I went on a half day hike through Franz Josef Glacier Guides and it was fantastic. Unfortunately it was a rainy day when we went but all the gear was provided and the trip was still awesome. Our tour guide, Michael, was very friendly and helpful.
I weigh 136kg and had no problems climbing up the glacier as the pre-guide team sent out by the guide company cut stairs into the glacier with axes and chainsaws as well as hammer ropes into the difficult parts near the crevices. We came down a different path to that we travelled up.
It was awesome to see the blue ice, the large crevices and the ice caves and the trip to the terminal face of the glacier was great through some rainforest on the way up and down the river bed on the way back.
Also, our tour price included entry to the Glacier Hot Pools and the 40 degree pools were just what we needed after the hike.
I travelled with my family including two teenage children and so stayed at the Glacier Cottages 2.5km out of town north on the highway. These are two bedroom relocatable home type cottages but they are very nicely decorated inside and the host was very friendly. We had a very pleasant stay. There is a view of the glacier from the veranda.
All in all I would say this hike is a 'must do' if you are travelling to NZ. It was my favourite part of the trip.
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