West Coast Experiences not to miss: Glacier Hot Pools

The wonderful West Coast is full of surprises. From the raw beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Westland National Park to the incredible selection of adrenaline activities on offer (glacier hiking, anyone?), the tranquil setting hides a treasure … Read More

More than meets the eye at Franz Josef Glacier’s hidden bush retreat

Rainforest Retreat is nestled snugly amongst the famous lush West Coast bush. The tranquil setting makes for a unique stay amongst the trees and keeps us so well hidden most people don’t know how big the property is, or how … Read More

Pre-Booking Activities in Franz Josef

Should I pre-book activities in Franz Josef before I arrive?     According to the map, Franz Josef is not much more than a small dot on the side of the highway. Nestled amongst the towering Southern Alps, you could … Read More

4 Reasons Winter Is The Best Time To Visit The South Island

  Heading to New Zealand this winter and expecting blizzards, whiteouts, and sub-zero temperatures? Well, hang on, before you pack your snowshoes, you need to know that New Zealand winters aren’t quite as extreme as what our Northern Hemisphere cousins … Read More

Beyond the Glacier Valley Walk: More Walks Around Franz Josef Glacier

Done the Franz Josef Glacier Valley and still want more? Perhaps you’ve ticked the glacier heli-hike experience off your list but still need more of those stunning icy glacier views? Don’t fear; there are plenty of options for hiking around … Read More

New Zealand is The Best Country In The World (It’s Official)

For a small country at the bottom of the world, New Zealand punches well above its weight in the sightseeing stakes. It seems hardly a week goes by without NZ appearing in a top ten list by an esteemed travel … Read More

For the best view of Franz Josef Glacier, take to the skies

A lot of adjectives get casually thrown around when talking about the West Coast. Spectacular, striking, and immense regularly make an appearance in reference to Glacier Country. Want to know why? Unless you get a bird’s eye view of this … Read More

When is the best time of year to visit Franz Josef Glacier?

Does the thought of glaciers invoke visions of cold temperatures, falling snow and crunchy ice? The truth is, New Zealand’s Glacier Country enjoys fairly mild temperatures by global standards. Unlike the glacier regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Franz Josef Glacier … Read More

Around Franz Josef: Bruce Bay and Lake Paringa

The South Island is renowned for its wild and remote locations. And it doesn’t get much wilder or remote than Bruce Bay. Located 30 minutes south of Fox Glacier on the banks of the Mahitahi River, Bruce Bay boasts a … Read More

West Coast Events

The West Coast is renowned for impressive scenery and remote landscapes. But if you want to dig a little deeper and explore the heart of the West Coast, spend some time getting to know a local. Wild Foods Festival in … Read More

The Cheeky West Coast Parrot – The Kea

There‘s something unique about New Zealand‘s native birds and it has to do with New Zealand‘s geological past. The Cheeky Kea Back in the days of Gondwanaland, New Zealand separated from the mainland long before marsupials and mammals appeared. Existing … Read More

The Story of Franz Josef Glacier – The Frozen Tears of Hinehukatere

Just behind the township of Franz Josef, nestled amongst the majestic Southern Alps, is the mighty Franz Josef Glacier. This enormous river of ice is always present. Whether it’s retreating or advancing, Mother Nature is always at work. Franz Joseph’s … Read More

1000th Review of Rainforest Retreat Reached on Tripadvisor

1000th Review on Tripadvisor We are pleased and honored to announce that here at Rainforest Retreat we reached a milestone above and beyond local standards by recieving our 1000th review online via Tripadvisor. Standing apart from our tourism peers, no … Read More

Which Glacier: Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier?

Planning a visit to Glacier Country and wondering whether you should do a Franz Josef Glacier experience or a Fox Glacier experience? Don’t stress. If you’re staying at Franz Josef Glacier, you have two of New Zealand’s most incredible glaciers … Read More

West Coast Hidden Gem: Gillespies Beach and Galway Beach Seal Colony

On the West Coast, the glaciers are the superstars. These celebrities of the tourism world are the sights that everyone comes to see. And rightly so, but the beauty of the West Coast is also found in the hidden gems. … Read More

Disappearing tracks and wild rides: The history of the road to Franz Josef Glacier

As you cruise along the sealed, smooth surface of Highway 6 into Franz Josef Glacier, spare a thought for those hardy souls who first made vehicle access possible. Breaking new ground through dense rainforest, steep mountains and wild coastline amidst … Read More