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“The Glacier”

Franz Josef Glacier Guides
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Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
Ranked #8 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 gem 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.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

Excellent tour. Beautiful view and an unforgettable experience. my wife and i had the chance to hike the Glacier and take beautiful pictures, specially from the Heli ride.

1  Thank peredaj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"ice explorer"
in 225 reviews
"helicopter ride"
in 210 reviews
"hot pools"
in 124 reviews
"new zealand"
in 108 reviews
"valley walk"
in 58 reviews
"glacier guides"
in 38 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 58 reviews
"amazing experience"
in 64 reviews
"full refund"
in 18 reviews
"cancelled due"
in 57 reviews
"waterproof pants"
in 15 reviews
"great guide"
in 33 reviews
"blue ice"
in 38 reviews
"bad weather"
in 44 reviews
"free entry"
in 22 reviews
"three hours"
in 17 reviews
"ice formations"
in 15 reviews

1,318 - 1,322 of 1,565 reviews

Reviewed July 13, 2013

I took the helicopter option, and glad I did. It does not cost that much more comparing with walking 8 hours.

I went in January, so it was summer. The village and many parts of the mountains are just bare rocks, not even glass. It would have been pretty boring if we spend 5 hours walking and looking at rocks.

The flying time is about 5 minutes. You get a very good view of the village, and the mountains around. You have full view of the landscape (which again, you cannot do when you walk).

Helicopter lands high up the mountain where there is ice, and you just see ice around you, with different color and formation. I've been advised guides go there first thing in the morning, to see if there is anything interesting to show people, and they will bring you to many different ice formations.

I'm the kind of person who usually goes "OK, that's nice", and that's it, but I have to admit it was a fun and interesting experience. We found rivers on ice, rivers under ice, drain holes, tunnels to climb, cracks in between ice to walk through, and ice of different color.

The walk is not that difficult at all. I would say it's easier that some of the bush walking people do. Our group range from late 20s to late 40s, and only one lady who was unfit needed assistant here and there.

If you come to New Zealand, you must come here. I know I will come back again.

1  Thank Azzsyd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2013

I did the Heli-Hike trip. Overall it was a very good experience. You arrive at the office, sign in, get kitted out and off you go to the Heli-pad. You get a reasonably direct flight to somewhere near the top of the glacier and get to take in spectacular views all the way. On arriving at the top it is a relatively slow paced walk around looking at the different features. The guide (Cliff) was excellent.

There are a few things to keep in mind though. The Glacier is constantly moving and evolving. I got to go through a small ice cave but the guide explained that there was another "mind blowing" cave system that had just been found/formed but it was not ready for visitors yet. No fault of the company, but It is very much luck of the draw when it comes to timing, so I suspect groups that went later than I did got much more out of it than I did.

Also, and probably a bit more frustrating, is the group only moves as fast as its slowest member. If you are in there with another group of people who may not move as fast as you, then you will not get as much enjoyment out of it, as was the case in my experience, and I am not the fittest or fastest by any means.

In addition to the above, I was a bit rushed booking it and went for the most expensive package. The reason why it is more expensive (seems to be) that the Helicopter ride is longer. You actually spend less time on the ice than you do with the cheaper packages (Ice explorer/ice climb), which still include a (shorter) helicopter journey. The receptionist in my accommodation mentioned the same thing after I got back (that she would recommend the cheaper packages for more time on the ice).

One final niggle is that they recommend that you wear sunscreen/sun protection. In the gift bag that you get with the trip they do supply sunscreen and lip protection but they give this to you after you get back. It would make more sense to just supply it at the beginning of the trip and not tell you to bring your own.

Overall a good experience and a great guide but if I were in the same position again I would have opted for the less expensive package and maybe tried to find more people in advance who would have moved at a faster pace. I did not feel the NZD $400 package was especially good value for money.

3  Thank Andy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 26, 2013 via mobile

My wife and two boys did a chopper flight up the glacier today and the plan was to do a walk on the glacier for 2 hours. My younger son had some difficulties and we had to come down missing the walk.

Without asking the team offered a refund for the two of us. After demanding they still charge for the Heli flight I was told that it all ok. No charge.

You can't get better than that. Please fly with them when you visit.

1  Thank Bowen123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 15, 2013

I am just back from NZ and I did the Ice Explorer with Franz Josef Glacier Guides. This was one of the highlights of my time in NZ. Fantastic Fantastic Fantastic!!! If you are thinking about doing it then all I can say is just book it! The only way to truly experience Franz Josef Glacier is to get up on it. The four hour trip felt like it only lasted 5 mins, it was amazing and a definite 10 out of 10. You do move a bit slowly but you still cover a lot and besides there is a lot of time to get the perfect photos. Our guide Jenna was very professional and I felt 100% safe at all times.

The tour company provides you with all the necessary clothing right down to socks!

1  Thank RenaeG76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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