Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier



Fox Glacier

Outline of New Zealand with the west coast highlighted.

The best of Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier Events

Feb. 22, 2020

South Westland (Whataroa) A&P show

The Westland A&P Association is a committee of dedicated volunteers who organise and run the ...

Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are among the most accessible glaciers in the world.

Glacier Country offers a wealth of adventure activities:

  • Take a guided glacier hike,
  • ride a quad bike,
  • fly in a helicopter or sightseeing plane,
  • do a tandem sky dive.

Wildlife attractions include the kiwi breeding programme in Franz Josef, the White Heron Sanctuary in Whataroa and kiwi in the wild at Okarito.

After your busy day, soak in lovely hot pools.

Lake Matheson near Fox Glacier provides stunning reflections and views of Aoraki/Mt Cook.

Travel between Franz Josef and Fox Glacier after severe weather

Following torrential rain on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 March, the Waiho River Bridge south of Franz Josef was washed away. The bridge is currently being rebuilt with an opening in mid-April.

Most tourism operators are back to business-as-usual, however vehicles are not able to travel south past Franz Josef or north from Fox Glacier at this stage.

Glacier Country is:

  • Whataroa,
  • Okarito,
  • Lake Mapourika,
  • Franz Josef Glacier,
  • Fox Glacier,
  • Lake Matheson,
  • Gillespies Beach.

Getting to Franz Josef and Fox Glacier

Find out time and distance from Glacier Country to other locations:

Weather in Franz Josef and Fox Glacier

Great places to visit in Glacier Country


Whataroa is the gateway to South Westland and the best place to see the rare native White Heron (Kotuku).

You can visit the nearby Waitangiroto Sanctuary on a guided tour and there is also an excellent 10-minute walk here with informative panels that tell you about native wetlands.


Okarito is situated on a sand spit dividing New Zealand’s largest wetland and the Tasman Sea.

It is an ecological gem with over 70 species of birds recorded here and a popular whitebaiting spot in season.

To see the variety of birdlife, hire a kayak or take a guided kayak or Okarito boat tour on the Okarito lagoon.

There is also the easy 20 minute Wetland Walk which starts at the Old School House and crosses the estuary on a curving boardwalk.

The Department of Conservation's Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary is located here and you can take an evening tour to see the kiwi in the wild.

There are historical records and photos on Okarito’s gold mining history in the harbour masters Wharf Shed and the historic Donovan's Store has been lovingly refurbished by the locals.