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“Safety first”

Franz Josef Glacier Guides
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Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
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Heli-Hike Franz Josef Glacier Walk
Ranked #2 of 11 Tours in Franz Josef
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: The magnificent Franz Josef Glacier is widely regarded as the gen of New Zealand’s West Coast Glaciers.Franz Josef Glacier Guides gives you the opportunity to experience the most spectacular glacier environment available to the general public anywhere in the world, offering a range of glacier hiking tours to suit all levels of fitness and ability.We make a clear commitment to you that our trip is the most spectacular and rewarding available.
Gothenburg, Sweden
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Safety first”
Reviewed April 12, 2013

When I first arrived in Franz Josef with the bus company I was travelling with I was skeptical about actually doing the glacier walk due to the cost. However I was talked into it and in retrospective I'm glad I did it.

I decided to go with the Ice Explorer which included a helicopter ride (pretty short, around 5 minutes) and a glacier walk of around 3 hours. The entire tour took maybe 4 hours from the time we stepped into the shop until we stepped out of it. The cost was $260 because I was booking with my bus company, otherwise it was $300, which really is nothing compared to the experience you get for that money.

In the group we were 11 people and 1 guide (Vince). Our guide was extremely caring and made sure everyone was alright and always put safety in first priority. I felt very well taken care of when walking on the glacier.

Over all this was the feeling I got from all the guides - that saftey always comes first and that they possess a whole lot of knowledge of what they are doing.

I was lucky to have clear blue sky when going up on the glacier because as they are dependent on helicopters to take you to the glacier they can't do any tours if the weather is bad. This happened to some people I spoke to. We were also treated to a bit of a special helicopter ride as the pilot wanted to watch the skydivers which provided us with some spectacular views.

Over all I whole-heartedly recommend this company! Professional from the very first encounter to the very last.

Visited February 2013
Thank Emmsan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Newbury, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Heli Hike - a fantastic half day!”
Reviewed April 9, 2013

We decided to spend the extra cost on the heli hike as part of our honeymoon. It is an expensive half day but worth the cost.

The chopper ride up the glacier is very cool and the pilot did a great job of traversing down the face of the glacier to give us an amazing view on our way down. When on the ice the heli hike group was higher that the others and we had a lot of fun walking round for a couple of ours.

We were lucky that on our day the guide was the business owner and he was keen to impress the group and show us a great day. Probably a once in a lifetime experience due to the cost but it's not everyday that you are in Franz!

Visited August 2012
Thank Matt-Emi2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Worth the Cost!”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

My husband and I did the Heli Hike and really enjoyed it. Getting out and walking on the ice for a few hours gave a completely difference perspective of the glacier and how big it really is. The staff were all friendly and our guide was informative.

The only down side was the trip does take all ages and so we were a bit slower than we would have liked to be but that still didnt ruin the experience.

I recommend doing this trip if you have the extra money to spend we found it was well worth the cost.

Visited March 2013
Thank Andrea F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frankfurt, Germany
Level 6 Contributor
116 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Useless base staff”
Reviewed April 8, 2013 via mobile

First of all: we did not go on an actual tour with them. The experience with the base staff was juat too ridiculous! We were willing to spend 800NZD and simple wanted some information like "why should we go here and not at Fox?", "what do you do once you're up there?" and "what is the difference between you and the other guys at the next desk?".. The young chewing-gum-munching-surfer-type of guy simply gave us his standard phrases and any non-surface-questions were simply smiled away. He didn't care if he sells us a tour or not. Then he referred us to the left desk since thats were young people book (WTF?!). After several minutes of waiting we made it to interrupt the gossip girls from their chitchat. Again. They had no clue and just repeated what was in the lame brochure. Finally we left. I guess they just don't care. Again, we were willing to spend the money and simply wanted to figure which tour to pick and why. Well, we left. 800NZD and they can't handle a simple sales pitch?!.They get the business anyway. I preferred to bring my money to Fox where we had a great experience for way less money nce they are not rforced to use helicopters like in FJ.

Visited February 2013
1 Thank CayeK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“didn't love it”
Reviewed April 8, 2013

like most other reviewers have mentioned, this is a fairly expensive activity to do. we did the ice explorer at $300pp. the helicopter ride was pretty cool albeit brief.

once up on the glacier though, the pace was unbearably slow. we had a few people in our group who were very scared of the ice and were walking at a painful pace. due to some rough weather the night before, apparently most of the "path" on the glacier had been lost. this didn't help as our guide had to keep ice picking it which slowed down the pace further.

while the glacier is very pretty and there is one interesting bit where you get to walk through a short tunnel of ice, most of the rest of the time you're just walking very slowly on ice. i grew up in canada so this did not excite me as much as it did some other people. i was hoping we'd get to walk much higher up the glacier, it didn't seem like we covered much ground at all. after a very short time, our guide announced it was time to turn back and head down again - it did not feel like 2 hours on the ice at all. also, when you're up there you notice a lot of the glacier is dirty-looking. now i know it's not actually dirty and we had a great guide who explained a lot of interesting things to us, it just didn't look anything like the promo photos they use.

the scenery is beautiful but i wouldn't do it again. it's just so slow - you feel like you're walking in slow motion. you come to expect that for any group trip you will only do as much as the weakest people/most fearful people can handle, but we were not even offered the option of a fast group/ slow group as some people in these reviews had mentioned. it was just 10 random people put together. it was like take 2 steps and stop for 2 minutes, i kept looking at the others thinking really?

i was really looking forward to this activity before doing it so i hate to say it but i was really disappointed!

Visited April 2013
1 Thank lia_p_aus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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