How ‘cool’ is that?


No matter what your interests may be, there is something for everyone in Franz Josef. So why not take a look at our range of tours and activities, and start planning your trip today? Whether you're a solo traveler or a family, we have something to suit every need and budget. Don't miss out on the opportunity to explore this incredible destination!


Top Franz Josef Nature Attractions

There are several ways for soaking in the natural attractions which include guided walks, kayaking and scenic flights while in Franz Josef.


We highly recommend this Lake Mapourika Cruise & Rainforest Walk where you can embark on a journey across Lake Mapourika and into the sheltered bays of the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary. Enjoy the views and wildlife from the boat - a purpose-built vessel with a covered cabin area as well as outdoor viewing platforms - then disembark on the far shore for your guided walk through the magical rainforest trail into the Kiwi Sanctuary! The track is designed to take you through another time with Jurassic rainforest and abundant birdlife.


Another top Franz Josef nature tour is this Franz Josef Classic Kayak Adventure with Walk Combo Upgrade. Cruise along a narrow estuary amidst the lush ancient rainforest of the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary. It's home to New Zealand's rarest Kiwi, the Rowi, with an estimated population of fewer than 500 birds. It's the only place you'll find this species and is exclusively accessed by kayak – so keep your eyes peeled!


Top Franz Josef Adventure Activities

While in Franz Josef, do not miss out on Franz Josef Sky Diving and experience the thrill of jumping out of a plane and free-falling through the sky at 200kph/120mph! Now picture doing this over New Zealand’s highest mountains, mirror lakes and the Franz Josef Glacier!


Another popular experience is a Franz Josef scenic flight. This Franz Josef Glacier Scenic Flight & Snow Landing gives you the chance to take in the region’s stunning scenery from above via helicopter, before experiencing the excitement of a snow landing! Alternatively, there’s this 35-minute Pilot's Choice Scenic Helicopter Flight. As one of our most popular experiences, journey alongside your experienced pilot who will choose which two glaciers will be the best to visit, given the conditions of the day. 


Relax and Recharge in Franz Josef

Looking for a slower-paced Franz Josef experience? Spend 3 hours on the water with your mates, and relax with and unwind as you watch the fishing lines with a cold drink and delicious BBQ  on this Franz Josef Wilderness - Fish, Cruise & BBQ experience. Or, there’s this Franz Josef Boat & SUP adventure.


Enjoy a fun, scenic boat ride across Lake Mapourika to the sheltered far side, which boasts calm waters and a picturesque glacier and mountain backdrop. Then, hop off the boat and onto your SUP, where you can enjoy the spectacular vistas of the Southern Alps and Glaciers. Your guide will provide you with some expert SUP instruction before you follow them along a narrow estuary through lush native rainforest and into the heart of Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary


Franz Josef Tours FAQs

What are the most popular things to do in Franz Josef with kids?


What are the top attractions in Franz Josef?

Located in the west coast region of New Zealand's South Island, it’s no secret that Franz Josef is famous for its glacier, which is one of the main attractions. Keep in mind these other, awesome attractions while visiting:


Glacier Hot Pools: Located in the heart of Franz Josef, the Glacier Hot Pools are the perfect place to relax after a long day of exploring. The hot pools are fed by natural spring water and are surrounded by rainforest. Check out this Blog Post written by one of our contributors for more info! 


Hiking: Franz Josef is located in a beautiful natural setting, and visitors can enjoy a range of hiking trails in the area. The most popular hikes are the Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike from Queenstown and the Lake Mapourika Cruise & Rainforest Walk.


Helicopter Tours: For those who want to get a bird's-eye view of the glacier and surrounding area, a helicopter tour is a must-do. There are several options available through our operators, so check them out today!


Kayaking: Visitors can take a guided kayak tour down the Waiho River, which is located near the glacier. It's a great way to see the area from a different perspective.


How long should you spend in Franz Josef?

How long you should spend in Franz Josef depends on what you want to do and how much time you have. If you plan to do all the activities mentioned above, you should plan to spend at least 2-3 days in the area.


Can you still walk on Franz Josef Glacier?

Yes, it is still possible to walk on the Franz Josef Glacier. However, due to changing weather conditions and the retreat of the glacier, the availability of walks can vary. It is recommended to check with the local visitor center or tour operators for up-to-date information.


What is the best time to visit Franz Josef Glacier?

Surprisingly, the best time to visit Franz Josef Glacier is during the summer months of December to February when the weather is warm and dry. However, this is also the busiest time of the year, and accommodation can be expensive. If you prefer quieter surroundings and don't mind colder weather, visiting during the shoulder seasons of March to May and September to November can be a good option.


What is the best way to see Franz Josef Glacier?

The best way to see Franz Josef Glacier is to take a guided tour. There are several tour operators in the town that offer different types of tours, such as walking tours, helicopter tours, and ice climbing tours.


Book your Franz Josef tour today!

If you're looking for an unforgettable adventure in New Zealand, make sure to add Franz Josef to your list.

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