Rainy Day in New Zealand

New Zealand is known as the land of the long white cloud and this is often the case on the South Island’s west coast. Not only is it cloudy, it’s wet too.

According to a Metservice blog survey conducted December 11-18, 2011, the west coast (along with the Nelson region) received the most precipitation.  This is not a fluke; the west coast receives, on average, 5100mm of the wet stuff annually.  High rainfalls are due to the prevailing north-westerly winds and the position of the Southern Alps. It’s these factors that keep this area rugged and majestic. If the west coast did not get so much rain, it would not be as beautiful and awe-inspiring as it is. Luckily, there are things to do in the glacier town of Franz Josef on a rainy day. And all are within walking distance of each other!

So, if you’re travelling around the South Island and planning a trip through Franz Josef (as many travellers do), pray for sunshine but have a wet weather back-up plan too.

Here are the top 5 things to do with kids on a wet day in Franz Josef.


‘Flowing West’ is a 20-minute film featuring the landscape of Glacier Country as seen from the air. The massive 40x25ft screen allows the feeling of being there in the helicopter as it soars over the Tasman Sea, down the icy glaciers, above the rainforest and over the flowing rivers. Children of all ages are sure to love the beautiful adventure this film takes you on. If it’s too wet to actually be out amongst the mountains, rivers and rainforest stay dry and view it from a comfy chair at the Alpine Adventure Centre on Franz Josef’s main street.

Admission is $12 Adults $6 children 4-14 and kids under 4 are FREE!


The Wildlife Centre is just a block away from the Alpine Adventure Centre. Here is where you can visit the rare Rowi kiwi in a natural, indoor setting. This all weather attraction is fun and exciting for all ages. Since it is near impossible to see a kiwi in the wild, this is the best way for kids to see a real, live kiwi. At the Wildlife Centre, there are up to four Rowi kiwis, depending on the season, to quietly watch and admire as well as a fun fact tour, imitation glaciers, short films, interactive displays and a chance to buy a souvenir!

Admission is $25 Adults $ 15 children 5-15 or Family pass (2 A 4ch) $75


Drop in to the playgroup at the Community Centre at the top of the main street (by the Fire Station) and meet other parents and their pre-school children. This indoor/outdoor space is a toddler’s dream. Kids will revel in the many toys, costumes, books, play kitchen and craft activities on offer. While the kids play and socialize, parents can swap stories over a hot cuppa. The group meets every Monday and Friday from 1030am-1230pm.

Admission is a gold coin donation.


Full of Beans Cafe and Coffeehouse may sound like a grown-up place but it has lots to offer the little ones too. This kiwiana cafe has a large menu offering up fish & chips, the best bacon and egg pie, salads, sandwiches and even a specialised kids’ platter with all their favourites: fish fingers, chicken nuggets, cherrios, chips, fruit, raisons and chocolate fish marshmallows. Finish it all off with a coffee or tea and fluffies for the wee ones!

Price range: $1.50 – $18.50 per item


The hot pools are a great way to relax after a long day, no matter what you’ve been up to. The complex consists of three separate pools, each offering a different temperature: 36, 38 and 40 degrees Celsius.  Parents and kids alike will enjoy the slow, relaxing pace of this forest enclosed retreat. Bring your own towels and remember to pack your togs!

Admission is $23.50 for adults, $16 for children 5-12 and kids under 5 are FREE!!

Written by Freelance Writer Jennifer Morton