• Location: Franz Josef, New Zealand
  • Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
From USD $ 59.76 View price calendar

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Take a 3-hour 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.


  • 3-hour Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
  • 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

What You Can Expect

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

Make your way to the operator’s base in Franz Josef to meet your guide and get geared up with proper equipment for your 3-hour 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'll be 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.

Customer Reviews

Rahul C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 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.

Jason B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 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!!!!

Yuan Zhi L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

Great walk through the valley via private path, highly recommended.

Abhineet K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2017

Great fun, and great trek. We were really lucky to have a clear sky for our trek. Please check the weather ahead of booking your trip coz if it's cloudy or raining which happens a lot coz it's in a rain forest the trip can be cancelled

Jacqueline B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2017

Great tour! Glenthin was outstanding. We loved it. It was cloudy but we could still see the glacier. It was perfect for our time there. We got a great overview of the area and the fauna!

Kristen M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2017

Great tour and Tour guide Nick. The walking was easy, well below our ability, and we got to go off of the beaten path to see an learn about some unique features of the glacier valley. I was hoping to get to a 'special viewpoint' a bit past where the general public stops but while we were at our own, more elevated spot we were at the same stopping point. I'm glad we chose the afternoon tour because we were not ruched to return to the bus on a tight schedule.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Michael and Jon were very knowledgeable and helpful guides. They provided details on plants, regional information and history and changes in the glacier. Both guides also kindly went above and beyond to help with recommendations for local restaurants and other attractions in NZ. The tour includes a hike easy to moderate, with some rock edges and walking across streams and slight incline, full gear you'll appreciate the waterproof pants, boots and all weather jacket AND complimentary entry to the hot pools attached to the same bldg where you check in. The return trip was via the public trail flat, very easy so I had a chance to compare the guided vs. doing it on your own. The guided tour gets you a little closer to the glacier base and is more of a hike than a walk on a flat path. Plus the details on the retraction, changes in size and impacts across time was all interesting and worth investing in a guide the gear and hot pool alone is worth the price of the ticket. Both guides were highly service oriented and you can feel their passion toward exploring the glacier and surrounding area, with a keen focus on safety.

Rebecca B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Despite the weather on the day of our tour, it was amazing and the guide was friendly and knowledgable. Loved it!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

Fantastic guide to a fantastic place. My husband and I were the only ones on the tour on the day we went so we got one on one attention. We were taken off the beaten track and got access to places the normal visitors don't get to see. The running commentary on the geology and history and flora and fauna was very appreciated. The free entry at the end of the day to the hot pools certainly relieved our aching muscles...lol.

Hannah C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

The staff are friendly and make sure that you are well equipped for the trip. It was pouring rain when I went, so all the provided gear was muchly appreciated. It was great to have a guide take you through valley and have them share history and science behind such beautiful views. This guided walk gives you a great intro into the area, so that you can go check out the other walking tracks as well.

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