Sentinel Rock Walk

Sentinel Rock Walk - Franz Josef Glacier, Westland Tai Poutini National Park

Sentinel Rock Walk

Franz Josef Glacier, Westland Tai Poutini National Park


9 Rankers Reviews

7 Face-to-Face

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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The extent of the glacier in times past

The extent of the glacier in times past


900 m return | 20 minutes return

If you don’t have the time or energy to do the whole Franz Josef Glacier Walk, then this taster still gets you to a viewpoint where you can see the ice.


From Franz Josef township head south on SH6 over the Waihou River and then immediately left. The narrow road is 4 km to the parking area at the road end, from where the tracks are signposted.

There’s toilets and kea here.


This wide and metalled track weaves through the regenerating forest.

Take a left at the signpost and weave up the track to the viewing platform.


Sentinel Rock is a resistant outcrop which blocked the glacier’s path. The rounded hummock has had it’s sharp edges smoothed by ice and is now conveniently placed in the valley centre to give a vantage point over it’s sculptor.


Note the forest here has only started to colonise since the retreat of the glacier around 100 years ago.


Feature Value Info


DOC West Coast

Central government organisation


South IslandWest CoastFranz Josef Glacier


  • Walking
  • Free


Richard Clapton's avatar

Richard Clapton

United Kingdom

Ranking: 7/10

Ok view of the glacier but you really have to do the 1.5 hour walk to get close and really appreciate its size. Soon it may be gone!

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

Mike Fricker's avatar

Mike Fricker

Ranking: 8/10

20Oct18. A good path up to the lookout. We were here in 2006 and it is surprising just how much the glacier has receded, even tho we all know about global warming. I suspect the longer walk would give much better views if you have the time. We elected to do the longer walk at Fox.
The road to the car park is well made but narrow in places and slow.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Claudia Hobbs's avatar

Claudia Hobbs

United Kingdom

Ranking: 7/10

A well maintained path through rainforest, then along the valley. Although you are unable to get onto the glacier, the views from 450m back is impressive.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in January 2017

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Manu Liberta's avatar

Manu Liberta


Ranking: 10/10

A calm walk with a view of the glacier.

Reviewed about 5 years ago and experienced in December 2016

Jill Stebbing's avatar

Jill Stebbing


Ranking: 8/10

Heavy rain had closed the walk to the Glacier face but the walk up Sentinel Rock gave us a reasonable view, albeit 2500m away.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in March 2016

Cori Schultz's avatar

Cori Schultz


Ranking: 9/10

Take the Sentinel Rock Walk, about 1.5 hours walk return, for free, but too less parking spots.

Reviewed about 6 years ago and experienced in March 2016

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Madelaine Sirch's avatar

Madelaine Sirch


Ranking: 7/10

Short walk (from the carpark it is approximately 10 minutes) and the best view of the Glacier!

Reviewed about 6 years ago

Kim-Lara's avatar



Ranking: 9/10

The best view of the Glacier is from the Sentinel Rock, only 20 minutes walk from the carpark.

Reviewed over 6 years ago

Lehmann's avatar



Ranking: 7/10

This walk, and also the Fox and Franz Josef glacier walks are all OK with children.

Reviewed over 12 years ago

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick

Rankers Owner