Franz Josef – Destination Guide
The spectacular Franz Josef Glacier is one of New Zealand’s must see sights, and our tours visit it for two nights.
Together with the Fox Glacier to the south, it is unique as it drops all the way from the peaks of the Southern Alps to just 300 metres above sea level, where it ends among the greenery and lushness of a temperate rainforest. According to Maori legend Franz Josef was created by a young woman called Hinehukatere who wanted to share her passion for climbing in the mountains with her lover Wawe. Sadly he wasn’t as good a climber as Hinehukatere and slipped to his death. The legend goes that Hinehukatere cried so much that as her tears froze they formed the glacier.
On our Franz Josef Freedom Day you may wish to try some of the following:
Sights and Experiences
The natural wonder of the Franz Josef Glacier can be seen up close on a guided walk, which will see visitors given the chance to walk across sections of the huge icy monolith.
On a clear day it’s possible to get an alternative view of the glacier from above. Helicopter rides are available to take you up and away to take in the sheer scale of the glacier and you’ll also get majestic views of the South Island’s west coast.
Visit the hot baths
After a walk on the glacier you may wish to warm up by visiting the Glacier Hot Pools spa. The pools offer a haven of natural tranquillity and are a great way to unwind. You can also get a spa treatment here, perhaps a foot rub to help you recover from exploring the glacier.
Wining and Dining
Franz Josef Glacier Hotel
Again, our hotel offers fantastic food which means you can take it easy and not have to worry about venturing out after a day of being active. The Canavans and Glasshouse Restaurants provide hearty West Coast food, while the Moa Bar provides the perfect place to unwind, next to a roaring fire, or on the balcony enjoying stunning West Coast weather.
Blue Ice Café
The Blue Ice Café has a relaxing atmosphere and offers an intimate, high quality a la carte dining experience with an extensive wine list and quality fresh NZ produce. It also has a huge Pizza menu, which is available in the bar area.
88 Asian Fusion
This restaurant is a relatively new addition to the Franz Josef dining scene but it’s making waves with its mixture of Asian and traditional dishes. The restaurant is brightly decorated with retro 1950s style furniture.