THINGS TO DO: FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER
Franz Josef Glacier is located at the heart of Glacier Country and the New Zealand alps and offers a multitude of adventure and recreation activities both guided tours and self-guided. There is truly something for everyone and every level of adventure. World-class cafes, bars and restaurants, vibing night clubs, day spas, hikes and walks of all distances with some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, white water rafting, glow worm caves, wildlife experiences, heli-adventures, fixed-wing flights to Milford Sound for the day, mountain biking, lake activities, bonfires on the beach at Okarito, penguin, seal and bird spotting, Great White Heron tours, glacier hiking and even New Zealand's highest skydive! Te Awa Cottage is the perfect gateway to your adventure possibilities and it's worth spending a few extra nights...
Lake Mapourika is one of New Zealand's most visited mirror lakes, located approximately a 5-minute drive from Te Awa Cottages and offers an array of activities both guided and self-guided. Book yourself a SUP hire, guided kayak tour, sunset dinner cruise or fishing trip with Franz Josef Wilderness Tours.
Dive into the balmy summer water temps of our local rainwater-fed lake to cool off. Pack a picnic and cold beers for a sunset feast at MacDonalds Corner and catch an exceptional sunset over Mount Tasman, New Zealand's second-tallest peak and incredible mirror lake reflections.
HIKING FRANZ JOSEF
Glacier Country offers an exceptional and diverse range of short and longer hikes for all levels of fitness. Many of our half-day hikes are still glorious in the rain too as you are tucked away in the temperate rainforest. If you are looking for the best way to see the glacier without having to splash out on the helicopter flight, we recommend either the Glacier Valley Walk (easy), Roberts Point Track (medium-hard) or summiting Alex Knob (hardest). Please check the Department of Conservation website to check which trail might be most suited for you. Peters Pool, Lake Wombat, Callery Gorge, Canavans Knob, Tatare Tunnels Glowworm Caves and a visit out to Okarito Lagoon to explore the hikes out there are all must-dos! A half-day trip to Fox Glacier to walk around famous Lake Matheson is well worth it or if you feel like a full-day adventure, head on up to Lake Gault.
You can book a guided small group or private guided walking tour with Glacier Valley Eco Tours.
Take the leap with Skydive Franz over mountains, glaciers, lakes, rivers and the ocean! When you jump you see New Zealand’s highest mountain Aoraki/Mount Cook and the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers immediately on the right and the wide blue ocean is on the left.
WAIHO HOT TUBS
Unwind in our little town's famous Waiho Hot Tubs - nestled privately amidst rain-forest, these wood-fired hot tubs are re-filled with fresh mountain water after each use. We recommend booking in advance and embracing their unforgettable experience.
OKARITO LAGOON & BEACH
GLACIER HELI HIKE
Explore the famous Franz Josef Glacier with a guided ice and snow climbing experience and glacier encounter with Franz Josef Glacier Guides. Fly by helicopter from the heli-pad located a 2-minute drive from your cottage. This is one of our top-rated activities in Glacier Country.
Franz Josef Glacier is home to one of the world's highest density helicopter to permanent population ratio! Meaning we have some of the world's most experienced pilots and abundant heli-adventure opportunities. Heli-hiking, scenic flights in and around the great divide and its multitude of dramatic peaks, the ravines and ranges of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, glacier encounters from the sky, snow landings, marriage proposals, Aoraki/Mount Cook and so much more!
MOUNTAIN BIKING WEST COAST
There is a mountain bike trail you can explore right from the doorstep of your cottage! Connect up with the Gibb Trail and then head on up the glacier valley and around the Douglas Loop. Stop into Snake Bite for a coffee and one of their famous baked goodies!
The Fault Line is another mountain bike trail located on the other side of the Tatare River to the cottages. Ride north along the highway and take a right at the Tatare bridge, across the river bed. This trail is for grades 3-4 - it's best to let us know if you would like more info on how t get there as it is not maintained by the Department of Conservation and therefore is not well signposted.
Oh, and have you heard about the West Coast Wilderness Trail?
CAFES, BARS & RESTAURANTS
Franz Josef Glacier has a thriving foodie culture with many options serving up all sorts of cuisine. Your best bet is to simply head downtown and give them all a try!
NEED SOMEWHERE TO STAY?
A visit to the village of Okarito - a quaint little seaside settlement by New Zealand's largest natural wetland. Here you can engage in a tour on the lagoon with Okarito Boat Tours and spot the Great White Heron in its natural habitat or by kayak with Okarito Kayaks.
We recommend a bonfire on the beach and catching a gorgeous West Coast sunset here.