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New Zealand Glaciers


New Zealand Glaciers

New Zealand Glaciers

Remnants of the last Ice Age on the West Coast flow from the Southern Alps’ immense snowfields to gorge floors just three hundred meters above sea level.

There is no other place in the world's temperate zones where glaciers so easy to get to. Glaciers envelop almost half of the Aoraki or Mount Cook National Park.

Although mountains and rivers are usually produced as an effect of geological activity over millions of years, glaciers allow us to witness the movement of the earth in a more understandable time scale.

New Zealand glaciers move rather quickly - approximately 200 meters annually.


The most famous New Zealand glaciers are the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers on the West Coast of the South Island. Gashed out by mobile ice over a period of thousands of years, the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers are easy to get to for hikers and mountaineers.

Several companies provide guided tours to explore the magnificent ice structures. All companies offer qualified guides that furnish comprehensive descriptions with regards to the geological features, fauna and flora of the region.

Helicopters and fixed wing planes also offer scenic flights and landings on snow in the middle of the highest peaks of New Zealand, providing great views of these glaciers. A variety of walks are available, encompassing New Zealand glaciers that give great vantage points for appreciating the glacier in addition to providing an opportunity to explore the rainforest environments.

The mixture of temperate rainforest and ice is a distinctive feature of the glacier nation of New Zealand, and its ecosystem is unlike any other found in the world. The enormous Franz Josef and Fox glaciers on the country’s West Coast are a must-see for all visitors. The glacier of the Franz Josef Glacier located in Westland National Park, is one of the most magnificent natural attractions of New Zealand.


It is fastest moving and steepest glacier in the country. At twelve kilometers long, this seven thousand year old chunk of ice is descending down a mountain gorge into the rainforest. It is safe to view Franz Josef from a distance of 15 meters.

Julius von Haast, explorer and geologist, named the glacier “Franz Josef” in 1863, in honor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire Emperor.

The Fox Glacier was named after Sir William Fox in 1872. Fox was New Zealand's Prime Minister at the time. The Fox Glacier is just twenty five kilometers from the Franz Josef Glacier.
At three hundred meters deep, and thirteen kilometers long, Fox descends approximately 2600 meters throughout its journey. The township of Fox Glacier is perhaps a tad more laidback, providing a more comfortable atmosphere to absorb the beauty of the surroundings.

At twenty seven kilometers long, the great Tasman Glacier is a dominant piece of landscape equipment. While it gently carves the gorge sides, it offers a landing place for helicopters and small ski aircrafts.

NZ Glaciers

Milky and surreal milky lakes are a characteristic of this park – balanced rock sediments ground by glaciers create the opaqueness of the water. Approximately fifteen thousand years ago, this glacier of New Zealand would have spanned across the shores of Lake Pukaki.



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