West Coast Wildlife Centre

Franz Josef Glacier

The purpose of this feel-good attraction is breeding two of the world's rarest kiwi – the rowi and the Haast tokoeka. As well as a chance to hang out with kiwi in their darkened ferny enclosure, there are tuatara (native reptiles) and conservation, glacier and heritage displays. The backstage pass into the incubating and rearing area is a rare opportunity to learn how a species can be brought back from the brink of extinction.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Franz Josef Glacier attractions

1. Peters Pool


Formed by centuries of glacial meltwater, this dainty kettle lake girded by native rainforest is an easy 1km-return walk from the main glacier car park…

2. Sentinel Rock

2.68 MILES

Survey the skies before embarking on the short, steep walk to the top of Sentinel Rock: the lookout reveals either impressive views of the glacier valley,…

3. Fox Glacier Lookout

10.07 MILES

On a clear day, this is one of the best land-based positions from which to see Fox Glacier (though its retreat may mean you see just a snippet).

4. Andris Apse Okarito Gallery

11.36 MILES

Okarito is home to world-class landscape photographer Andris Apse. His precisely composed gallery showcases his beautiful works, which are printed on-site…

5. Lake Matheson

11.54 MILES

On a good day, the famous 'mirror lake' reflects extraordinary views of distant Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman in its forest-shaded waters. The best time to…

6. Petr Hlavacek Gallery

12.62 MILES

Admire the gallery space of Czech-born local Petr Hlavacek, regarded by many as one of NZ's finest landscape photographers, and buy a print if you're…

7. Peak Viewpoint

14.18 MILES

It's a very long way from the actual glacier, but this parking area provides a surprisingly good view over fields to Fox Glacier (weather permitting)…

8. Gillespies Beach

17.9 MILES

Follow Cook Flat Rd for its full 21km (the final 12km is narrow, winding and unsealed) to this remote beach, a ruggedly beautiful, wind-blasted length of…