Travel Video: Franz Josef Glacier Trekking

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I finally got to cross another “big one” off my New Zealand bucket list — I went hiking on a glacier at last.

Located in Westland National Park on NZ's South Island, the Franz Josef Glacier stretches down 12 kilometers from the mountains into temperate rainforest. It certainly is unique, and I consider hiking it to be one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences that I won't soon forget.

I booked a half-day guided trek with Franz Josef Glacier Guides, and eventually set out onto the ice in a group of about 10 people. This hike was by no means easy — Franz is a big block of steep, slippery ice, after all — but it was so worth it.

Check out the video here, and stay tuned for a full post (photos, story, glacier hiking tips) on the adventure on Wednesday.

What do you think?


  • Phil says:

    This just brought my internet connec to its knees, but it was worth it. Watching a video of people hiking around a glacier is therapeutic in 100+ degree heat ๐Ÿ™‚

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m sorry that my video killed your Internet… but at the same time I’m glad you watched and enjoyed it!

      I feel your pain on the heat – it’s in the 90s right now in Ohio. Needless to say, it was pretty therapeutic making this video, too!

  • Matt says:

    Fantastic video! Glad the weather somewhat cleared for you – love that view down the valley. Brings me back to Franz!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks so much, Matt! I think this is my favorite travel video I’ve made so far!

      I’m really happy the weather cleared up, too — it would have been an amazing experience regardless, but being able to see down that valley and up to the top of the glacier was great.

  • Dean says:

    Ah this brings back memories :). Franz Joseph is amazing. I did a “helihike” on Fox Glacier in NZ. Helihike meaning I took a helicopter flight, landed on the glacier and then hiked around on the glacier for a few hours. Absolutely beautiful and going through ice caves etc you can see amazing colours in the ice. Although the glaciers in NZ are small to what I’ve seen in The Himalayas, I think they are quite spectacular.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I really wanted to do a helihike, since I’ve heard you get to go much higher up on the glacier and spend more time on the ice. But it was simply too pricey. The half-day hike was still fantastic, though, and I’d recommend it to anyone!

      Thanks for checking this out, and sharing your own glacier memories. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Great video and I can’t wait to read more about your experience on the glacier. I loved the blue color and the shots that showed how small you were in relation to the glacier.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks, Debbie! It was pretty unreal hiking around on the glacier – some of my photos even take me by surprise! Check back tomorrow for my full glacier post…

  • This is an awesome video!! I’ve seen numerous shows on this glacier but loved your up close footage. You seriously don’t want to fall down the wrong hole on this thing though! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thank you, Jeremy! I’m really happy with this video, so I’m glad others are enjoying it, too! And no, you definitely don’t want to stray off the path or fall down any holes on Franz! It wouldn’t be a very pretty ending, and people HAVE died up there…

  • Tijmen says:

    Looks like a big adventures walking on the glacier, you do seem to have run in the classis westcoast weather ๐Ÿ˜› Twice I was planning on climbing the glacier, but both times there was a storm and they wouldn’t go up there…. Another good reason to one day make it back to NZ ๐Ÿ™‚

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Definitely a big adventure! And also definitely classic West Coast weather. Haha. But, it did clear up some once we were on the ice, and we were able to see all the way down the valley. So I can’t complain!

      Too bad you missed out on Franz. It really is an amazing experience. But, like you said, what a great reason to go back one day!

  • That’s why it’s a famous destination, beautiful New Zealand, the land of Radical sports and beautiful landscapes. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I’m a Brazilian tour guide.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      You definitely have it right with “radical sports and beautiful landscapes” — that’s New Zealand, for sure! Thanks for reading/watching.

  • Georgia says:

    Dear Amanda,

    HI, many thanks for sharing that great video ๐Ÿ™‚ I will be in Christchurch in May 2012. I am very keen to visit Franz Joseph and Fox Glacier. May i know how do we get to Franz Joseph / Fox Glaciers from CHristchurch? Does it require another flight or we can take the bus?

    Many thanks

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Hi Georgia! I will send you an e-mail with this answer as well, but no, you do not need to fly from Christchurch to Franz Josef or Fox. In fact, doing so would probably be incredibly expensive, since neither glacier town really has a proper airport.

      But, as for buses, I’m fairly certain that none of the major bus lines go direct from Christchurch to Franz Josef, since there’s no good way to cross the mountains in between the two cities. You’d be better off getting a bus or train from Christchurch to Greymouth, and then a bus down to Franz Josef or Fox from there. Even if you had a rental car, there are only so many mountain passes through the Southern Alps, and I don’t know for certain if there is a direct route from Christchurch to the glaciers.

      So my suggestion would be to head over the Greymouth, and then work your way down the West Coast to the glaciers. It’s a beautiful, wild part of New Zealand, and you definitely won’t regret seeing it!

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