The small but lively Franz Josef Waiau village is surrounded by lush rainforest with the high snow-capped Alps above.
Within a short distance of the village are a number of options for taking in the natural attractions including a cycleway, walks of varying length, guided walks, kayaking, and action adventures like rafting or skydiving. You can take a visit to the white heron colony or the world’s rarest kiwi.
Ten minutes’ drive north of the Franz Josef village on State Highway 6 is the beautiful Lake Mapourika, a great place for fishing, birdwatching and kayaking.
Ōkārito Lagoon New Zealand’s largest estuarine lagoon is a 20-minute drive north. It is well known for its walks and coastal birdlife, including the white heron (kōtuku).
For a taste of gold mining history visit the Ōkārito settlement and explore its historic survivors.
Or take the Tatare Tunnels Walk—you’ll get a view of the Tatare Gorge and the option of venturing into the tunnels.
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Franz Josef Glacier is just five kilometres from the village. From the glacier car park it’s a 45-minute walk to the public glacier viewing point.