Franz Josef Tours
If getting out in nature is your thing, you'll be in your element here in Glacier Country. Explore untamed natural landscapes with New Zealand’s highest mountains such as Aoraki/Mount Cook on one side and the ocean on the other with glaciers, mirror lakes, rivers, farmland and everything else in between. Easily spend days exploring every nook and cranny. As most of us don’t have that sort of time, below, I have laid out the best of the best so that you can make the most of your time here. Guided tours offer a great avenue to time-efficiently experience all that Glacier Country has to offer.
We are happy to book the activities below for you at no extra charge.
Franz Josef Wilderness Tours
Franz Josef Wilderness Tours offers a diverse range of guided water and land based activities in connection with Lake Mapourika - our treasure on the wild West Coast, within the UNESCO World Heritage Site. They also offer SUP and kayak hire if a self guided mission is more your thing! All summer long, you can swim here and I can show you where to do this at a beautiful bay.
Explore this New Zealand mirror-lake by kayak, SUP or boat on a guided trip, with views of the Southern Alps and glaciers while paddling in the kiwi sanctuary. It is a 'wow' time - being immersed in this environment with its silky reflection water.
Franz Josef Wilderness Tours is a family owned and operated business. Offering kayak tours and rentals, or scenic boat tours and fishing charters on Lake Mapourika.
Glacier Valley Eco Tours
The best thing about having a knowledgeable 'Kiwi' guide when we went to see the glaciers with Glacier Valley Eco Tours, was the immersion in the environment while learning much from the interpretation.
We were regaled with stories and facts about glaciation, geology, local flora & fauna and history of this incredibly dynamic place.
Glacier Valley Eco Tours provide small group informative personalised tours, off the beaten path from the main track (Franz Josef & Fox Glacier).
They also offer private group tours.
Glacier Valley Eco Tours are a family-friendly company, all ages and abilities are well catered for.
White Heron Sanctuary Tours
This is one of our favourites in the area, you don't have to be a birder like me to enjoy it.
This tour consists of an informative minibus ride through private farmland into the Waitangiroto Nature Reserve.
Within the reserve, a short walk takes you through ancient Kahikatea rainforest to the purpose built viewing hide to observe the magnificent White Heron, Kotuku in their natural nesting environment.
The Royal Spoonbill, Kotuku Ngutu Papa and the Little Shag, Kawapaka also share this special area and all can easily be seen from the hide. The White Heron only use this area for breeding so can be seen in the reserve over the spring and summer months, usually mid-September until early March.
Ōkārito Kiwi Tours
Seeing a kiwi in its natural environment is something many locals from New Zealand have never had the opportunity to do, so this is special and unique opportunity.
Walking to find the kiwi habitation, patience is required when listening for kiwi activity.
There is a very good chance that you will hear the birds snuffling for food or generally moving around in the bush. You will hear the bird calling – the very unique sound resonating for miles into the quiet of the night.
Experiencing the beauty of New Zealand's largest coastal wetland is really something you will want to write home about. You can either kayak by yourself or with a guide. A clear day offers magnificent views of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps of the Ōkārito Lagoon.
Covering more than 3240 hectares of shallow open water it is well known for its outstanding avifauna (over 70 species of birds have been recorded here). The lagoon is a common feeding ground for kotuku (white heron) and royal spoonbill, both of which breed in the nearby Waitangiroto Nature Reserve.
Ōkārito Eco Boat Tours
A guided trip on an open air boat that takes you to and from land to lagoon and beyond into the rainforest waterways.
Your knowledgeable guides will show you all that this untouched wilderness offers on tour via the Explorer Douglas - a flat bottomed open air boat that was custom built for the lagoon.
You will cruise along at slow speeds and often drift alongside feeding white herons, godwits, oystercatchers and dotterels.