Day 6.1: Hiking Franz Josef Glacier

Day 6.1: Hiking Franz Josef Glacier

Road tripping is cool in the sense that you get to see a LOT of the country. Being stuck in a car all day is not so cool. Whenever you road trip in another country - try to do one capstone adventure.

This is Day 6 (Part 1) of NZ in a Little Over a Week. If you haven't already, check out Day 5 - Picton to Greymouth

Why You Should Hike Franz Josef Glacier

  1. It's in a temperate rain forest, which means it's actually not that cold
    Our tour guide was in shorts.
  2. You can drink the glacier water. Being stuck in a car all day makes you crazy.
  3. You get your workout in - ISH.
  4. The glacier was advancing until 2008, but now has entered a rate of rapid retreat. 
  5. They give you the hear you need: jacket, pants, gloves.
  6. It's a once in a lifetime experience.

Here's a morning on the glacier with Franz Josef Glacier Guides.

You thought I would forget about brunch and coffee? No chance.

Get Coffee and Brunch at Full of Beans. The coffee isn't great, but their breakfast is decent. Also, you don't really have a choice - there's not much in this little town. 

Despite the name of the cafe, the coffee tasted quite weak. On a more positive note, I love getting roast tomatoes with my poached eggs. I would NOT recommend getting the veggie eggs benny because the spinach is a choking hazard. Go all in and get the bacon.

The town of Franz Josef Glacier is quite cute. You can see the surrounding mountains and it feels like you're in a little ski town. 

Franz Josef Glacier.

After changing into your gear, you walk through a humid rain forest and walk up to an empty field where you wait in line for a helicopter. Fortunately, they give you a fanny pack where you can store electronic devices galore. 

The little speck in the middle is YOU on a helicopter.

Below is your typical postcard of Franz Josef Glacier.

Franz Josef Glacier from Helicopter

Franz Josef Glacier from Helicopter

When you land, it looks like you're at some ski resort. However, when you actually step down on the ground, it's clear you're on a giant block of ice. Bizarre.

These lovely shoes are crampons. It's what you'll be wearing for your trek across the ice. If you're good at putting these on, you will be asked to help others.


The hike is not strenuous, but there is potential to slip & fall.

This is a holy shit- where do I go moment. You'll have many of these.

Oh HEY, People down there!

After 3 hours, you take a picturesque helicopter ride back and are back on dry, firm land.

Pro Tips
I would highly recommend bringing your own pair of gloves. The mittens (although super soft) will become a sloppy mess when wet.
Bring sunglasses- and ones that will actually stay on your face.
Make sure you bring a snack with you to store in the cubby for after the glacier hike. Something you can eat right after. This will prevent glacier madness.
Bring a camera (duh).

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