During peak season, accommodations are woefully short in these parts. You'll be competing for rooms with lots of tour groups. On top of that, some hotels are overpriced for what they offer. My best advice is to book well ahead or travel outside the summer months; otherwise, you may find yourself staying as far away from the glaciers as Greymouth. You can experience the glaciers without staying overnight in Fox or Franz Josef townships, but the advantage of sleeping here is being close enough to jump on flights when there's a break in the weather.

In Franz Josef

The Franz Josef Top 10 Holiday Park, Main Road (www.mountainview.co.nz; tel. 0800/467-897 in NZ, or 03/752-0735), has tent and powered sites, cabins, a lodge, tourist cabins, and flats. Rainforest Retreat & Backpackers, 46 Cron St. (www.rainforestretreat.co.nz; tel. 0800/873-346 in NZ, or 03/752-0220), is nestled in native rainforest and provides some lovely, reasonably priced options for travelers on a budget. Another smart new option for a few more dollars is Glenfern Villas, State Highway 6 (www.glenfern.co.nz; tel. 0800/453-633 in NZ, or 03/752-0054), where you'll find very comfortable one- and two-bedroom villas with fully equipped kitchens priced from NZ$150 to NZ$266. Plus, they're just a short walk to village shops and cafes. Good, hotel-style B&B digs are at Franz Josef Glacier Country Retreat, State Highway 6, Lake Mapourika (www.glacier-retreat.co.nz; tel. 0800/372-695), which has 12 rooms for NZ$445, and two suites priced NZ$625 to NZ$650.

In Fox Glacier

Heartland Hotel Glacier Country, State Highway 6 (www.scenichotelgroup.co.nz; tel. 0800/696-963 in NZ, or 03/751-0847), is the baby of the Scenic Hotel Group. You can expect modest accommodations at affordable prices, often well below the rack rates of NZ$327. Built in the late 1960s, it's right in the heart of the village and is the smaller and older of the two Scenic Hotel Group hotels in Fox Glacier. You'll find new motel rooms at the Westhaven (www.thewesthaven.co.nz; tel. 0800/369-452 in NZ, or 03/751-0084), right in the heart of the action.

Nature lovers will get a real thrill out of spending a few nights at Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, 30km (19 miles) north of Haast (www.wildernesslodge.co.nz; tel. 03/750-0881), which has forged a solid international reputation in ecotourism. Rates for their 28 rooms range from NZ$798 to NZ$998 and include accommodations, breakfast, dinner, use of lodge facilities, and daily guided nature trips. Expect a NZ$80 per person surcharge if you're staying here on December 25 and 26, January 1 and 2, Good Friday, or Easter Monday. There are numerous outdoor activities available, from kayaking, walking, and fishing to seal- and bird-watching. The big attractions here are the free daily guided nature activity program. There is a minimum 2-night stay requirement between December 23 and March 1.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.