Take a guided hike to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier, scrambling along an exclusive pathway over the riverbed of the mighty Waiho. During the interpretive valley walk to the glacier, your guide covers the geographical features of this magnificent alpine landscape. Upon reaching the viewpoint, you’re treated to an up-close look at the advancing glacier. Numbers are limited to 13 people per group for a more personal experience.
Take a day trip from Franz Josef to experience New Zealand's stunning nature and picturesque views of the Franz Josef Glacier
See spectacular views of the rapidly changing terminal face of the glacier
Small-group tour, maximum of 13 people per group for a more personal experience
Complimentary entry into the main pools at Glacier Hot Pools
3-hour guided glacier tour
Food and drinks, unless specified
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Departure & Return
63 Cron Street, Franz Josef / Waiau 7886, New Zealand
Returns to original departure point
What To Expect
Make your way to the operator’s base in Franz Josef to meet your guide and get geared up with proper equipment for your valley walk to Franz Josef Glacier, which requires a basic level of fitness.
After a brief bus ride to the outskirts of the glacier, follow your guide on foot during a valley walk through a forest and up alongside the Waiho River. The hike along the rocky riverbed takes you via exclusive trails amid a magnificent alpine landscape en route to the glacier’s rapidly changing terminal face.
Learn from your guide about the glaciology and natural history of Franz Josef, also known by its Maori name as Ka Roimata o Hine Hukatere, and hear about the imposing giant’s path of retreat. Close to the terminal face, you're rewarded with impressive views of the marbled blue ice and deep crevasses.
Finish with the return hike through the valley back to the minivan and transport to the base.
Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
Not wheelchair accessible
Children must be accompanied by an adult
Minimum age is 6 years
The glacier walks are quite challenging as the valley floor is undulated and becomes steeper nearer the terminal face, and clients need to be fit and able.
Operates in all weather conditions
This tour/activity will have a maximum of 13 travelers
Operated by Franz Josef Glacier Guides
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.
Great way to get off the beaten track, learn more about the area and soak in some scenery!
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 148 reviews
Glacier Valley Walk
norberthoefer, Jan 2020
Very good tour guide explanations on nature and Maori heritage and history. Convenient walk for all hiking levels and ages.
Isaac_F, Oct 2019
Great way to get off the beaten track, learn more about the area and soak in some scenery! Would highly recommend
Definitely Worth the Drive!!!
Rhys N, Sep 2019
What a remarkable part of the world. This truly has to be seen to be believed. Definitely worth the beautiful trip along the west coast. Do not miss this.
Our tour guide was the best and she had exception knowledge of the glacier and the surrounding area ... super informative and very friendly. Nothing beats a hot chocolate overlooking the glacier.
Ross L, Sep 2019
This walk was fantastic. Our guide Ellie was great. She is very knowledgeable and also very nice. Do this walk guided. Included a ticket to the hot baths which was very relaxing at the end. Topped off a great day.
Andy was an excellent guide and was...
Linda Y, Apr 2018
Andy was an excellent guide and was very knowledgeable.
He also had a fun sense of humour, and the hot chocolate he provided his Grans recipe, was a nice touch.
We felt safe and secure at all times.
The walk was a good distance and physically achievable for most people.
It was amazing to see Franz Josef Glacier in this way.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Tour guide was great. It was rainy...
Charles_C, Mar 2018
Tour guide was great. It was rainy and cloudy, but we were able to still see the glacier. The tour guide was very knowledgeable
We had a great time, the guides were...
lorna_b, Mar 2018
We had a great time, the guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. The use of boots enabled us to walk through the many streams and the scenery was awesome. To see the power of ice and water so close up is breathtaking.
The 2 hours I spent on this walk...
Rahul C, Feb 2018
The 2 hours I spent on this walk were well worth the time and effort. We had a very small group only 5 people our guide, all reasonably fit, and we kept a steady pace, with periodic stops for pictures. Our guide, Bryan originally from Colorado, USA, was relaxed and knowledgeable, and answered our many questions. At no time did we feel we were being rushed, and we had plenty of time to take pictures and admire the scenery. The tour takes a couple of paths that deviate noticeably from the regular path, which occasionally gave us the sense that we were the only ones hiking to the glacier look-out point.
Although the tour was very enjoyable, I was somewhat disappointed at how far away the mouth of the glacier is - it's about 1 km 0.6 miles away from the lookout point. But this obviously doesn't reflect on the quality of the tour.
Loved this tour. Our tour guide was...
Susan W, Jan 2018
Loved this tour. Our tour guide was excellent and very informative. Would definitely recommend.
1 traveler found this review helpful
Phil was our guide. He was humorous...
Jason B, Jan 2018
Phil was our guide. He was humorous and knowledgeable. He treated all with some hot chocolate when we got to our destination point. Great views as well!!!!