Franz Josef

 

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$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
$248.44
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$260
Sold Out
Sold Out
$260
$260
$260
$260
Sold Out
$260
$260
$260
$260
$260
Available now Limited availability on request Sold out
1 Bedroom Apartment

1 Bedroom Apartment

a fully equipped kitchen with oven, cooktop, microwave, pots, pans, crockery and utensils filtered water tap in kitchen separate bedrooms electric blankets on all beds dining area with table and chairs lounge area with two sofas, coffee table and 32" LCD flatscreen TV Sky TV with Sky Movies, Sky Sport, Discovery Channel, CNN and Disney Channel for our younger guests heat pump / air conditioning bathroom with beautiful large open tiled shower glass sliding door in lounge area opens to large deck area with seating all villas are non-smoking.
1 Bedroom Chalet

1 Bedroom Chalet

Perfect for couples or travelling companions, our one bedroom chalets offer all the luxury features of our 2 bedroom chalets.
   

Check availabilty of Franz Josef, West Coast apartments. Reset your dates in the red box
 

  • Glenfern Villas

    State Highway 6, Franz Josef Glacier 
    Image below shows a stand alone Villa set within bush with views towards the mountains.  
    Glenfern Villas
  • Franz Alpine Retreat Apartmets

    2 Donovan Drive , State Highway 6, Franz Josef Glacier.
    Brand new 2 bedroom apartments, just 3 km from the centre of the village.  
    Jag Escape Apartments

Sightseeing

  • Take a guided walk or helihike on the glacier, half day

  • Visit the Hukawai Glacier Centre and try climbing the indoor ice wall, 2 hours

  • Visit the Kotuku (White Heron) nesting colony, 3 hours

  • See the “Flowing West” film on the giant Helimax screen, 20 minutes

  • Walk around the “Mirror Lake” Lake Matheson for views of the towering peaks, 1 hour

  • Kayak the stunning Okarito Lagoon

  • Visit the seal colony at Gillespie’s Beach, 40 minutes drive

Drive Times

Christchurch – Franz Josef, 5.5 hours
Queenstown – Franz Josef, 5.5 hours
Fox Glacier – Franz Josef, 30 minutes
Moana – Franz Josef, 2.5 hours

West Coast Population: 350
Region: Westland

Franz Josef and its near neighbour Fox Glacier are in the pristine World Heritage environment of primeval rainforests, lakes, mountains and rivers.  These living remnants of the last ice age carve a spectacular landscape on their way down from the vast snow fields of the Southern Alps to their terminal face just 300 metres above sea level.  Whilst most glaciers have been retreating, these continue to reach into the forests.  The glacier region is also home to New Zealand’s only nesting colony of Kotuku or White Heron.  These graceful birds can be seen nesting over the summer months.

History and Culture

Before the Europeans arrived the region was sparsely occupied by Maoris, mainly refugees from the tribal wars in the East.  Only the need for safety attracted them to this empty, impenetrable land.  Abel Tasman first encountered Westland in 1642 but it was not until 1859 that any ship's log recorded the sight of the great glaciers.  Explorers seeking fertile farming land and geologists drawn by the wilderness landscapes explored and named the glaciers but South Westland's solitude remained almost unbroken.

Gold, discovered in 1864, brought huge changes.  Okarito, Five Mile and Gillespies gold towns boomed with around 16,000 hopeful diggers - some vast fortunes were made but a mere 18 months later most miners were to drift away, disillusioned, leaving a hardy few to continue to work the beaches and gorges.  Those who stayed eventually looked beyond the gold to seek a living from the land.  These early settlers turned to farming, saw milling and offering accommodation and guidance to tourists.

Earliest travellers stayed in guestrooms in local farmers' houses.  Eventually hotels were built but the warm and friendly atmosphere remained.  Enterprising young men saw a future in operating excursions up on the ice and by the 1900’s tracks and bridges were built to provide access onto the glaciers.  Formal clothing and inadequate equipment did not deter the early visitors.  With a few temporary nails in the soles of their shoes, ladies and gentlemen adorned in long dresses and bow ties were soon regularly exploring the glaciers carefully assisted by early mountain guides.

Julius von Haast, geologist and explorer, named Franz Josef Glacier in 1863, after the Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Approximately 7,000 years old, and a remnant of a much older and larger glacier which originally swept right to the sea, Franz Josef Glacier extends 12 kilometres from its three feeder glaciers in the high snow fields of the Alps.  Today the terminal face is a mere 19 kilometres from the sea and just 5 kilometres from the township.  The 1946 New Zealand Peace Stamp issue which commemorated the end of World War II, featured on its nine penny stamp the view of Franz Josef Glacier from the altar window of St James Anglican Church.  This historic church was dedicated in 1931.  By 1954 the glacier had retreated so that it was no longer visible from the church.  The advance of the glacier brought it back into view in 1997.

Early Maori called this place Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere - The Tears of the Avalanche Girl (Hinehukatere).  According to Maori legend, Hinehukatere loved climbing in the mountains and persuaded her lover, Tawe, to climb with her.  Tawe fell from the peaks to his death.  Hinehukatere was broken hearted and her many, many tears froze to form the glacier.

 For more information about Franz Josef Glacier and the region click through to our Discover New Zealand West Coast Region section

 

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