Things to do

Unguided Walks & Hikes

There are about 30 different walking tracks in Glacier Country, from short scenic tracks to challenging multi-day hikes. Detailed below are some of the most popular hikes featuring glaciers, mountains, rainforests, lakes, beaches and more. Visit the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre and I-SITE in Franz Josef Glacier village for weather conditions, detailed hiking guides and personal locator beacons, or to learn more about the area.

The Alex Knob Track takes approximately eight hours return and climbs steadily through a variety of vegetation types with views of Franz Josef Glacier, the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. This track is for experienced and well-equipped trampers only.

Duration: 8 hr
Distance: 17.2 km return via same track
Intensity: Advanced: Tramping track
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Follow the Callery Gorge Walk as it climbs to a high terrace before descending to the Callery River.

Duration: 1 hr 20 min
Distance: 5.2 km return via same track
Intensity: Easy: Walking track
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A short climb with rewarding views of the glacier, mountains and river flats.

Duration: 1 hr - 1 hr 40
Distance: 3.2 km - 6.3 km return via same track
Intensity: Easiest: Short walk
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This popular tramp gives a glimpse of Westland’s spectacular forest, river and mountain scenery, with natural hot pools at Welcome Flat an added attraction.

Duration: 7 hr one way
Distance: 18 km one way
Intensity: Intermediate: Great Walk/Easier tramping track
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This short, easy forest walk passes by a reflective lake and crosses over glacial landforms – it’s suitable for children.

Duration: 1 hr
Distance: 3.9 km return via same track
Intensity: Easy: Walking track
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After walking for a few minutes, the first view of the glacier will appear. Follow the track down past the landslip zone – do not stop in this area.

Duration: 1 hr return
Distance: 2.6 km return via same track
Intensity: Easiest: Short walk
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Follow a rocky riverbed path, suitable for children, past a waterfall to Franz Josef Glacier viewing area.

Duration: 1 hr 30 min
Distance: 5.4 km return via same track
Intensity: Easy: Walking track
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A visit to Gillespies Beach offers a scenic drive, lovely views of the Southern Alps Kā Tiritiri o te Moana, an historic cemetery and coastal walks.

Duration: Various: 5 min - 3 hr 30 min return
Distance: Various: 270 m - 6.8 km
Intensity: Easy: Walking track / Advanced: Tramping track
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Lake Mapourika is famous for its reflections and stunning views and is a top spot for boating, fishing, kayaking, camping and swimming.

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A gentle walk leads to views of the mountains reflected on the still waters of Lake Matheson. It’s one of the most popular short walks in New Zealand. Fitness required: Suitable for all fitnesses
Gradient: Undulating

Duration: 1 hr 30 min
Distance: 2.6 km loop
Intensity: Easiest: Easy access short walk
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This short, easy walk leads through a lush rimu forest to the idyllic Lake Wombat – it’s a good option for children.

Duration: 1 hr 30 min
Distance: 3.8 km return via same track
Intensity: Easy: Walking track
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This delightful short walk near Fox Glacier village follows a stream through the rainforest – it’s a great introduction to the forest for children with the added bonus of glow worms at night. It’s suitable for wheelchairs and buggies.

Duration: 20 min
Distance: 1.2 km loop
Intensity: Easiest: Easy access short walk
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Explore old moraine surfaces on this easy, short walk, south of Fox Glacier township.

Duration: 30 min
Distance: 1.4 km return via same track
Intensity: Easiest: Short walk
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Mount Fox Route is just 3 km south of the town of Fox Glacier. The challenging climb to the top is only suitable for experienced and properly equipped trampers.

Duration: 8 hr
Distance: 7.4 km return via same track
Intensity: Expert: Route
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The Ōkārito Trig walk initially follows the Ōkārito Wetland Walk and Three Mile Track before branching off to the left after around ten to fifteen minutes walking. The walk winds gently uphill on a well-graded track, before reaching the Ōkārito Trig viewpoint.

Duration: 1 hr 30 min return
Distance: 4.2 km
Intensity:
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North of the Franz Josef Township sits the coastal settlement of Ōkārito and the Ōkārito Lagoon. The lagoon is home to more than 76 species of native birds including the kōtuku/white heron and royal spoonbills.

Duration: 20 min - 3 hr 30 min
Distance: 1 km - 9.8 km return via same track
Intensity: Easiest: Easy access short walk / Easy: Walking track
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Pakihi Walk climbs through kamahi and rimu forest to a platform lookout.

Duration: 30 min
Distance: 1 km return via same track
Intensity: Easiest: Short walk
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This lookout is a two minute walk from the car park on Cook Flat Road. Enjoy the picnic area and on a clear day use the plane table. It is mounted on a stone plinth and can be used to identify the peaks of the Southern Alps Kä Tiritiri o Te Moana.

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Enjoy the reflective views of the glacier valley and mountains on this short, easy walk to a small kettle lake – it’s a great option with children.

 

Duration: 25 min return
Distance: 1.1 km return via same track
Intensity: Easiest: Short walk
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Enjoy this pleasant short walk and get a great view of the glacier and the opportunity to cross a historic suspension bridge.

Duration: 40 min
Distance: 1.8 km return via same track
Intensity: Easy: Walking track
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The Roberts Point Track requires a good level of fitness. After walking one hour you will reach Hende’s Hut. From there the track continues to climb on to Roberts Point where the glacier views are spectacular.

Duration: 5 hr 20 min
Distance: 11 km - 12.3 km return via same track
Intensity: Advanced: Tramping track
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Enjoy impressive views of the glacier, the valley and Waiho River from the summit of this short steady climb.

Duration: 20 min
Distance: 900 m return via same track
Intensity: Easiest: Short walk
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The 80-minute walk follows an old 4WD road then the tracks climbs to the old water tunnels. You will need a torch and raincoat to explore the tunnels.

Duration: 1 hr 20 min
Distance: 3.6 km return via same track
Intensity: Easy: Walking track
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Walk or cycle through bush from Franz Josef township to the Franz Josef Glacier car park.

Duration: Walking and tramping 2 hr / Mountain biking 1 hr
Distance: 8.7 km return via same track
Intensity: Easy: Grade 2
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Walk or cycle through bush from Fox Glacier township to the Fox Glacier car park.

Duration: Walking and tramping 2 hr 20 min / Mountain biking 1 hr
Distance: 8.4 km return via same track
Intensity: Easy: Grade 2
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The walk provides a good introduction to the rainforest of the Glacier Region as well and an opportunity to see glow worms after dark – it’s a great option with children.

Duration: 30 min
Distance: 1.8 km return via same track
Intensity: Easiest: Short walk
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The Waitangitaona Wetland Walk is an easy walk through a regenerating kahikatea forest and flax wetland to a viewing platform with spectacular views of the Southern Alps, Kā Tiritiri o te Moana.

Duration:
Distance: 20 min
Intensity: Easiest: Easy access short walk
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