Insider's Guide to Franz Josef & Fox Glacier

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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One of the fastest moving glaciers in the world, the Franz Josef Glacier is a spectacular river of ice. It is one of the world's steepest glaciers descending 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) over its 7.5 mile (12 kilometer) path through the valley, ... 

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Certified reviews by travelers like you.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2014

If you think you may only have one chance in your lifetime to visit the glaciers, do everything possible to stretch your budget so you can take a walk amongst the ice. No words or pictures can truly convey the immense size, power and physical structure of this place - you need to experience it for yourself. On the day after our trip we also took a walk to the terminal face of the glacier. While that is impressive, you cannot get any real understanding of the scale of the glacier or see the dramatic columns and crevices that exist at the higher levels. Our trip was handled professionally, and included just enough excitement and challenges to make it interesting. We were fortunate to be amongst a small group of people with similar capabilities - though i guess there is a risk that you may do less if you are unlucky to be in a group where some people struggle. Whatever - if you get a chance to do it, don't miss it.

Doing what: Small-Group Franz Josef Glacier Walk

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
August 2014

The Glacier walk was amazing, highly recommend! It would have been topped off with a trip to the hot pools but unfortunately they were closed due to general maintenance. Be sure to stay in Franz Josef a couple of days just incase the day you book gets cancelled, this happened to us but we were able to re-book for the next day

Doing what: Small-Group Franz Josef Glacier Walk

Vivian
Australia

3 star rating: Worth doing
July 2014

Well, we changed our mind last minutes before the trip starts. We did the Ice Explorer on Glacier instead by paying extra $250. It was totally worth it. Initially, we didnt want to spend too much on the trip (as it is a big difference) but we were pleased that we made the executive decision to change the trip. The IceExplorer is fabulous and it is definitely an unforgettable life time experience to surrounded and walk around ice for 3+ hours. For those who has chosen this trip, but if you think you are fit enough, please do the Ice Explorer instead. It is remarkable and amazing!! You also get to sit the helicopter to the glacier.

Doing what: Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2014

It was absolutely fantastic, really friendly and experienced guides.

Doing what: Small-Group Franz Josef Glacier Walk

Barbie
Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2014

Fantastic! What an experience. Landing on the glacier was unbelievable!

Doing what: Franz Josef Neve Discoverer Helicopter Flight

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2014

The tour was spectacular. We lucked into perfect weather with crystal blue skies. The guide was informative and very friendly and worked her butt off for us. The hike is dependent on the fitness ability of the slowest member on your hike, so luck of the draw. I would have liked a bit faster hike but if you want something more challenging, select the ice climbing option. Overall very satisfied with the tour and the guide, Katiana, from Canada/Russia was super!

Doing what: Small-Group Franz Josef Glacier Walk

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2014

Lived up to expectations. Definite one of the highlights of our tour with spectacular views. A unique experience.

Doing what: Franz Josef Neve Discoverer Helicopter Flight

4 star rating: Recommended
March 2014

Did we have the right shoes? What if it rained? And what if the eight of us had different paces and abilities?Not to worry. Any gear you needed was provided. Slickers, boots, small packs...and the guides were amenable to splitting the group into a more aggressive and more leisurely groups. So, when it did rain...we had the right gear and enjoyed the walk immensely.
Tomr.

Doing what: Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2014

Enjoyed the experience. Leader informative, friendly and supportive.

Doing what: Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2014

Despite an event where one of the participants took to altitude sickness and had to be helicoptered down , all else went smoothly. The guide did quite well at explaining equipment and technique. I would rate this experience as one of the most exciting for me.

Doing what: Small-Group Franz Josef Glacier Walk

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2014

This was a lot of fun. Our guide was great. This particular tour takes you up on the glacier, a bit lower than the HeliHike option. Also, the helicopter ride is a quick 5-10 minute flight to the glacier, I believe the Heli Hike gives your more airtime but less glacier time. Highly recommend this tour, we wanted to be on the glacier longer so that's why we picked this one.

Doing what: Small-Group Franz Josef Glacier Walk

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2014

Simply a must do when in Franz Josef if the weather allows. Our guide was very friendly and helpful, she cleared paths with her ice pick to make the hike easier, lent a helping hand on the steeper obstacles and even took group photos for us. The scenery is amazing and exploring the paths, stairs and caves is real experience. The hike itself was no trouble at all for average fitness people, if you can walk and climb stairs you can do it, the crampons and the guide do all the hard work for you. We went during summer so didn't need many extra layers, most on the tour had to take off the gore-tex jackets.

Doing what: Small-Group Franz Josef Glacier Walk

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
January 2014

I will give this company top marks for being understanding and tourist friendly. We had to change our booking due to a road closure caused by a slight landslide driving from Wanaka. They were more than happy to change our time. When we arrived there was cloud cover and our booked time was cancelled and rescheduled two hours later. The flight was excellent and we landed on Fox Glacier for photos etc. There was fresh snow which was very soft and almost every step we went down to our knees in the snow. The pilot was very helpful in assisting me around. We then recorded and flew over the ravines and onto Franz Josef Glacier which was just as spectacular and the whole trip was very memorable.

Doing what: Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight departing Franz Josef

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