We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Go now before it's too late!”

Franz Josef Glacier
Book on TripAdvisor
More Info
$55.87*
and up
Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
Ranked #1 of 32 things to do in Franz Josef
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Liverpool, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Go now before it's too late!”
Reviewed December 16, 2013

We took the helicopter up to the Franz Josef Glacier, and seeing it loom towards us was thrilling. We were suppled with boots and crampons, which I have never used before, so it took quite a few minutes to actually trust that they would work, and I wouldn't go hurtling down the slopes - but I didn't! We were lucky with the weather, which was sunny, warm but with enough cloud on the peaks to make you feel you were high up. We did a 2 hour walk along side crevices and through snow caves, and the the ice blues were just beautiful. The glacier is not smooth, as I imagined, more like boulders of ice which is caused by the ice breaking up as it slides over the terrain. The guides were knowledgeable and entertaining, and cut steps in the ice on the steeper slopes, so it wasn't too strenuous a walk, but you need to have a decent level of fitness I think. The views are stunning and the whole area is surreal, but it is disappearing fast, as the ice melts. The heli-tour is expensive (over $400) but it's one of those things you probably will only do once, so go for it. we did and don't regret it!

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank LadyMac2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

2,503 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    1,520
    665
    234
    59
    25
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
32 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Heli-Hike of Franz Josef Glacier”
Reviewed December 13, 2013

We were "encouraged" to take the "old people" tour because of heart issues, but we had a great time. Our guide Matt told us interesting facts about the glacier, & Richard chopped steps in the ice for us. The blue ice was amazing, & we got to slide through an ice cave!

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank April G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Less strenuous walking than going to Fox Glacier and still get good view from afar”
Reviewed December 10, 2013

Pleasant walk with good scenery like small waterfall, streams. Does not have to climb steep and long slope like Fox Glacier. But can't reach as close like to the Fox Glacier.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank fsj2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
99 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Non-stop 'thud thud' of helos going over...”
Reviewed December 9, 2013

Mountains, glaciers and spectacular scenery but more helicopters doing the circuit than in apocalypse now. So the three hour walk to the glacier and back has the continual backdrop of noise. What a shame but I guess the helo trips to the glacier are what most tourists in Franz are doing. Not sure how these square with NZ's green and environmental - don't seem to apply to Franz.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank steve t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
FJGlacierGuides, Manager at Franz Josef Glacier, responded to this review, December 16, 2013
Kia ora Steve

Thanks for your review of your valley walk at Franz Josef Glacier.

The Franz Josef Glaicer is in retreat and accessing the ice is only possible via a helicopter transfer due to the unstable nature of the terminal face of the glacier. This is why you may have heard increased air noise on the valley floor.

Most flights you can see or hear from the valley floor are either transferring people onto the glacier for guided hikes (up to 10 landings per hour), or taking visitors on scenic flights high above the ice (which accounts for approximately 50% of all flight traffic).

Certainly at times I can appreciate that it seems very busy. However there are still quiet times of day to appreciate the valley floor as an independent walker - before 9am and after 5pm are the best :)

I hope you enjoyed the rest of your trip through NZ.

Kind regards
Kerry
Franz Josef Glacier Guides
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
24 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Fox & Franz Joseph”
Reviewed December 4, 2013

During our stay in Franz Joseph we took the opportunity to see both the Fox and the Franz Joseph Glaciers. We did the trip with 'Alpine Adventures Fox Glacier' in one of their Helicopters, the pilot managed to land on the Fox snowfield so that we could take photographs and then flew us out and around the Franz Joseph glacier, it was all quite thrilling and well worth the expense

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Michael R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Franz Josef Glacier also viewed

Franz Josef, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
Fox Glacier, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
 
Fox Glacier, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
Franz Josef, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu)
 

Been to Franz Josef Glacier? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing