Top Ten New Zealand Classic Adventures

Walk a River of Ice
  |  Gorp.com
The Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers
Walk rivers of ice at the Fox and Franz Joseph (New Zealand Tourism)

The Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers, on the wild-west coast of the South Island, are among the few glaciers in the world that are still growing—the audible grinding and crunching you'll hear at the terminus of these alpine monsters prove it.

Walking on these great rivers of ice, with temperate rainforest at your back, is a unique experience. Though experienced mountaineers can ascend and descend the glaciers unguided (special equipment will be needed), for most, the best way to explore the glaciers' blue caves and walls of living ice is with a guide.

For more remote views, a day walk to Alex Knob offers panoramas of the Franz Joseph Glacier, Mount Cook, and the Tasman Coast. From the Franz Joseph Glacier Access Road, follow a sign-posted track through rainforest to snow tussock and the top (1,306 meters).

Whatever you do, watch out for the Kea, an indigenous green parrot notorious for pecking the rubber off windscreen wipers in local parking lots.


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