Romantic Experiences in Franz Josef Glacier
No wonder so many couples include Franz Josef in their road trip or honeymoon itinerary of New Zealand. Home to some of the most commanding scenery in the country, from the neve of the Franz Josef Glacier to the shores of the Tasman Sea, Franz Josef is certainly an endearing destination. Enhance the romance further with some of the best ways to experience the glacier landscape for couples using this list of romantic things to do in Franz Josef.
For more things to do in Franz Josef for couples, as well as travel tips and accommodation recommendations, check out The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Franz Josef and the 5 Best Romantic Accommodations in Franz Josef.
1. Enjoy an Intimate Scenic Flight and Snow Landing on the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers
Yep, Franz Josef has a lot of options when it comes to helicopter flights, especially as they get you to the hard-to-reach places of the West Coast glaciers and the Southern Alps. A scenic helicopter flight with The Helicopter Line (check out their page on Viator, Tripadvisor or KKday) or HeliServices.NZ (on Viator, Tripadvisor or Klook) is a fantastic way to not only see the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers but also land on the upper snowfields of either one of the glaciers. While doing something like a heli-hike with Franz Josef Glacier Guides/The Helicopter Line (also on Viator, Tripadvisor and KKday) is a more popular way to see the glacier, we find that a helicopter scenic flight with a snowfield landing is a much more remote and intimate experience, appropriate for a more “romantic” way to see the glaciers.
Location: The Helicopter Line – 20 Main Road. Heliservices.NZ – 29 Main Road.
2. Paddle in a Kayak Together on the Beautiful Lake Mapourika
Another exceptional experience for couples in Franz Josef is teaming up in a double kayak and gliding across the reflective waters of Lake Mapourika. Get mesmerising photos of this glassy lake with panoramic reflections of rainforest and the Southern Alps on a kayaking tour with Franz Josef Wilderness Tours. Their classic three-hour tour is a fantastic option to paddle around the lake and down narrow creeks, while the four-hour kayak and hike adventure allows you also explore the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary on foot. Find out more about Franz Josef Wilderness Tours and read reviews on Viator, Tripadvisor and Klook.
Location: Depart either 63 Cron Street, Franz Josef town or the Lake Mapourika Recreational Area, Waiho, approximately 9km (6 miles) from Franz Josef town centre.
3. Do One of Franz Josef’s Romantic Walks
For couples on a budget or who just want to enjoy something independent together, take a romantic stroll in the rainforest or a challenging hike to the glacier valley mountaintops. Franz Josef is surrounded by fantastic walks, with highlights being the Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk (1h30mins return) and Peters Pools (20 minutes return). We also like the Okarito Lagoon with various walks to see the rare and majestic white herons among other native birds. Take your pick from the mentioned walks and more in the 10 Best Walks in Franz Josef, while more free experiences can be found in the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Franz Josef.
Location: Walk locations can be found here.
4. Tackle Rugged Glacial Terrain on an ATV Together
When the weather inevitably takes a rainy turn, at least you have more amazing adventures to explore the Franz Josef landscape together. For instance, check out the epic ATV tours with Across Country Quad Bikes. The two-seater quad bikes allow you to wrap your arms around your loved one as he/she blasts through the rugged terrain left behind from the Franz Josef Glacier, including rainforest, riverbeds, grasslands, mud and more! The experience lasts approximately two hours. Find out more about Across Country Quad Bikes’ tours on Viator or Tripadvisor. Plus, check out more rainy day options in the 10 Things to Do in Franz Josef on a Rainy Day.
Location: 30 Main Road, Franz Josef town.
5. Soak in Soothing Private Hot Pools in the Rainforest…
On the other end of the rainy day spectrum, couples can enjoy a relaxing timeout with an indulgent soak in the Glacier Hot Pools. The private pool experience is an irresistible option for couples, a secluded hot pool nestled in rainforest exclusively for you and your lover. After the 45-minute sessions, you can continue soaking in the main pools which are included in the rate. Check out the Glacier Hot Pools on Viator or Tripadvisor.
Location: 63 Cron Street, Franz Josef town.
6. … Or in a Private Cedar Hot Tub
An alternative hot pool experience in Franz Josef is the Waiho Hot Tubs, ideal if the other hot pools are closed because, well, there’s a global pandemic. Enjoy an indulgent private wood-fired hot pool experience nestled among the dense Franz Josef rainforest. Bring your own nibbles and drinks and choose to add Epsom salts or lavender hydrosol to your pool.
Location: 64B Cron Street, Franz Josef town.
7. Carve Each Other a Greenstone Pendant
A real hidden gem in Franz Josef, the Te Koha Gallery is a jade carving studio where you can carve your own varients of pounamu (greenstone/jade) including nephrite jade, tangi wai, aotea, rhodonite. In Maori tradition, jade carvings are meant to be gifted to someone else, not carved for yourself, so this is the perfect opportunity to gift each other a memorable souvenir while sharing an experience. Carving lasts between one to two hours depending on the design. Learn more about jade carvings and their meanings here.
Location: 69 Waiho Flat Road, Franz Josef town.
8. Indulge in a Couples Package at Amaia Luxury Spa
Indulge the senses in a shared experience in a couples retreat at Amaia Luxury Spa. Part of the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier but open to the public, this spa complex offers an extensive menu of massages to facials. One of their offers is a “Couples Retreat” where you can choose any of their spa packages that range from 135 to 180 minutes to share with that special someone. Their treatments specialise in New Zealand manuka honey products said to have a wide range of healing properties. See more experiences like this in the 9 Luxury Experiences in Franz Josef.
Location: 36 Main Road, Franz Josef town.
9. Treat Your Loved One to a Romantic Meal at Franz Josef’s Restaurants
A romantic getaway is not complete without a gastronomical experience. Luckily, Franz Josef has the perfect blend of characterful restaurants and fine dining for a romantic evening out. Some of the most romantic include the casual yet sophisticated Alice May. Learn about the fascinating story of Alice May written on the placemats while you wait for your New Zealand beer or regional wine along with homemade traditional Kiwi cuisine. Alternatively, amp things up a notch with a fine dining experience in a private gazebo amidst lush native rainforest. The Canopy Restaurant of the luxury Te Waonui Forest Retreat offers a five-course degustation dining experience either privately for couples or in their elevated restaurant setting.
Location: Alice May – 30 Cron Street. The Canopy Restaurant – 3 Wallace Street.
More Romantic Activities in Franz Josef
That’s it for our romantic things to do in Franz Josef for couples. For more Franz Josef experiences that don’t necessarily fall under the “romantic” category but are just as breathtaking, check out the following guides:
- 10 Best Things to Do in Franz Josef
- 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Franz Josef
- 9 Best Luxury Experiences in Franz Josef
- 7 Best Things to Do in Fox Glacier
Finally, find even more couples’ road trip tips in The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to New Zealand. Plus, plan the rest of your travel around the South Island using the South Island Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: Two Weeks or South Island Honeymoon & Romance Itinerary: One Week.