Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

South Island NZ

Franz Josef Glacier is now just 300m above sea level and 12km long, starting its journey in the neve of Mt Tasman, having once stretched as far as 35km out into the Tasman Sea. As a result of its accessibility, it is one of the most widely visited glaciers in the world.
This walk gives you some sort of perspective of the power of ice and water and includes a view of the spectacular 35m high Trident Falls.

Picnic Facilities
No Dogs Permitted
Maximum Elevation
Total Climb

Getting there:

From the township of Franz Josef, travel south on State Highway 6 and over the Waiho River Bridge, before immediately turning left onto the Glacier Access Road and travel 3.5km to the car park.


Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

Route/Trail notes:

Head out on the prepared signposted pathway, that is shared with the Sentinel Rock Walk for the first 300m. From here, continue straight on along the pathway to the lookouts and information boards. Return by the same route.

This walk would normally continue for a further 1.7km and get you within 400m of the glacier face. However (2020) conditions have become too dangerous and this section is closed to visitors.



Other References/Comments:

Many will include the sidetrack to Sentinel Rock as part of this walk.

If you are lucky, you might site the Chamois Goat-antelope, eight of which were imported from Europe in 1907 and are now in pest proportions.

As with most South Island towns, there are always numerous tracks in and around the area. In this case most notably Tatare Tunnels Walk and Alex Knob Track.


Unfortunately we could not get in close and personal with Franz Josef, as the extended track had been wiped out by bad weather and become dangerous. None the less, the spectacle of the glacier and surrounding waterfalls was worth it.

F.A.B. on 4 Mar, 2020

nice 1.5hr return walk. clear borders at the end of the track for people to not go too close to the glacier.

Sam on 28 Nov, 2019


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