With two days in Franz Josef, you can enjoy panoramic views while from skydiving or taking a scenic helicopter flight, take a guided glacier hike among the ice caves and pinnacles, and enjoy fishing or kayaking on the lake. Here are a few ways to enjoy your 2-day stay in Franz Josef.
Start your trip with a (literal) overview of the area on a sightseeing helicopter flight. Excursions include a quick stop in the snow above the ice-falls on Mt. Cook's western face so you can get up close to the glacier.
If you want to spend more time on a glacier, book a heli-hike along the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier, and enjoy an adventurous trek on terrain usually only enjoyed by experienced mountaineers. Alternatively, get your adrenaline pumping and admire stunning views while you free fall from 19,000–9,000 feet (5,791–2,743 meters) on a tandem skydive.
After an adventurous day, spend your evening doing some serious relaxing. Take a scenic cruises around Lake Mapourika to enjoy postcard-perfect views of the Southern Alps and Franz Josef Glacier, or go for a soak in the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools, an ideal way to settle the nerves and sooth sore muscles.
Head to Lake Mapourika for some fishing or kayaking; most tours offer transportation from accommodations in the village. You could also charter a boat or enjoy a walk around the lake. All options boast mountain views, so you can’t go wrong whatever your activity.
From the lakeshore, head to the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary to walk in the rain forest and try to spot New Zealand’s rare national bird. If the weather isn’t cooperating, or you’d prefer to stay indoors, the Franz Josef Wildlife Centre offers curious visitors another way to glimpse the nocturnal kiwi—even in the day time.
In the evening, enjoy a guided nature walk around the glassy waters of Lake Matheson. Snap photos of Mt. Tasman and Mt. Cook reflected beautifully in the water, or focus your lens on the snowy mountain peaks bathed in the late evening’s alpenglow. Guides usually lead visitors along an easy path for optimal views.