Franz Josef Glacier - PHOTOGRAPHER COMMENT
Panorama taken from the end of the trail out to Franz Josef Glacier. The trail ends at a sheer rock face and the only way forward is to scale this, which is not possible without ropes and a guide. The front of the glacier is still dramatic from this point. Deep rumblings can be heard from within as ice cracks and breaks away into the river flowing from the glacier's end. Scattered around the foreground are large pieces of ice that have broken off and been swept away by the water.
Franz Josef Glacier - FURTHER INFORMATION
Franz Josef Glacier - Franz Josef Glacier visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Franz Josef Glacier' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from West Coast.
Fanz Josef Glacier is known as Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere in Māori, and, combined with Fox Glacier is one of the must see sights along the West Coast on the South Island of New Zealand. The glacier is quite easily accessible and the tongue is under 300m above sea level, ending in temperate rain forest. Fanz Joseph Glacier starts in snowfields high in the Southern Alps at an altitude of 2700m. From there it extends west for about 12km long, descending to 240m on the way. This steep terrain helps make Fanz Josef the fastest moving glacier in the world.
Over 250,000 people a year visit Fanz Josef Glacier. Unguided walks from a car park take about 40 minutes each way and end up near the glacier tongue. This proceeds through forest and then up a rough path along the valley floor passing a waterfall on the way. Guided walking tours take people up to the first ice flow / ice fall on the glacier. Helicopter tours often drop tourists between the first and second ice falls. Several local companies will offer a variety of tours, and there are plenty of hotels, motels and the like in the Franz Joseph township to cater for tourists.
The glacier was named after the Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Josef by Julius von Haast (Haast is named after him) in 1863. In 1946 the glacier could be seen from the windows of St James Anglican Church, but by 1951 it had reatreated from view. Recent advances made by the Franz Josef glacier have brought it back into view from the church since 1994.
TRAVEL DIRECTIONS AND GETTING THERE
Road: The Franz Josef Township is on Highway 6, 24km north of Fox Glacier township and 145km north of Haast. It is 172km south of Greymouth. The trail to the glacier starts from a parking lot 5km from Franz Josef. It takes about 40 minutes to walk out to the glacier along the valley floor.