Explore our regions
Franz Josef Glacier & Lake Mapourika
Franz Josef Glacier area has some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. Just six kilometres from the centre of the village, Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere descends from the tops of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana into rainforest close to sea level. This provides a very rare opportunity to experience a dynamic glacier in a temperate environment, within easy driving and walking distance from the main highway.
Franz Josef is the name of both the glacier and the nearby village, though the Maori names are different. The small but lively Franz Josef Waiau village is surrounded by lush rainforest with the high snow-capped Alps above.
Within a short distance of the village are a number of options for taking in the natural attractions including a cycleway, walks of varying length, guided walks, kayaking, and action adventures like rafting or skydiving. You can take a visit to the white heron colony or the world’s rarest kiwi.
Ten minutes’ drive north of the Franz Josef village on State Highway 6 is the beautiful Lake Mapourika, a great place for fishing, birdwatching and kayaking.
Ōkārito Lagoon New Zealand’s largest estuarine lagoon is a 20-minute drive north. It is well known for its walks and coastal birdlife, including the white heron (kōtuku).
For a taste of gold mining history visit the Ōkārito settlement and explore its historic survivors. Or take the Tatare Tunnels Walk—you’ll get a view of the Tatare Gorge and the option of venturing into the tunnels.
Franz Josef village is on State Highway 6 and is 2 hours by car from Hokitika, 5.75 hours from Wanaka and 25 minutes from Fox Glacier village.
Franz Josef Glacier is just five kilometres from the village. From the glacier car park it’s a 45-minute walk to the public glacier viewing point.