The West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island is dramatic and impressive. Most people visiting this region come to visit the magnificent Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers which are two of the most accessible yet magnificent glaciers in the world.


While most of the world’s glaciers are retreating, the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are still flowing, nearly to sea level, which means they are the easiest glaciers in the world for people to visit. The Fox glacier is 13 kilometres in length, starting at 2600 metres high in the Southern Alps, while the Franz Josef is 10 km long.

To explore both these breath-taking glaciers there are numerous hikes, heli-hikes or scenic helicopter tours of the glaciers to choose from. To complete your adventure, enjoy a bathe in the Franz Josef Glacier hot pools, in their beautiful rainforest setting.

As well as the glaciers, this region has some incredible rock formations. Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki in the Paparoa National Park is an incredible sight to see – where layers of limestone formed over 30 million years ago have created a pancake-like formation through which the sea bursts through vertical blow holes during high tide.

Bird-enthusiasts will love the seaside town of Okarito, about 25 minutes’ drive north of Franz Josef. Take a kayak tour in the sheltered waters of the Okarito lagoon and watch the numerous wading birds in their natural feeding ground.