We’re pretty lucky when it comes to incredible scenery. In any given day you can experience beautiful coastlines and beaches, lush native bushland, crystal clear lakes and towering snow-capped mountains. Sounds like everything right? Well not quite as there are also stunning glaciers to seek and discover!

To help you out in your glacial quest we thought we’d highlight and describe our favourite 6 New Zealand glaciers that you can visit and be mesmerised by!

1. FOX GLACIER

One of the most accessible and arguably the most famous glacier in New Zealand is Fox Glacier. Situated in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park it is approximately 13 km long and flows out into the River Fox. During the last ice age, the ice from the glacier reached all the way to the coastline! It’s the country’s most commercially guided glacier with heaps of tour operators and opportunities to visit. Whether it’s exploring the stunning blue ice caves and deep crevasses or viewing it from the air with operators like Air Safaris and Fox Franz Heliservices (both GO Play partners) you’ll be in for a memorable experience indeed.

 

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2. FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER

The Franz Josef Glacier is considered New Zealand’s glacial gem which can be found on the West Coast of the South Island. This panoramic 12 km glacier is a UNESCO World Heritage Area, giving you an indication of its beauty and significance. Like Fox Glacier, Franz Josef is one of the biggest tourist attractions on the West Coast for obvious reasons. It’s a stunning place to visit even if you don’t make it up onto the ice itself. The guided tours are great fun though and usually last 2-3 hours during which you may even spot lakes, rivers, forests and beaches too.

 

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3. TASMAN GLACIER

The third glacier on our list is nothing short of a whopper. The Tasman Glacier is 23 km long and gets up to 4 km wide and 600 metres thick at points and is easily New Zealand’s largest. The tourism sector isn’t quite as prominent here as it is the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers but you can still do seasonal heli-hikes and guided tours from July – September. If you’re an experienced alpine hiker you can also choose to hike the Ball Hut Route, a 3-4 hour track that gives you awesome views of the largest glacier in the country.

 

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4. ROB ROY GLACIER

If you’re in and around the beautiful Lake Wanaka area then you’ll want to make sure you have a day free in your schedule to see the equally beautiful Rob Roy Glacier. Situated in the Mount Aspiring National Park, the glacier is much smaller than the others mentioned but makes up for it in style by the way it hangs dramatically off the edge of Rob Roy peak. The Rob Roy Track is a great way to see it in all its glory and is touted as one of the best one-day hikes in the country. The 3-4 hour return route is well marked, easy and incredibly enjoyable.

 

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5. HOOKER GLACIER

The Hooker Glacier is another that sits on the slopes of the alps in the South Island and is around 11 km long. Much like the Rob Roy Glacier, there is a fantastic walk that you can do to see the glacier in the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, called the Hooker Valley Track. The route is a 3-hour return journey with some amazing scenery along the way. The sight you see at the end of the track, however, is definitely the real reward. Standing before the peak of the mighty Aoraki/Mount Cook, the glacier itself and the terminal lake (often with floating icebergs from the glacier) you’ll be left speechless by the sheer magnificence of it all.

 

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6. MURCHISON GLACIER

The 18 km Murchison Glacier is situated on the eastern part of Mount Cook in the Southern Alps. Its meltwater, which feeds the Murchison River, actually flows under the Hooker Glacier – an interesting little fact. Boasting of bowls, peaks, icefalls and head-walls, this area provides a great opportunity for the skiing and ski mountaineering types among you. Because of this, it’s a less ‘touristy’ glacier and mostly attracts the hard-core climbers and skiers. If that sounds like a bit of you then the Murchison Glacier could be just what you’re looking for.

 

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New Zealand Glaciers for the ultimate epic experience!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our short tribute to the 6 best glaciers in New Zealand. They’re well worth the effort if you’re visiting and will leave you with great photos and even better memories!

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