How to Plan a Romantic Getaway or Honeymoon to Franz Josef Glacier
As you’ll notice, most of our South Island honeymoon itineraries include Franz Josef and for good reason. It’s home to some of the most majestic landscapes in the country, from the sprawling verdant rainforests to the grandiose rivers of ice that are the West Coast glaciers.
In this honeymoon and romantic getaway guide to Franz Josef, we share with you the most romantic ways to experience the glacier and the landscape left in its trail. Whatever your budget or whether you want to relax or adventure together, we go through some diverse yet exciting options in this guide. Not forgetting listing of some cute places to stay. Check them all out in the guide to Franz Josef for couples.
Romantic Activities in Franz Josef
- Enjoy an intimate scenic flight and snow landing on the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers with The Helicopter Line or HeliServices.NZ
- Paddle in a kayak together on the beautiful Lake Mapourika with Franz Josef Wilderness Tours
- Do one of Franz Josef‘s romantic walks
- Tackle the rugged glacial terrain on an ATV together with Across Country Quad Bikes
- Soak in soothing private hot pools in the rainforest at Glacier Hot Pools or Waiho Hot Tubs
- Carve each other a greenstone pendant at Te Koha Gallery
- Indulge in a couples package at Amaia Luxury Spa
- Treat your loved one to a romantic meal at Franz Josef’s restaurants.
For more details on each experience, take a look at the 8 Most Romantic Things to Do in Franz Josef for Couples.
Romantic Adventure Activities
From free walks to lavish helicopter flights, there are romantic experiences in Franz Josef to suit a range of honeymoon/romantic getaway budgets.
Helicopter Flights with Snow Landings
Starting with something pretty epic, 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 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 thing to do in Franz Josef, we find that a helicopter scenic flight with a snowfield landing instead is a much more remote and intimate experience, appropriate for a more “romantic” way to see the glaciers.
Kayaking on Lake Mapourika
Another exceptional experience for couples 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.
The Best Walks for Couples in Franz Josef
For couples on a budget, or not for that matter, enjoy something independent together like 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. Check out more information on the mentioned walks and more in the 10 Best Walks in Franz Josef.
And for more adventures for couples, see the 8 Romantic Activities in Franz Josef for Couples.
Romantic All-Weather Activities
Luckily, there are some fantastic all-weather activities for couples to enjoy in Franz Josef for when the weather inevitably takes a rainy turn.
For couples who love to adventure together, check out the epic ATV tours with Across Country Quad Bikes. The two-seater quad bikes allow you to wrap your arms around your love one as he/she blasts through the rugged terrain left behind from the Franz Josef Glacier, including rainforest, riverbeds, grasslands, mud and more! Find out more about Across Country Quad Bikes’ tours on Viator or Tripadvisor.
Glacier Hot Pools
On the other end of the spectrum, enjoy a relaxing timeout with that special someone 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. Alternatively, try the wood-fired Waiho Hot Tubs for another private hot pool experience.
Carve Your Own Greenstone
A real hidden gem in Franz Josef, the Te Koha Gallery is a jade carving studio where you can carve your own nephrite jade, tangi wai, aotea, rhodonite stone. In Maori tradition, jade pendants are meant to be gifted to someone, not carved yourself, so this is the perfect opportunity to gift each other a memorable souvenir while sharing an experience. Carving lasts between one-two hours depending on the design.
For more rainy day ideas, head to the 10 Things to Do in Franz Josef on a Rainy Day.
Romantic Restaurants in Franz Josef
A romantic retreat is not complete without some gastronomical experiences to go with it. Luckily, Franz Josef has the perfect blend of characterful restaurants and fine dining for a romantic evening out.
Treat yourself eastern-style at King Tiger (79 Cron Street) or keep things casual yet sophisticated with some classic New Zealand homemade cuisine at the historic Alice May (30 Cron Street). Learn about the fascinating story of Alice May written on the table placemats while you wait for your New Zealand beer or regional wine. (Ok, so the story is far from romantic but it makes for some good talking points). If the weather is good, enjoy views of the Southern Alps from the restaurant’s courtyard.
Alternatively, to celebrate a special occasion, how about dining in a private gazebo amidst lush native rainforest? The Canopy Restaurant (3 Wallace Street) of the luxury Te Waonui Forest Retreat offers a five-course degustation dining experience either privately or in their elevated restaurant setting.
More About a Honeymoon or Romantic Getaway to Franz Josef
That’s it for our honeymoon and romantic getaway guide to Franz Josef. For more Franz Josef advice that doesn’t fall under the “romantic” category but are still just as useful, check out the following guides:
- The Travel Guide to Franz Josef on a Budget
- The Luxury Travel Guide to Franz Josef
- The Complete Travel Guide to Franz Josef
We hope you found this honeymoon and romantic getaway guide to Franz Josef was everything you need but, if not, find even more honeymoon 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.