New Zealand Glacier Country West Coast, South Island

Wake Up to Glacier Country NZ

A must-see on your South Island New Zealand trip

From the mountains to the sea, you won’t want to miss any of it. Active adventure, relaxation or family fun all against the backdrop of spectacular scenery, New Zealand’s Glacier Country offers something for everyone.

Create your own unforgettable Glacier Country experience from the wealth of things to do in Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, Okarito and the surrounding area.



  • The heart of Glacier Country, the Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier. The most accessible rivers of ice in the world, plunging down through rainforest almost to sea level.
  • Lake Matheson’s mirror reflections of the Southern Alps/ Kā Tiritiri o te Moana, including New Zealand’s highest peaks, Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman/Rarakiroa
  • The small seaside  village of Ōkārito with its great views, rich lagoon, magnificent birdlife and historic West Coast buildings.

… and so much more in the beautiful wetlands, beaches, grasslands, lakes, mountains and forests of Westland Tai Poutini National Park and the northern part of the UNESCO World Heritage Area, Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand.

This site is your Glacier Country visitor guide for:
What to see and do
Walks, tracks & tramps
Local history
Places to eat, drink and shop
Local services
Helpful visitor information and maps

Where we are
Glacier Country is on the West Coast of the South Island and is a 3.5-hour drive from Wanaka and a 5.5-hour drive from Christchurch.

Getting here
You can self-drive or come by bus, coach or bike. If you are self-driving take it slow and enjoy the ride with all its amazing scenery, contrasts and atmosphere.

Come soon and explore the offerings of stunning Glacier Country New Zealand.
Enjoy it in a relaxed way or be as fully active as you choose. With a great range of accommodation from backpackers to hotels, and eating and drinking options from cafés and bars to fine dining, plus friendly local hospitality – it’s a winning mix for your travel planning.

For more information

Our contact email is  You can also visit Westland Tai Poutini National Park DOC Visitor Centre or Franz Josef i-SITE in Franz Josef village.




Latest blog posts

NZ's Rowi Kiwi the Highlight at the West Coast Wildlife Centre, Franz Josef

Dusty, NZ’s most endangered kiwi, richard benton - Dusty, NZ Geographic featured on the cover of last month’s edition of New Zealand Geographic. The rowi kiwi, found only in the forest near Okarito, South Westland, is the most endangered of the five kiwi species, with only  450 approx left.  The article provides a great insight into the life of a rowi,  and the expanse that amazing people will go to keep these little guys alive.  The team at Department of Conservation, in combination with the West Coast Wildlife Centre, both in Franz Josef, keep the rowi numbers slowly increasing with all the hard work they do.</p>
You can see the rowi Kiwi, as well as the Haast Tokoeka (another of the five kiwi species)  at the West Coast Wildlife Centre.  They have a full nocturnal house, as well as incubation facilities to hatch the kiwi eggs.  You can take a tour of the nocturnal house, or pay a bit extra to see both.  It’s well worth the tour, which also features information on how the Glaciers are formed, West coast History and information.

For the full NZ Geographic article see
For more info about the West Coast Wildlife Centre see or

or to make donation to the Kiwi for Kiwis Trust

Photo: Grant Maslowski, NZ Geographic

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