Trekking through the Franz Josef Glacier: New Zealand

Whilst driving from the North to South Island of the idyllic  country that is New Zealand, we decided to make a stop off in the South Island and visit the Franz Josef Glacier to see what all the fuss was about.

Many of my friends had taken this journey through the icey caves and rivets and had raved about how amazing the whole experience had been. Never one to turn down a new adventure, I told my boyfriend that we should pay a visit to this and take a trek up there and so we did and we booked out tour with Franz Joseph Glacier Guides (

Glacier Treks in New Zealand


In the South Island of New Zealand, you can actually take a trek on 1 of 2 glaciers; there's the Franz Josef Glacier or the Fox Glacier - at the Fox Glacier you can also do a Sky Dive over them, which my boyfriend did...I stayed firmly on the ground. But he informs me that it was truly amazing.

Where to stay in Franz Joseph

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We arrived late in the evening and staying at a YHA hostel in Franz Josef and parked up for the night to begin out trek the next day. The town of Franz Joseph is very small, and so there is little accommodation on a budget, so be sure to book the YHA in advance.

And the journey begins

We opted for the half day tour, which is around 4-5 hours. Including prep time and the walk up onto the first half of glacier (6km). In the morning we were picked up by a big red bus from our hostel, where we were greeted by our enthusiastic tour guide Woody who would be taking us up the mountain.


We began by heading over to the main guide office to get kitted up with walking boots, socks and a jacket (these rental fees were included in our trek fee). They recommend that you wear light clothing that can dry quickly and can be layered up. I opted for cotton brown cargo shorts, a vest and a long sleeve grey top. Which were more than enough, I did wear a hoody and was too hot!

After getting all the necessities ready, we all jumped back onto our bus and headed towards the glacier. We then began to walk through a small rain forest where we came out into a canyon of rocks. I did wonder if where the glacier was...but as we began walking we came to a range of waterfall rocks, which were extremely beautiful to see.

After a two mile walk and constant chattering within our group, we arrived at the beginning of the glacier. Our guides decided to separate us into a beginners and intermediates group, so that people who were a little fitter could walk faster up the glacier.

Being the Bear Grylls wannabe that he is, my boyfriend decided that we should be in the intermediates group and I'm so glad we did.

As we trekked up the glacier, we found a new ice rivet then was a meter wide for us to walk through. It was so incredible, as we all squeezed through we saw a range of beautiful aqua blues.

The time passed so quickly and before we knew it we were back in the rocky canyon looking at the waterfalls. If you're visiting New Zealand, then this is an adventure you really need to do.

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