Franz Josef Valley. © Esaias Tan

Sentinel Rock Walk, Franz Josef

Sentinel Rock, Franz Josef
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Enjoy impressive views of the Franz Josef Glacier, the valley and Waiho River from the summit of this short steady climb.

About the walk

How long will it take? This is a 900m 20-minute return walk via the same track.

This short steady climb up a now bush-covered ice-scraped rock offers the most impressive views of the glacier and the Waiho River.

Information panels at the viewpoint show dramatic photos of the glacial retreat, making it one of the best places to appreciate the power of the glacier.

Sentinel Rock emerged from beneath the glacier in 1865 and is an example of how the glacial ice ground the hard schist bedrock into a Roche moutonnee or ‘rock sheep’.

Since 1909 the glacier has retreated over 3km and plants have progressively colonised where a veneer of rubble has been dumped over bedrock in the valley.

Drive or walk south a short distance from the Franz Josef Waiau township across the Waiho River bridge and turn left onto the Glacier Access Road or Te Ara a Waiau.

Drive or walk for approximately 4km to the car park at the end of the road. 

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