NZ Travel: Glacier walk experience at Franz Josef

Hi!! Due to some internet difficulties, was not able to post these past few days.. But OMG!!! There are so many details I want to share about our travels, so many pics I want to show.. But for now I’ll just focus on the highlights, and the few pics I captured from my iphone..

Last post we arrived at Greymouth via the tranzalpine train ride.. From there we rented a car and drove to our next pitstop.. Franz Josef Glacier.

Franz Josef is 3 hrs from Greymouth, and is one of two towns commonly visited for it’s glacier walk. Just standing in the main road of the town you can already see the mountain glacier from a distance.

We stayed here 2 nights and booked an ice explorer tour with franz josef glacier guides.. The tour includes a helicopter ride to the base of the glacier, a 3 hr trek to the top of the glacier and back, as well as entrance to the hot pool.

For those planning to take this tour, remember that you need to reconfirm 24 hrs before. And also because its an outdoor activity, weather is a big factor. For our case we booked a 9am tour but got cancelled due to cloudy weather. The tour is just 4hrs long, but I allotted a whole day for this.. So because of that we had enough flexibility on what we want to do after. Other people didn’t and so they had to completely cancel their appointment because they planned to move on immediately after the activity.

For us since we were still staying in franz josef that day, we just joined the 11.40 am tour so we could still do it that day.

We had an hour to spare before the tour starts, so we did one of the many walks near the glacier.

We did this franz josef glacier walk, which gets you as close a view to the glacier as possible without having to ride a helicopter. We really enjoyed this walk and offered good views of the glacier.. For those that can’t do the glacier walk, this is the next best thing (plus its free).

After we went back to get ready for the glacier walk. The tour provided the gear needed
Including the crampons, which are spikes we attached to the shoes.. These are crucial in order to walk safely on the ice.
The hike was challenging but still doable for us non athletic people. For most of it the guide would make an ice staircase for us to go up and down in.. The most challenging would be the caves and tunnels we would pass through.. They were cramped spaces so I was walking sideways and sticking to the ice wall to be able to get through.. But super fun!! And lots of great photo opps as you go through the hike. (Some of my fave shots here)

Another great experience for me was getting to drink glacier water!! At first I was a bit dubious about trying it since I saw a lot of muddy areas in the glacier (and imagine our dirty boots stepping on the glacier).. But when I tried a sip.. It was really refreshing!!! The water didn’t look dirty, and it tasted purer than the water we would get from the grocery.
so we actually threw our bottled water and refilled it with the glacier water!

The activity cost $229 nzd total, but definitely worth it for the experience we got!


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