Insider's Guide to Franz Josef & Fox Glacier

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

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Taking a guided walk on a glacier has to be one of the coolest experiences you'll have in New Zealand. Whether hovering over the spectacular ice formations by helicopter or strapping on crampons to hike the ice, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are ... 

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Certified reviews by travelers like you.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2014

The heli-hike was a wonderful experience, the highlight of our trip. It was professionally organised and our guide was very knowledgable. We had a beautiful day on fresh snow. A real treat.

Doing what: Heli Hiking Franz Josef

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2014

This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to New Zealand. The helicopter ride was awesome! Your first ride is about 10-15 minutes with some great photo opportunities and the ride back is a bit shorter. In our helicopter, there was room for six guests in addition to the pilot -- two seats up front next to the pilot and four seats in the back of the helicopter. We had two guides on our tour (one was a student on workstudy) and both were wonderful. They were very knowledgeable about the glacier and the history of Franz Joseph. We were able to go hike near the waterfall and climb through some ice tunnels which made for amazing photos.

The tour company provides wool socks, boots, and a waterproof jacket and pants. The jacket can go over your own coat but most in our party just opted to leave on two light layers (a t-shirt) and fleece under the provided jacket. You get quite hot while hiking so I'd recommend leaving your winter jacket in the shed. You are responsible for your own gloves and should probably bring along waterproof ones. I'd also recommend sunglasses and sunscreen -- I wish I brought along sunglasses as it took awhile for my eyes to adjust to the sun reflecting off the ice.

Doing what: Heli Hiking Franz Josef

4 star rating: Recommended
August 2014

Really enjoyed hiking on the Glacier in Franz Josef. The company were very accommodating when we had to change the time of our booking at the last minute due to a closed road. I'm glad we chose to walk with the faster group so we got to see more of the Glacier, our guide was fantastic and very interesting, knew what he was talking about and had many stories to tell. Only downside was some of the other people in our group (about ten of us per group on the glacier) who were very irritating and didn't follow the instructions the guide gave them, meaning one ended up falling through thin ice!!!

Doing what: Heli Hiking Franz Josef

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
April 2014

Fantastic trip with fantastic weather (sunny day and blue sky). Our guide was very knowledgeable and made it possible to walk through a spectacular ice cave/tube.
The real hiking time was a bit too short in my opiniion, but nevertheless a great adventure.

Doing what: Heli Hiking Franz Josef

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2014

This was the best day of our holiday. Everyone was professional, the guide was fantastic. Our 10 and 11 year old children (one very nervous on the ice) were encouraged and assisted by our very patient guide Cliff. The glacier was beautiful, the hike challenging but not too strenuous. Don't hesitate!

Doing what: Heli Hiking Franz Josef

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
April 2014

Absolutely amazing.
Everyone was lovely to deal with, and made the experience comfortable. They all seemed to still find a huge thrill in showing people "their" glacier, or flying guests to and from it.
Awesome!

Doing what: Heli Hiking Franz Josef

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2014

Heli Hike tour was cancelled due to weather conditions. The Helicopter Line let us transfer our booking to a flight over Mount Cook when we were at that location the following week. The snow landing and flight over Mount Cook was one of the highlights of our trip to NZ.

Doing what: Heli Hiking Franz Josef

4 star rating: Recommended
March 2014

Great tour - the promotional pictures misrepresented the actual tour as we went no where near the ice caves shown. Views were impressive and a good excursion

Doing what: Heli Hiking Franz Josef

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

3 star rating: Worth doing
March 2014

It was a good expérience but very expensive for what we did!

Doing what: Heli Hiking Franz Josef

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2014

We loved it

Doing what: Heli Hiking Franz Josef

Pascale
New Zealand

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2014

A must do!

Doing what: Heli Hiking Franz Josef

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2014

Enjoyed the experience. Leader informative, friendly and supportive.

Doing what: Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

3 star rating: Worth doing
February 2014

I enjoyed it but my wife didn't. I think we should have walked on the glacier higher up.
The guide was not vigilant enough in caring for the party. As a result my wife fell over twice, she is very fit, the second time dropping into a big hole very close to the path, with a layer of thin ice over it, I hate to think if a child had fallen in. She injured herself as a result and broke her glasses and was most upset from that moment on.

Doing what: Heli Hiking Franz Josef

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