17 Cron Street,
Franz Josef Glacier,
West Coast
Free Phone: 0800 757 111
Franz Josef Accommodation
Alpine Glacier Motel Franz Josef

Activities and Attractions in Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast

Franz Josef township is about 5 kms from Franz Josef Glacier, one of New Zealand's natural wonders and a sightseeing must. Only 10kms from the ocean on the unique west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Franz Josef town rests in cool green native bush at the foot of the towering Southern Alps.

A New Zealand World Heritage area, Westland National Park has some of New Zealand's highest peaks including the highest, Mt Cook (Aoraki). A unique and spectacularly scenic spot, Franz Josef is the perfect base for a myriad of adventure, entertainment and sightseeing attractions:

Local Activities and Attractions

  • Scenic Flights

    Glacier Helicopters

    Alpine Glacier Motels has an excellent working relationship with Glacier Helicopters and would be happy to give you details of their outstanding services. With many tour options including four flight routes and landing on high alpine snow fields, Glacier Helicopters offers a once in a life time experience.

    Air Safaris

    The Air Safaris team is dedicated to the highest safety standards with friendly, personal and professional service. There aim is to provide visitors of all ages and physical ability the opportunity to share with you an unforgettable experience amongst our highest peaks and largest glaciers, in comfort and safety and with no lasting effect on the environment. Truly a must do, a flight of a lifetime, Air Safaris provides a spectacular alpine experience in the Aoraki Mount Cook and Westland Tai Poutini World Heritage National Parks.
  • Activities in Nature

    Nature Tours

    Venture in to the unspoilt wilds of New Zealand native bush, discover Lake Matheson the “reflection lake”, explore former gold towns, jet boat the Waitangi-Taona river or design a custom, guided tour. A number of tour operators offer coach transport, guided walks and informative commentary about the flora and fauna of New Zealand.

    Nature Sanctuaries

    White Heron Sanctuary is located half an hour north of Franz Josef. Nestled in the Waitangi Roto Nature Reserve, the sanctuary is New Zealand’s only White Heron nesting site. The colony can be visited from October to early March every year. Take a jet boat cruise on the Okarito Lagoon and guided tour to this unique haven, stroll through the bush to a hide and view the birds.

    Horse Treks

    South Westland Horse Treks offer a variety of horse treks in the Franz Josef area including short farmland rides, riverbank and river swimming treks, a pub crawl and longer all day treks. Based just 20 minutes north of Franz Josef South Westland Horse Treks cater for all ages and abilities.


    Guided hunting tours for Chamois and Bull Thar, guided fishing tours for salmon and trout all operate out of Franz Josef. All hunting is seasonal.
  • Franz Josef Glacier Activities
    The Franz Josef Glacier is just over 5kms from the village of Franz Josef. Descending 2000m from the Southern Alps in to New Zealand native bush at 300m above sea level, the glacier journeys a total of 12kms. Over 7000 years old, Franz Josef Glacier is easily accessible; stunning views of the glacier may be gained by taking a 20 minute return walk from the glacier road car park. For a more upfront and personal view of some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, there are a number of options to consider, many of which feature experienced local guides:

    Glacier Walks

    Take a guided walk in to untouched alpine snow fields, discover deep blue ice caves or for the more experienced, adventure on to ice falls, enjoying some of the most stunning terrain in New Zealand. A range of highly experienced guides and tour operators work out of Franz Josef township to offer you the best of guided walks for all standards of fitness, ages and abilities. Alpine Glacier Motor Lodge recommends Fox Glacier Guiding, New Zealand’s oldest adventure tourism operation. The company offers half and full day glacier experiences, including eco tours, ice climbing, heli hikes, quality safety equipment and experienced guides.

    Scenic Flights and Guided Walks

    Combine a scenic helicopter or airplane flight with hiking and climbing, for the glacial experience of a lifetime. See the Alps from a birds eye view then descend to the slopes to hike through spectacular ice formations. Explore ice caves, learn from your professional guide, walk the glacier and don’t forget your camera! For all ages and abilities, a number of tour companies operate out of Franz Josef, providing many added extras such as warm clothes, sturdy equipment, glacier boots and rain wear.

    Ice Climbing

    For the adventurous at heart and those seeking to live outside their comfort zone, try ice climbing. Learning to ice or rock climb in a safe, natural environment can be a thrilling experience. Lessons are carried out by qualified guides out of Franz Josef town. Learn axe and crampon techniques on ice or visit an indoor rock climbing wall on wet days.
  • Water Activities
    The Whataroa river, Lake Mapourika (Flower of the Dawn) and Okarito Lagoon are all bodies of crystal clear water offering a myriad of opportunities to get in touch with mother nature. Natural habitats for New Zealand native birds, local fauna and flora, all are exceptional eco-friendly attractions for kayaking and boat cruises.

