Franz Josef Glacier
Image: Shellie Evans | ©

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


With the reopening of storm damaged State Highway 6 late last week, South Westland Rangers have been busy with the increase in visitor numbers to Glacier Country.

Date:  23 December 2019

Along with State Highway 6, the Fox and Franz Josef Glacier Valley tracks were damaged but were repaired in time for the opening with a massive effort from DOC staff and contractors.

Owen Kilgour, South Westland Acting Operations Manager says a new viewpoint and track has been constructed in the Franz Josef Valley. And on the Fox Glacier South Side, a new section of dual use track has been constructed to enable walking and cycling to the glacier viewpoints.

“The new viewpoint in the Franz Valley has a great view of the glacier and also highlights the beautiful waterfalls and rock formations that make this valley unique.

“The work in the Fox Valley has been funded by the International Visitor Levy, which is helping us create memorable experiences for people who want to experience more of the wealth of nature we have in South Westland. 

“We are very pleased that the State Highway is once again open and visitors to Glacier Country can enjoy the world-class experiences our region is famous for.”


Between 600 and 700 visitors a day have been passing through the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre. As soon as the road opened, visitor numbers immediately increased from a low of around 90 people a day while the State Highway was being repaired.

South Westland contains a multitude of opportunities for people who want to experience New Zealand’s unique natural environment. The DOC blog details some activities recommended by Westland Tai Poutini Visitor Centre staff.


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