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Franz Josef Activities & Attractions

Hike to the Franz Josef Glacier Terminal Face

Walk through a breathtaking Franz Josef Glacier Valley to a viewpoint before the Franz Josef terminal face. The 30 min return walk features the beautiful Trident Falls. Enrich your experience further by taking a 3-hour guided hike through the valley with Glacier Valley Eco Tour or Franz Josef Glacier Guides.

Location: Glacier Access Road, 5km from Franz Josef just south of the Waiho River Bridge.

a large mountain in the background

Visit Okarito Lagoon

One of the most important eco-systems in New Zealand, the Okarito Lagoon is a nature lover’s dream. See rare wildlife like the white heron and royal spoonbill on the shores of the Okarito Lagoon and along the Okarito walking trails. Choose either the Okarito Trig Walk (1h30mins return) for spectacular views of the lagoon and glaciers or enjoy the coastal views and wildlife along the Okarito Coastal Walk (3h30mins return). Find out more about these walks and others in the area with our 10 Best Walks in Franz Josef.

Location: The Strand, Okarito. 27km southwest of Franz Josef.

a flock of seagulls standing next to a body of water

See a Kiwi Bird at the West Coast Wildlife Centre

The perfect rainy-day activity in Franz Josef, the West Coast Wildlife Centre is the South Island’s largest kiwi hatching facility. This is your chance to see New Zealand’s national icon up-close! The centre also has an interactive glacier exhibition.

Location: Cowan Street.

a rodent looking at the camera

Kayak on Lake Mapourika

Paddle on the reflective waters of Lake Mapourika on a kayaking tour with Glacier Country Kayaks. No experience is necessary, as you glide across the waters with ease on this placid lake surrounded by lush rainforest and ever-present views of the mountains in the distance. Look out for wildlife like eels and follow your guide down hidden creeks while listening to local Maori legends.

Location: Glacier Country Kayaks base, 64 Cron Street

a plane sitting on top of a mountain lake