Franz Josef hotels

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Unforgettable Franz Josef Glacier

This magnificent slice of ice was discovered by an Austrian dude way back in the 19th century (hence the fruity/not-very-Kiwi-sounding name) and has managed to attract tourists to NZ’s South Island ever since.

Once you’ve explored Franz Josef and the nearby Fox Glacier, it’s time to give the surrounds a bit of a whirl. For the oldies, kiddies and not-so-fit, the easy-peasy Minnehaha Walk is the best way to explore the rainforest for a good 20 minutes. For the ultra-fit, the Mount Fox Track will take about eight hours from your day, but will be absolutely worth it. Don’t forget to take some time to go on the White Heron Sanctuary Tour to spot everything from the White Heron/Kotuku to the Little Black Shag/Kawapaka. (Feel free to giggle at the name. Everyone else does…)

Franz Josef Glacier's Top 10

10. The Chalet Lookout One of the best lookouts in the area is also home to a bunch of native birds, including the cute fantail and tomtit (insert more immature laughter here).

5. Sky High Hovering above the ground in a chopper is the perfect way to get the full scope of this magnificent slither of nature.

9. West Coast Wildlife Centre Watch the rare Rowi Kiwis go about their daily biz before you hit up the café and gift shop.

4. Whataroa River This gushing river was just made for a wild, white-water rafting session. Hold on tight, kids!

8. Whataroa Valley Learn about the gold-panning process before you try your luck at finding some shiny stuff.

3. Fox Glacier Right alongside the main glacier is this just-as-awesome one. Take a self-guided tour to really explore it.

7. Roberts Point Track This walking trail takes you through lush forest and rocky areas and has a historical theme.

2. Glacier Hot Pools What better way to follow up an icy-cold adventure than with a soak in a steaming-hot pool. Lush!

6. Lake Mapourika Whether you want a spot of fishing, a chilled cruise or just a pretty piece of water to look at, this is a great place to hit.

1. Ice climbing For those of you who want a real challenge, this is one of the best ways to explore the glacier. Grab your ice axes and go!

Franz Josef Glacier Events

Celebrate the not-so-toasty summertime with the Hokitika Summer Fair in February.

Hokitika gets its buzz on with the annual Hokitika Wildfoods Festival in March. While munching on big fat Huhu Grubs is the main attraction (!), there’s also a bunch of other stuff to entertain the masses.

September/October welcomes a unique film event, New Zealand on Screen.

When To Go

Franz Josef stays pretty cool throughout the year but gets exceptionally frosty in winter. Expect the warmer months to hit max temps of 20°C (68°F) and the mercury to dip as low as -4°C (25°F) in July.

If you want throngs of other tourists to mingle with, visit Franz Josef Glacier between October and April.

Getting Around

Exploring the glacier’s valley and surrounding area is best done on foot. Make sure to don some super-sturdy footwear and thick clothing to shield yourself from the chill. Franz Josef Glacier Guides provides great guides and tours.

You can also explore from up high in a helicopter or small plane. There are dozens of companies that provide flight-seeing, including Air Safaris. Fees vary.

To explore further out around Greymouth and Hokitika, catch a Naked Bus. (No, the drivers aren’t in the buff. Sorry! We were disappointed, too…)

Hotels in Franz Josef

Recommended hotels

From US$72

1 Franz Josef Oasis

4 stars
5.0 / 5 3 reviews

Franz Josef Highway 6 Map

Featuring sleek accommodations and contemporary facilities, Franz Josef Oasis makes for a suitable base for travellers looking for a vibrant holiday in this side of New Zealand. While in Franz... More

Beautiful n clean
Very nicely room interior, very modern, new furniture, very clean, nice staff, considerate as has dinner provided and deliver to room. Dinner is delicious, very nicely cook can see the chef put...
25 Aug 2015
From US$80

2 Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

4 stars
4.3 / 5 11 reviews

36 Main Road Map

FREE Wifi

Set in the scenic alpine location, Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier provides tasteful accommodations and friendly hospitality for a relaxing holiday in Franz Josef Glacier. Tourists can enjoy their... More

Perfect mountain getaway
Amazing hotel! Staff friendly, room spotless and with a magnificent view of the snow-capped mountains. Easy walk to all the glacier companies, the local pub and supermarket. My one negative comment...
27 Aug 2014
From US$94

3 58 On Cron

4 stars
4.5 / 5 13 reviews

58 Cron Street Map

Offering comfortable accommodation and quality services, 58 On Cron Motel Franz Josef is the perfect base for guests to reside whether they are for business or pleasure. This property is just a... More

Fantastic place to stay in Franz Josef
We had a really good experience staying here - Staying over 2 nights. We were to arrive quite late on the first night, after normal opening hours for the office. So the staff went ahead and...
14 Jul 2015
From US$73

4 Terrace Motel

4 stars
4.0 / 5 1 reviews

Cowan Street Map

Terrace Motel Franz Josef is a great holiday destination and also ideal for business trips. This motel is a perfect base to enjoy the beautiful rainforest and glacial region. This property is... More

Convenient Break
Despite a latish arrival we were welcomed in a wonderful way. The staff helped us with booking a tour to the Glacier and gave us good advice on facilities in town and other activities. The view of...
30 Sep 2014
From US$81

5 Glacier View Motel

3 stars
3.5 / 5 6 reviews

State Highway 6 Map

Bruce & Sue Millin, your hosts at Glacier View Motel Franz Josef, invite you to stay at one of our well-appointed units in a park-like setting with spectacular views of the rainforest, glacier... More

Good Old Fashioned Hospitality
This is an older style (bit dated) motel but spotlessly clean and comfortable. Plenty of room and is equipped with basic cooking facilities (cook top, microwave) and utensils. The proprietor was...
28 Apr 2015
From US$71

6 10 Cottages Accommodation

4 stars
Not yet reviewed

8 Graham Place Map

The perfect Franz Josef Glacier Holiday Accommodation. The 10 Cottages, Franz Josef, offers hotel style studio Cottages and 2 bedroom houses ideal for your visit to Franz Josef Glacier, New... More

7 Chateau Franz

3 stars
Not yet reviewed

8 Cron Street Map

Chateau Franz welcomes travellers to comfortably appointed and affordable accommodations set amidst rainforest with views of glaciers in this side of New Zealand. Holidaymakers staying at this... More

8 Glow Worm Cottages

3 stars
Not yet reviewed

27 Cron Street Map

Backpackers and tourists looking for comfortable lodgings while visiting the glacier at Franz Josef find suitable retreat at Glow Worm Cottages. Holidaymakers at this budget-friendly New Zealand... More

From US$435

9 Te Waonui Forest Retreat

5 stars
Not yet reviewed

3 Wallace Street, State Highway 6 Map

Te Waonui Forest Retreat Hotel Franz Josef offers quality accommodation and friendly service and loads with memories that guests can treasure for life. This property is just minutes away from many... More

From US$86

10 Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier

3 stars
3.3 / 5 7 reviews

11 Cook Flat Road Map

FREE Wifi

Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier is an ideal place for a pleasant and comfortable stay. This property is the perfect base to discover the surrounding areas. Situated in the base of the splendid Southern... More

Good customer service
Staff were friendly and helpful. Only stayed one night and it was perfect. Close to everything.
5 Dec 2014
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