Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, South Island and ETA Information
The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are two of the most iconic natural landmarks of New Zealand's South Island. These stunning glaciers are located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, on the west coast of the South Island, and draw visitors from all over the world with their breathtaking beauty and unique features.
The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are part of the Southern Alps, a mountain range that stretches the length of New Zealand's South Island. The glaciers themselves are fed by snowfall from the surrounding mountains, and as the snow builds up over time, it compresses into ice and slowly flows downhill, carving out the valleys as it goes. The result is a truly spectacular landscape of ice, rock, and snow, with towering peaks, deep crevasses, and crystal-clear streams and waterfalls.
The Fox Glacier is the shorter of the two glaciers, stretching just 13 km from its source in the mountains down to the valley floor. Despite its relatively small size, the Fox Glacier is still an impressive sight, with its brilliant blue ice and strikingly steep walls. Visitors can take guided tours of the glacier, exploring its crevasses, ice caves, and ice formations. The guided tours typically take around three hours and require a moderate level of fitness, as they involve hiking over uneven terrain and using crampons to walk on the ice.
The Franz Josef Glacier, on the other hand, is much longer, stretching an impressive 12 km from its source in the mountains down to the valley floor. Like the Fox Glacier, the Franz Josef Glacier is renowned for its striking blue ice and towering walls, but it also has some unique features that make it a must-see destination. For example, the glacier is home to a series of ice caves and tunnels, which are constantly changing as the ice melts and reforms. Visitors can take guided tours of the glacier, which typically last around three hours and involve hiking over rough terrain, using crampons to walk on the ice, and exploring the ice formations and caves.
One of the most unique features of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers is the fact that they are located in a temperate rainforest. This means that visitors can explore both the glacier and the surrounding forest in a single visit, experiencing the full range of New Zealand's natural beauty. The forest is home to a rich variety of plant and animal life, including towering trees, sparkling streams, and a range of birds and mammals. Visitors can take guided tours of the forest, learning about the ecology and history of the area, or simply explore on their own, following the trails that wind through the trees and along the streams.
If you are planning a visit to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, it is important to be aware of the weather and other conditions in the area. The glaciers are located in a remote part of the country, and the weather can be highly unpredictable, with heavy rain, snow, and fog common throughout the year. Visitors should also be aware of the potential risks associated with hiking on the glaciers, including crevasses, ice falls, and sudden changes in weather. It is highly recommended that visitors take guided tours of the glaciers, as these tours are led by experienced professionals who are trained to identify and mitigate these risks.
Finally, if you are planning a trip to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, it is important to be aware of New Zealand's Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) requirements. All visitors to New Zealand, with the exception of citizens of Australia, must obtain an ETA before entering the country. The ETA is an electronic visa waiver that can be obtained online, and it is valid for up to two years from the date of issue. The ETA is designed to improve border security and streamline the entry process for visitors to New Zealand, and it