Hike to Franz Josef Glacier

New Zealand Franz Josef Glacier Trailhead

Added by Lauren Schusterman

  • Distance: 5.4 km roundtrip
  • Time: 1.5 hours roundtrip
  • Great way to see the glacier without paying hundreds of dollars to go on it
  • Easy, mostly flat walk
  • Several waterfalls

From the carpark take a quick walk through a green, forested area before making your way into the valley. Here you will get your first view of the glacier. At this point the trail gets a bit rocky but is still very doable. The trail continues mostly flat for the next 35 minutes. You will pass many waterfalls and interesting rock formations on this part of the hike. Right before the glacier platform there is a small uphill. Once you reach the viewing platform there is an amazing view of Franz Josef Glacier. The area around the glacier is very dangerous because of ice and rock fall so make sure to not go past the viewing platform.

Pack List

  • Sturdy walking shoes
  • Camera
  • Warm clothing
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Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round



Easy Parking
Family Friendly

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How to Get There

8 months ago


I'll be honest, for those who have seen glaciers in the past, these can be a little underwhelming. I was only able to get as close as about 700 meters, which is still quite far. The path was very well maintained as you can imagine, but it was very crowded. It is one of the crown jewels for NZ, and people know about it. It is some cool scenery and glaciers are always fun to see, but there are better spots to explore in NZ.

8 months ago

11 months ago

This is a pretty easy hike to the beautiful Franz Josef Glacier. It's really a shame how much of the glacier has receded since 2008 (when it entered a rapid phase of retreat). Just more of a reason to continually make efforts to preserve our environment and areas like these. Make sure you take the chance to see while you can!

11 months ago

Added by Lauren Schusterman

College student at UCLA. Born and raised in Boulder, CO. In love with the outdoors and all it has to offer.

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