New Zealand’s Glaciers

New Zealand has a large number of glaciers.

Eighteen on the North Island and 3155 on the South Island.

Many of these are located on the west coast of the South Island , in the Southern Alps , and are fairly remote.

They are serviced by small townships several hours from the main cities.

The drive to the West Coast is beautiful and takes you through rain forest and native forest passing waterfalls and clear water streams.

Fox Glacier and Franz Josef are probably the most widely known , and most visited due to the accessibility of the terminal end.

Both easily accessible by foot although you are not allowed to venture up onto the glacier at the terminal face.

Barriers are installed to keep people a safe distance away.

Guided hikes , walks and climbs are available

So there is something for everyone.

Formed in the last Ice Age, they have retreated considerably since.

Over the years they have both retreated and advanced , although they have retreated far more than advanced.

The most recent advance was between 1985 and 2009 , and then retreat resumes with the cause being blamed on climate change

Franz Josef has upwards of 2700 visitors a day in the summer months.

Mainly overseas tourists , as the locals seem to take it for granted.

Fox Glacier is looked at by approx 1000 people a day at the same time of year.

These two glaciers are spectacular and may be the highlight of your trip.

The views are breath taking and will provide many a unique photo opportunity.

Visiting the terminal face is beautiful and you won’t be disappointed but there are crowds of people that also make the trek.

At Luxury Tours of New Zealand we recommend flying in on a helicopter and landing on the glacier to see the crevasses , tunnels , and caves that are all part of this wonderful icescape.

Contact us and let us plan your personal glacier experience.