Nothing more than a dot on the map in the West Coast region of the South Island of New Zealand, Franz Josef is nothing more than a little town in the middle of nowhere, built in reference to the Franz Josef Glacier that sits just 5 kilometers out from the town and the sole purpose behind this little way-stop of a town. Beyond the glacier itself is the Westland National Park, just twenty minutes out from Franz Josef by foot.
No matter where you go in New Zealand you are faced with epic natural beauty of all shapes and sizes. It doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of nowhere or in one of the major cities, you are surrounded by wonders of the Earth. Franz Josef is no different. While it might not be a major tourist destination, it is still a fairly significant stop along the way for nature enthusiasts, and while Franz Josef Glacier is without a doubt the major scene here, there are a variety of other sites within a short distance of Franz Josef, such as Fox Glacier or the aforementioned National Park.
The Franz Josef Glacier is arguably one of New Zealand’s most spectacular natural wonders, and attracts roughly a quarter of a million visitors every year, hiking along the 12 kilometer trek. Although it retreated several times in the early-mid 20th century, the glacier is advancing these days, and while you can take an unguided trip on your own, the best way to access it is to pay for a guided tour. In addition, helicopter rides are a great way to experience the beauty of the glacier, or you can take a plane flight over the mountains by light aircraft to Mount Cook Airport, quite possibly one of the most exhilarating and beautiful flights you will ever take. Either way, while it might be a small enough town on its own, Franz Josef has a lot to offer.
Fox Glacier is a small township located about 3 hours from Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. This area is called ¨Glacier Country¨ as there are 2 glaciers in c…