By Lou Sanson, DOC Director-General
The Franz Josef Glacier is a popular spot for visitors to experience a dynamic glacial environment within easy driving and walking distance from the main highway.
One of the real ongoing challenges at Franz Josef Glacier is how we maintain glacier access in a dramatically receding glacial environment.
Franz Josef has around 500,000 visitors per year, with peak visitation at 4,000 per day in late December and early January.
Our team have come up with some novel approaches to deal with visitor safety, while enabling access.Track alignment is regularly done over the rock ridges near the glacier to enable good viewing.
Visitors will also meet a DOC Glacier Ranger (an alloy cut out of Services Ranger Mark Martini) which conveys important visitor and safety information. The cutout of the DOC Glacier Ranger has started to become a visitor attraction in its own right, with many visitors stopping to get their photo taken with Mark.
Visit Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier is located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on the West Coast, 5 kilometres from Franz Josef township.