The South West New Zealand World Heritage Area is home to the majestic glaciers, Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier.
Located in the West Coast region of New Zealand’s South Island, Franz Josef is an outdoor mecca for international and Kiwi visitors alike.
From crystal clear lakes, tumbling rivers, glaciers, huge forests and unique wildlife, the team at Glacier Gateway Motel can arrange all your local activities and sightseeing bookings.
Below is just a sample of some of the attractions and activities available in this stunning World Heritage area.
The Franz Josef Glacier is just a short distance from Glacier Gateway Motel, while Fox Glacier is a relatively short drive away. There are only two experienced and renowned glacier guiding company’s that are permitted to take guided hikes onto the glaciers. Franz Josef Glacier is definitely the gem of New Zealand’s West Coast and a guided hiking tour is the top attraction in the region. There are a number of hiking tours available to suit your level of fitness and time frame, from short walks to extensive longer tramps. Heli-hikes are also available.
Scenic Helicopter Flights
Experience the true, untouched beauty of this rugged, beautiful region with a scenic helicopter flight and snow landing on either Franz Josef or Fox Glaciers. Scenic helicopter flights are also available for the Mt Cook region in modern, turbine helicopters with experienced local pilots. Transport is also available for skiers, climbers, hunters, photographers and film crews to remote areas within the region.
Lake Mapourika Eco-cruises
Lake Mapourika is the largest lake in South Westland and its water reflections are almost as beautiful as those in the world renowned Lake Matheson. Glacier Country Lake Tours operates sightseeing and wildlife eco-cruises across the untouched beauty of Lake Mapourika aboard the Hanna-K vessel. Enjoy a 90 minute lake tour with plenty of viewing windows and covered outdoor areas for enjoying the native flora, fauna and bird life.
Enjoy a guided kayak tour with a stunning backdrop of high mountain peaks and mirror like waters while learning more about the area from your experienced local guide as you easily navigate the tranquil waters of Lake Mapourika. Tours include all equipment along with information about local geology and geography about Westland National Park. Enjoy local flora, fauna and a hive of activity from the abundant bird life in the region.
Genuine Quarter horses and Appaloosa’s will take you on a magical horse trek over easy terrain with a stunning backdrop including Franz Josef Glacier, rainforests and breath-taking mountain ranges. Guided treks suitable for novice to experienced riders, ranging from 1 hour up to full day treks plus evening treks during the summer. All groups are small and go at a pace you are comfortable with. Well behaved horses and experienced guide on each trek.
Glacier Valley Eco Tours
Licenced operator taking guided tours in the South Westland World Heritage area for informative and friendly eco tours. Enjoy tours of Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson and Okarito Wetlands with a relaxed tour designed to suit individuals, couples, family groups or tour parties. Tours range from 3 hours to full day combo’s to suit your travel itinerary and budget. Ideal tours for those keen to learn more about the natural wonders and beauty of this region.
Quad Bike Tours
Enjoy Franz Josef Glacier from a new angle… as you negotiate riverbed, native bush and grassland on your guided Quad Bike tour. Trips take approximately 2 hours return and are suitable for family groups or team building exercises. Tour includes wet weather gear and ATV gumboots. Anyone 16 years and over can drive their own Quad Bike, while 8-15 year olds can come along as a passenger. A great opportunity to follow ancient glacial pathways created by ice and water over the years as you navigate your ATV Quad Bike off the beaten track.
White Heron Sanctuary Tours
This is New Zealand’s only White Heron (Kotuku) nesting colony and allows visitors to view the magnificent Kotuku, Royal Spoonbill, Little Shag and other bird life in their natural environment. Tours are seasonal and take approximately 3 hours. Each tour includes a gentle 20 minute each way jet boat ride and then a native bush walk to view the birds. Tours are run under concession with the Department of Conservation. All tours are accompanied by a guide and wet weather gear is provided.