Glaciers are disappearing at a rapid rate due to climate change. If seeing a glacier in-person happens to be on your bucket list, head to New Zealand soon, before they are gone. Glacier Valley Eco Tours, owned and operated by husband and wife Cliff & Tash run a one-of-a-kind adventure tour company. The packages range from half day to full-day, to combo tours. These guided easy nature walks are for all ages in Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier and Okarito on the West Coast of New Zealand

The Okarito Boat and Walk Tour; All images courtesy of Glacier Valley Eco Tours

The Okarito Boat and Walk Tour

Okarito lagoon is New Zealand’s largest unmodified wetland area – surrounded by a national park and rainforest, home to a variety of wading and forest birds. The Okarito Boat and Walk Tour features a two hour comprehensive look at the wetlands with visually astounding images of the rainforest and mountain landscapes, and an amazingly diverse range of bird life.

Twin Lakes Tour

Or take a Twin Lakes Tour and visit two of Glacier Country’s most stunning mirror lakes in one day – Lake Matheson (see below image) and Lake Gault. Lake Gault is Glacier Country’s newest walking trail that takes you partway around the Lake Matheson track and then gradually climbs 200 m through ancient podocarp forest with several small stream crossings. The lookout spot offers stirring panoramic views of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana, Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. On a still day, these peaks are perfectly reflected on the surface of Lake Gault.

Twin Lakes Tour

On the Franz Josef Glacier tour, hikers will be guided as close as you can currently get to the Franz Josef Glacier on foot. Soak up the incredible views of Franz Josef Glacier (Ka Roimata O Hine Hukatere) in Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Grab a photo of amazing glacier, waterfall and mountain views, while more experienced hikers can choose more advanced treks. 

Fox Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier + Fox Glacier Combo Tour

Of course if  you want more glaciers, Franz Josef Glacier + Fox Glacier Combo Tour may be a better package for you. Walk through a regenerating rainforest and prepare to be amazed, as you grab a glimpse of the magnificent Franz Josef Glacier. This beautiful track runs through the lush historic glaciated rainforest in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, with focal points of huge rata, rimu trees and native mosses. Learn the differences and similarities between two of the biggest glaciers in New Zealand.

Another more expansive experience where you can visit two must-see locations in New Zealand is the Fox Glacier + Lake Matheson Combo Tour. The Fox Glacier area is cradled within the UNESCO World Heritage site. Start off through a beautiful trail that meanders through the lush historic glaciated rainforest in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, with focal points of huge rata, rimu trees and moss and views of upper Fox Glacier, the Fox neve and Mt Tasman – one of New Zealand’s highest peaks.

Lake Matheson

All the tours offer stunning views. Keep us posted if you decide to take one, and send photos – one may be featured on ETG. Glacier Valley Eco Tours has been featured on Good Morning America (Feb 2023). Visit the website for more info – https://www.glaciervalley.co.nz/


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