🚗 self-drive itinerary
🛏️ minimum 2 night stay recommended
🍽️ dining suggestions offered
📅 visit any time of year
New Zealand's Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are among the most accessible glaciers in the world. Further south a visit to Haast reveals lost world that's so spectacular and remote UNESCO designated it a World Heritage area.
Highlights can include:
- a stunning 50 minute scenic flight with Air Safaris over the vast snowfields and dramatic icefalls of the Fox & Franz Josef on a trip called the Grand Traverse 🛩️🏔️
- renowned for great vistas of beaches and forest Bruce Bay or Mahitahi is a photogenic spot to break up a drive on your journey through this region 📸
- From Swamp Forest to windswept sand dunes Ship Creek Lookout will give you give a real taste of the wild West Coast 📸
- picturesque Lake Mapourika often offers mirror lake reflections - perfect for a kayak experience or boat cruise 📸🛶🛥️
- take a quiet drive through rainforest to stunning Gillespies Beach, a wild stretch of coastline strewn with river-borne rocks 🌊
- Franz Josef Glacier is the steepest glacier in New Zealand, and moves faster than others creating some truly incredible features such as ice caves, tunnels and crevasses - take the opportunity to heli-hike or heli-ice-climb ❄️⛏️🚁
- get wild and remote with the Waiatoto River Safari on an incredible jet boat cruise where you experience both the alps and the ocean in one journey 🛥️
- immerse yourself in nature at the Glacier Hot Pools - nestled in lush rainforest the pools are the perfect way to unwind and experience a blissful state of pure relaxation ♨️
- the splendid isolation of Jackson Bay offers spectacular views of the ocean and the Southern Alps and boasts more resident seals and penguins than people 🌊
- appreciate the vast scale and grandeur of both glaciers on a Scenic Heliflight where you can easily encounter both glaciers along with jaw-dropping scenery 🚁
- combine awesome scenery with adventure through rain forest tracks, river and grassland areas complete with a glacial backdrop with Across Country Quad Bikes
- allow plenty of time to journey over Haast Pass taking time to see towering Thunder Creek Falls, pretty Fantail Falls and through the humbling Gates of Haast 📸
- heli-hiking and heli-ice-climb opportunities are on offer at Fox Glacier, the longest glacier on the West Coast that caters to a wider range of fitness abilities because of its more gradual gradient ❄️⛏️🚁
- enjoy magnificent photo opportunities along the Monro Beach Track an easy walk through coastal forest where you may be lucky enough to encounter penguins in the surf and on the beach 🌊
- satisfy your curiosity about earthquakes when you discover significant the Gaunt Creek exposure site on an Alpine Fault Tour - where geology meets ecology ⛰️
- bound by ocean, estuary, sea cliffs, lush forest and unsurpassed views of the Southern Alps, Okarito Lagoon is the perfect setting for a kayak experience or boat cruise 🛶🛥️
- a gentle walk leads to views of the mountains reflected on the still waters of Lake Matheson, a favourite for photographers and instagrammers especially on a sunny day 📸👟
- follow an old 4WD road then tracks that climb to old water tunnels on the Tatare Tunnels Walk - remember a torch and a raincoat to get the most out of exploring the tunnels 👟🔦
- if you’re going to skydive only once, fall up to 16,500 feet above the amazing subtropical rainforests, rivers, lakes, the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s highest mountains, and the glaciers here with Skydive Fox 🛩️
- view the magnificent Kotuku and other bird life all in their natural environment from October through February with White Heron Sanctuary Tours 🐦
AT A GLANCE
📍 # of Visitors 5.5
🌦️ Chance of Rain4.5
👨👩👦👦 Family Fun3.0
🍽️ Food + Wine 7.5
🏳️🌈 LGBTQI+ friendly 👍
Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0
🎥video courtesy of West Coast, New Zealand on YouTube
Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.
Day 1 : Arrive in Glacier Country
You'll travel to the region, either by car or coach. Upon arrival into the Glacier Country region you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.
Take the opportunity to walk the incredibly scenic Lake Matheson Walk and hopefully the weather will be right for a few memorable photos. The gift shop here is great too, and the café is always a treat and a highlight of any visit too.
Day 2 : giant rivers of ice
The amazing glaciers for Franz Josef and Fox are the major reason for visitors to pass through this region, and for good reason. Both offer a similar experience, but I'll be happy to direct you to the option that best suits your abilities.
After an exciting flight over rugged terrain, you will land on the glacier to begin your guided hike. Your guide, with an eye for the most spectacular ice formations, will lead you through some of the most awe-inspiring glacier scenery New Zealand has to offer. It's hard to put into words the amazing formations you'll see, and it is a forever changing environment, so don't be surprised if your guide is just as thrilled as you are at times.
Once your icy experience is over, an awesome way to heat up and relax those hard working joints is at the Glacier Hot Pools. These pools are nestled in rainforest and the perfect way to relax the rest of your day away.
As always, we'll arrange dinner for you to delight in and celebrate your last night in this region at one of our favourite restaurants in the area.
Day 3 : Depart Glacier Country
On your way out of the region, I highly recommend taking time to take in the views at places like Lake Mapourika and Bruce Bay. Waiatoto River Safari offers a incredible opportunity to explore more of the region, from the ocean right through the rainforests to the Southern Alps. Make sure you take your time travelling via Haast Pass too, as the driving is wonderfully scenic, and the stops like Thunder Creek Falls are worth the delay before continuing on to your next New Zealand adventure, wherever you want that to be.