How long is the Franz Josef Glacier Walk

How long is the Franz Josef Glacier Walk? 

The Franz Josef Glacier Walk is known for its spectacular views—this iconic glacier is a must-visit destination for adventure lovers. But before you lace up your hiking boots, it’s essential to know what you’re in for, especially how long it takes.

So how long is the Franz Josef Glacier Walk? Let’s find out!

How long is the Franz Josef Glacier Walk?

A basic guided Franz Josef Glacier walk is approximately 6 km long and takes at least 1 ½  hours to complete. 

However, you can choose from various Franz Josef Glacier Walks, including simple tracks that take only 20 minutes to complete to challenging glacier treks that can take up to 8 hours. 

Types of Franz Josef Glacier Walks

Here are a few of the Franz Josef Glacier Walks we’ve done ourselves, and if we made it to the end, then so can you!

The walks below can be completed without a guide, if you prefer to navigate through Franz Josef Glacier solo or with family or friends. 

  • Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk: This easy 1.5-hour walk takes you through a stunning rainforest to a viewpoint overlooking the glacier.
  • Sentinel Rock Walk: This short 20-minute climb offers panoramic views of the glacier and the surrounding mountains.
  • Alex Knob Track: This moderate 4-hour hike takes you to a high vantage point with views of the glacier, the Southern Alps, and the Tasman Sea.
  • Callery Gorge Walk: This easy 1-hour walk takes you through a narrow gorge to a waterfall.
  • Canavans Knob Walk: This moderate 2-hour hike takes you to a viewpoint overlooking the glacier and the Waiho River.

Some challenging options that you would need a guided Franz Josef Glacier Walk tour for are: 

  • Heli-hike tours: This type of tour is the most popular among visitors. You’ll be flown to a higher altitude, where you’ll start your walk on the glacier with a professional guide, and the tour duration varies from 3 to 4 hours.
  • Ice climbing and glacier trekking:  These tours suit you if you enjoy a challenge. The trek is around 8 hours, requiring a high level of fitness and experience.

Safety & Guided Walk Recommendations 

Since the Franz Josef Glacier Walk can be strenuous, it requires a moderate level of fitness. The trail includes steep and uneven terrain, river crossings, and rockfalls.

Every time we take on the Franz Josef Glacier Walk, we wear sturdy hiking boots, warm waterproof clothing, and a backpack with water, snacks, and sunscreen. It can get a bit drafty during the walk, so bring a light jacket if you get cold easily.

We also recommend using a certified guide if you’re planning on trekking up the glacier, so they can provide you with safety gear, and information about the glacier’s hazards.

We recommend this because the glacier constantly changes. Here are some companies we’ve used to take a safe & guided trek of the Franz Josef Glacier. 

Franz Josef Glacier Walk — Guided Tour Companies
Franz Josef Glacier Guides

Address: Te Ao Marama, Glacier Base, 63 cron street Franz Josef Glacier Franz Josef Glacier, 7886, New Zealand

Contact Info: +64 3 752 0763

Hours: Monday to Sunday - 7 AM to 4 PM

• A variety of walks to suit all fitness levels, from the easy 45-minute Glacier Valley Walk to the more challenging 4-hour Helicopter Hike
Glacier Country Helicopters

Address: 10 Main Road, Franz Josef / Waiau 7886, New Zealand

Contact Info: +64 3 752 0203

Hours: Monday to Sunday - 8:30 AM to 5 PM

• A variety of helicopter tours, including scenic flights, glacier landings, and even heli-hiking
Glacier Valley Eco Tours

Address: 22 Main Road SH6 Franz Josef Glacier Franz Josef glacier, 7886, New Zealand

Contact Info: +64 800 925 586

Hours: Monday to Sunday - 8:30 AM to 5 PM

• A more personalized glacier walk experience with plenty of walks and hikes of all different levels