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“A moving experience”

Franz Josef Glacier Guides
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Franz Josef Glacier Valley 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.
Palikir, Micronesia
Level Contributor
43 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“A moving experience”
Reviewed November 17, 2013

We did the Heli Hike tour. It takes you a little higher on the glacier and you also get a slightly longer helicopter tour. There is quite a bit of waiting around at first and the organization could be better. This is not a cheap tour so service at the reception could be a bit better. Be prepared to be patient through the kitting stages. However once you are kitted out and on the helicopter it is a great experience. The chopper rises up through the valley, skirting the walls and over the glacier, finally landing you on the ice. A guide shows you how to fit crampons on your boots then takes you through a series of walks, explaining many aspects of the glacier. It is an amazing experience to just be on the ice and the views are breathtaking. Expect to be with up to 12 people on the tour.

Visited November 2013
1 Thank Simon826
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Level Contributor
38 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Stunning scenery, terrific experience”
Reviewed November 10, 2013

This was a wonderful tour and one of our favorite and most memorable trips during our three week vacation in New Zealand.

Once again we learned that being comfortable in your environment is all about the right gear and that layers are important. The glacier tour guides made available snow pants, water proof overjackets, snow boots, wool socks, beanies and mittens as well as large fanny packs which we slung over a shoulder and that could carry our small items along with the crampons (metal spikes) that would go onto our shoes once we got to the glacier to help us walk on the ice.

We then helicoptered up onto the glacier which was awesome in and of itself.

The tour was to involve three hours on the glacier and my husband and I had been initially a little skeptical about whether that would be too long because, how much can you really do on a glacier. I was also a little worried when were dropped off and it looked like the glacier went straight up. Both doubts were unfounded and it turned out to be an amazing experience. The time went by at a good pace, the scenery was breathtaking and we got to explore some various cool (literally) crevices and tunnels in the ice. Our group of about eight were all enthusiastic and had a great time. Our two guides led us on a circuitous trek up the glacier, cutting steps for us in the ice with their pick axes. The beauty of the glacier was stunning. Because of the sun we all ended up shedding multiple layers. I ended up doing most of the trek in my long sleeve shirt and one jacket over it (and I'm a cold wimp). However, as we ended our trek and were waiting for the helicopter to pick us up it started to snow a little and got colder and windier and I realized that without the sun we’d had I would have been burrowed under every layer I had brought.

Visited November 2013
2 Thank Kim J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
33 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed November 4, 2013

This came close to being the highlight of the trip. From the moment we stepped foot in this establishment we were treated great and entertained from beginning to end. While I can't comment on every single guide, our guide, Peter, was solid. He was chill, well informed/educated, and led a very enjoyable 3+ hour tour on the glacier. I must say that getting choppered up was pretty awesome. I was a little trepidatious at first, as in weary of the equipment, but they seem to take care and maintain these aircraft fairly well. I couldn't recommend the Ice Explorer tour enough. If you are looking for time on the ice this is the one to do. This is a must if you are on the west coast!

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Charleston31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, OH
Level Contributor
205 reviews
71 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“A Great Time”
Reviewed October 29, 2013

My wife and I did the Valley Walk with three other people this morning with Phil as our guide. You can do this walk on your own up to a point. With a guide you can go up to the top of the terminal moraine for a better view of the face of the glacier. Phil took us along a separate path from the public path through the rain forest. He pointed out different flowers and trees. It turns out he studied botany in college and it showed. We tasted or smelled many of the plants as we walked. We also saw a Kea, the mountain parrot, which was a real treat. The trip up to the top of the terminal moraine was not as difficult as I thought it was going to be. The entire trip took about three hours. I believe the real value of taking a tour like this is meeting and interacting with people like Phil. The personal stories and insights are priceless. I would recommend this tour and would not hesitate to do again.

Visited October 2013
Thank rrobbinsCleveland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Queenstown, New Zealand
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Wonderful Experience”
Reviewed October 27, 2013

I did the Ice Explorer hike and had an amazing time. All the staff in the office were really friendly and helpful with giving info and getting everyone kitted out with the correct gear. After a short, scenic helicopter ride onto the glacier, the three hour ice time just flew by. Our guide Alex was great, really enthusiastic and made sure everyone was safe. The ice is changing all the time and will be different for each trip. We got to go into a new ice cave with a hole in the top through which we could see the blue sky. Stunning!

There were a few challenging bits, like squeezing through some crevasses, but that was all part of the fun and unique experience.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank Skyofdiamonds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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