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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

Recent Photos of This Tour

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


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

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.

Daniel D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

Excellent and enjoyable

Philippa M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

Had a wonderful guide who was very knowledgeable and enthusiastically shared his delight in the rocks and minerals and fauna as we walked at a comfortable pace. Only a couple of steep parts to the path as he took us off piste but Aaron was very helpful and sure footed helping those of us who were out of our comfort zone.
Awesome scenery.

Edna J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

Truly breathtaking!!! Our guide, Connor went above and beyond professional but still very personable and patient to answer all our one thousand questions. The base where we started from was great too with lots of unexpected amenities like a coffee bar and hot tubs. We wouldn't go with any other company! Experience of a lifetime is an understatement!

Shona P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

A memorable activity. Loved scrambling along the valley, we waded through a rushing stream, stood so close to the spray of the wonderful waterfalls. Held chunks of ice from the pounding river. Fabulous guide. Joshua. Gave us such a lot if interesting details. He worked so hard to give the group a brilliant time and it certainly was amazing.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

Booking a tour allowed us to hike paths in the woods leading to the glacier that the general public walking on their own could not access. The guide's knowledge of various plants and the history of the glacier definitely made it a good deal as opposed to just walking up to the glacier viewpoint on your own. The ticket also included use of the glacier hot water pools which felt great after all the traveling we had been doing.

Jane A Israel

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

Great trip, beautiful scenery and the guide was superb, I didn't want a difficult walk and this was perfect. We had great weather.

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