Franz Josef Glacier

Travelling down the west coast of the south island you can’t miss Franz Josef or Fox glacier. Franz Josef is a 7.5 mile long glacier descending from the southern Alps. The glacier changes constantly moving everyday but sadly has retreated greatly over the last few years so not such a great site as it once was.

Fox glacier is another glacier in the same region which is 8.1 miles long. Both glaciers can be easily seen by walking to the base by a fairly easy walk from the local towns. You can also go on guided hikes or even fly to the tops by helicopter, land on the glacier, and then have a quick stroll around before flying back.

Unfortunately when I was there the weather changed constantly and flights were often cancelled, clouds would quickly roll in within half an hour covering the glacier. I never managed to get a flight so had to make do with taking a hike to the bottom of the glacier.

franz josef glacier

Once upon a time only a few years ago the glacier would have been all the wahill.ground level.


This photo is shown at the bottom of the glacier showing how it has reseeded after only 4 years between 2008 and 2012.

franz josef glacier

Some say global warming has caused the shrinking of the glacier, some say its just the natural ever changing cycle of the earth, whatever it is its amazing thinking that a huge glacier can move at up to a meter ever day constantly for hundreds of years.


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