    Glacier Country Tours and Kayaks

    Alpine Glacier Motel recommends Glacier Country Tours and Kayaks for a paddle experience with a difference. View New Zealand rainforest, panoramic vistas of the Southern Alps and Glaciers and glide on restful waters. Half day trips, helihikes and paddle combinations are featured and quality guides and equipment mean Glacier Country Tours and kayaks are perfect for beginners, family groups or those seeking adventure and adrenaline.

    Okarito Boat Tours

    Quiet, eco-friendly cruising on the Okarito Lagoon preserves the serene environment that is a perfect habitat for a wide range of bird life in this pristine natural area. View White Herons, see estuaries in their natural, unpolluted condition framed by the stunning Southern Alps.
  • Restaurants and Local Entertainment
    For a friendly welcome, great cuisine, fine wines and good beers visit Franz Josef’s local restaurants, cafe and pub scene. Great nights out, wonderful lunches and good coffee to wake you up for a full day on the glacier:

    Snakebite Brewery

    Open from 7 am, Fantastic Coffee Breakfasts and Cabinet foods, baking fresh daily throughout the day. A Great place to dine with a vibrant casual dining environment and great food. A diverse menu with South east asian dishes and gourmet burgers to fresh baked pies and mash make this a great choice of dining. A large selection of boutique brewery beers including their own specially made Cuzzy Brew. Snakebite often have entertainers or background music and have a thriving open mic night on Wednesday nights which makes for an entertaining and enjoyable night out.

    The Alice May

    Old English pub atmosphere with affordable, quality family dining. For good, hot and hearty food and a great selection of beverages including Guinness and Kilkenny on tap, visit The Alice May. Relaxed and friendly, the Alice May offers an extensive pub menu.

    Full of Beans Cafe

    Open from 7:30am to catch those on the move early in need of a caffeine fix and or something to eat. Full of Beans cafe has a great range of coffee and tea available and you have the choice of a menu board or choose from a selection of delectable goodies in the cabinet like freshly made sandwiches, cakes and slices. A great place to stop in and take the weight of your feet.

    The Landing

    Relaxed indoor and al fresco dining offering friendly service, great New Zealand cuisine and fine wine. For café style dining, good coffee and a big welcome, visit The Landing.

    The Blue Ice Cafe

    Wonderful indoor and outdoor dinning with a superb A La Carte menu and award winning New Zealand wines or pop upstairs and enjoy a casual Gourmet Pizza and a local beer-something for the whole family.Give me the Sweet Chilli Calamari and a Blue Ice Salad with creamy blue Cheese and Port infused Pear and I'm the happiest man alive!!
  • Wet Weather Activities
    While there are plenty of things to do in Franz Josef when the weather is good, we are surrounded by wild rainforest and precipitous mountains and can get the odd bad weather day. Make the most of Alpine Glacier Motel's cosy atmosphere to relax with a book and a hot drink, or get out and enjoy all the other activities available to you in the wonder of New Zealand countryside:
    1. Walk to the terminal face of the glacier to get a close up look at the ice.
    2. Visit the amazing Glacier Hotpools. If you are gonna get wet it may as well be hot water.
    3. A walk on one of the many tracks available in the glacier valley.
    4. A guided glacier walk to Experience the ice underfoot.
    5. View the Flowing West Video at the Franz Visitor Centre.
    6. Enjoy a hot drink and snacks at one of the Village cafes.
    7. E-mail your friends and family from various sites in the Village.
    8. Explore the native rainforest.
    9. Walk the Minnehaha Track, an easy twenty minute rainforest walk close to the Fox Glacier Township.
    10. Drive out to Okarito and check out the amazing birdlife there.
    11. Hire a Kayak and explore the Okarito Lagoon.
    12. Go for a walk along the beach at Okarito or try one of three marked tracks in the area.
    13. Join in a Kayak trip exploring Lake Mapourika.
    14. Experience the unique White Heron Sanctuary Tour to the Waitangiroto and Waitangitaona rivers to the nesting site of the Kotuku between October and late February.
    15. Explore the country side, with South Westland Horse Treks.
    16. Go fishing either on your own or with a guides tour with South Westland Fishing adventures.The fish don't mind if its raining.
    17. Wander around the Fox &/or Franz Josef Glacier Village and browse through the shops.
    18. Check out the Display Gallery at the Visitor Centre.
    19. Do some sports climbing the wall or play squash at the community centre in Franz Josef.
    20. Buy some postcards and write to your friends.
    21. Plan what you will do when the sun comes out!!
    22. Take out a as many dvd's as you like from our extensive dvd library available from the office and have a lovely blobby day relaxing.Amazing how many people forget to take time out to relax when on holiday.

Alpine Glacier Motel Franz Josef

17 Cron Street
, Franz Josef Glacier
, West Coast

Free Phone: 0800 757 111

Accommodation Franz Josef
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