Danger zone


There are multiple signs, fences, and barriers to prevent tourists from walking too close to the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers without a proper glacier guide.  People often disregard the signs, perhaps because:

  1. They see others who are closer to the glacier
  2. They are on holiday and think nothing can go wrong
  3. They believe glaciers are slow and they can outrun any advance
  4. They are not paying attention because the glacier is so magnificent

Glacier advance is not a significant hazard in this area, however, ice fall, rock fall, flooding, and large waves caused by ice falling into the river can be life-threatening.  Testing done by the Department of Conservation in New Zealand shows that life-size cutouts of park rangers holding their hand up saying, “STOP”, and double-rope barriers are quite effective in keeping tourists out of hazardous areas.

See the DOC website on glacier hazards.


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