Have you ever been somewhere that truly surprised you, and pleasantly so? Somewhere you wish you could have spent more time exploring, or perhaps somewhere you’re already planning to visit again? For Steve and me, Franz Josef Village is one of those places! Even under overcast skies, it was beautiful. Imagine it on a sunny day! Here are some of the reasons we think YOU should put Franz Josef Village on your “must go” list for your trip to New Zealand!
1. To Hike on a Glacier
How many places in the world can you hike on a glacier? Only a few! Until you see a glacier up-close and personal, you can’t really imagine that perfect, one-of-a-kind shade of blue. You can take an epic helicopter ride to Franz Josef Glacier and hike with a knowledgeable guide—cramp-ons included! Unfortunately, we did not give ourselves time for this activity, but here’s a a picture from Alaska in 2007 for a sneak peek at what it’s like to hike on a glacier!
2. To Learn a Thing or Two about Glaciers
Having grown up in the American South, I did not have much contact with glaciers. Franz Josef Glacier in particular was once much larger than it is now, and at one time it was growing 70 centimeters per day! In 2008 it started retreating, but recently it has started advancing again! I had no idea glaciers were so volatile. I can’t wait to visit again and see how it changes between now and then!
3. For the Natural Beauty
New Zealand is one of the most strikingly beautiful countries I have ever visited, and Franz Josef is a big reason why! Even in winter the lanscape is lush and green. And yet there are also areas of other-worldly landscapes with sheer rock faces boasting tall and stunning waterfalls. Everywhere we looked, we were amazed by the natural beauty that earned the country its slogan, “Pure New Zealand.”
4. For the Hot Pools
This is something else we didn’t leave ourselves time for, but wish we had and will do next time! After days of hiking, a soak in the hot pools will definitely be the right thing to do! To find out more, check out their website!
5. Because It’s a Hiker’s Paradise
This is the main reason why Steve and I want to go back to Franz Josef Village ASAP! It is an absolute haven for hikers of any level. There are beautiful hikes all around, ranging from a 30 minute return trip to a full 8-hour return! We hiked to the Franz Josef Glacier viewing point with several dozen others, and the next morning we hiked to Callery Gorge and had it all to ourselves the whole time!
Are you ready to plan your own trip to Franz Josef? We recommend it!
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