Walking in Paradise
The moment our rail tours enter Westland Tai Poutinin National Park in Franz Josef, true adventure begins. Be immersed in the picturesque wilderness, perfect for walking and hiking.
With ancient temperate rainforests, rugged mountains, glacial valleys, and pristine coastline, there is a walk for every ability. In fact, this small town offers about 30 different walking tracks ranging from short scenic tracks to challenging multi-day hikes.
Read on to discover a few of our favourite trails.
Before you head out...
Prepare yourself before embarking on the trail by delving into the Department of Conservation's website, where you can explore detailed information about the walks, weather conditions to consider, suitable footwear and clothing recommendations, as well as track conditions and closures.
Better yet, why not also head to the Visitor's Centre, where a welcoming team awaits to provide invaluable insider knowledge. They can assist you in planning the most suitable route based on various factors such as current conditions, your fitness level, available time, and daylight hours.
RETURN: EASY 30 MIN | 1.8 KM
This leisurely stroll meanders through the lush terraces covered in vegetation at the southern part of the Franz Josef Township.
As evening dawns, explore this walk to see the glow-worms hanging from the large fallen trees beside the track.
Tatare Tunnels Track
RETURN: EASY 80 MIN | 3.6 km
Discover forgotten tunnel systems created by pioneers from the 19th century gold-mining era. This old tunnel system supplied water to Franz Josef from 1911 until 1982.
Set off for a gentle climb behind Franz Josef Waiau Township, passing water supply pipes and tanks before dropping into a scenic view of Tatare Gorge. Make sure you bring a torch, water-resistant shoes, a raincoat, and your sense of adventure to explore the tunnel!
Waiho River is the backdrop for many of the Franz Josef trails. Known for its distinctive milky-blue colour due to particles of glacial flour suspended in the water, this important river plays a vital role in shaping the landscape of the area.
Witness the beauty of this river that originated from snow and ice melt as it flows from Franz Josef Glacier down the Waiho Valley before emptying into the Tasman Sea.
RETURN: EASY 1 HR 20MIN | 5.2 KM
Journey into the ancient rainforest to follow an old gold mining water race. Descending to the historic Callery Gorge Bridge, be immersed in the blue waters of Callery Gorge.
This trail is perfect for those who enjoy stunning rivers, gorges and historic relics.
Explore Robert's Point Track
Although a commendable level of physical fitness is required for the Robert's Point Track, the vistas of the glacier are truly spectacular.
Robert's Point Track
RETURN: INTERMEDIATE 5HR 20 MIN
Following Waiho/Franz Josef Glacier Valley, this trail traverses rock formations shaped by ice and passes numerous small streams before reaching a vantage point above the glacial ice. After approximately an hour, the path emerges onto smooth rock formations at Hende's Hut which is an impeccable place to have lunch.
Along the way, enjoy scrubland, suspension bridge and views of glaciers, rock walls, waterfalls and majestic mountain peaks from Robert's Point.
West Coast Train
Travelling to the West Coast by train couldn't be easier or more beautiful than aboard the TranzAlpine.
Weaving through the peaks of the Southern Alps, the TranzAlpine Christchurch to Greymouth train ranks among the best scenic train journeys in the world.
From Greymouth, you can simply rent a car or campervan and explore Franz Josef and the West Coast at your leisure. Alternatively, you can book one of our short breaks or tours and let us take care of everything for you.
Getting to Franz Josef walks
You can travel on the world-famous TranzAlpine train to the West Coast as part of one of our packages or tours.
Discover the West Coast
From idyllic lakes to geological wonders, discover why New Zealand's West Coast is such a spectacular place to visit: