Tag Archive for "Franz Josef" - About New Zealand
 

How to Explore Fox Glacier and Franz Josef

Posted on: October 8th, 2018 by Lizandra Santillan No Comments

Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier

Ready to step back in time into the Ice Age?

On New Zealand’s West Coast, rainforest-clad valleys dip into spectacular glaciers. Its most famous glaciers, Franz Josef and Fox Glacier, draw travelers from around the world to hike and explore their stunning ice formations.

From blue ice caves to rippled ice currents, stepping onto these glaciers is like stepping into a completely different world.

Franz Josef and Fox glacier both provide an array of activities for all levels. From glacier valley walks to glacier hikes and scenic helicopter rides, seeing these natural wonders is easily done on your terms.

Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier is a 13 kilometer long (8.1 mi) glacier, the longest of New Zealand’s West Coast glaciers, located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park. With gorgeous ice caves and dappled arches, Fox Glacier is one of the most accessible glaciers in the world. During the high tourist season it sees about 1000 people daily. The glacier was named after one of New Zealand’s Prime Ministers, Sir William Fox. Its official name is Fox Glacier / Te Moeka o Tuawe, incorporating its original Maori name.

Still flowing almost to sea level, the front of the glacier, known as the terminal face, rises at a slow incline, making valley walks and ice hikes fairly easy. However, shelving in the valley deep beneath the glacier causes the ice to crack and slide, constantly changing the face of the glacier along with surface melting. Guided tours are a must to get on the ice due to these unstable conditions.

Yet these changeable conditions can present breathtaking surprises along the way.

The Fox Glacier township, “Weheka,” lies 4 miles from the glacier with a population between 300 – 400 residents. With delightful cafes, restaurants and glow worm caves just a short walk from the town center, this cozy township will warm you up with its genuine Kiwi hospitality.

Meet the Glacier on a Terminal Face Walk

Fox Glacier Terminal Face Walk credit Fox Glacier Guiding

Visitors can walk close to the face of Fox Glacier, but a guided tour is where the real adventure lies.

Venture through the pristine Fox Valley toward the face of the glacier on a terminal face walk. This moderate trail is the perfect way to get closer to the glacier than any unguided walkers without leaving your footprints on the ice.

Walk along the flowing Fox River, emerging from the ice, as your expert guide brings the dynamic terrain to life with their informative commentary. Come across fantastic ice boulders and if you’re lucky, you might witness extraordinary ice collapses.

Explore the Glacier on a Heli Hike

Fox Glacier West Coast credit Legend Photography

Combine the thrills of soaring high above the ice and walking the spectacular glacier formations on a Heli Hike on Fox Glacier.

Flying in by helicopter allows you access to remote parts of the glacier where its dynamic forces work hardest and create stunning ice caves and arches. Once you land your guide will fit you with crampons, spiked footwear used for secure mobility on the ice.

One of the biggest differences between Fox Glacier and Franz Josef is in how they are guided. Fox Glacier, with its extremely varying conditions, offers more spontaneous hikes set by your guide as you make your way. A tour on one day may be completely different than a tour the next day.

As you step through narrow ice caverns, a blue glow emanating from the icy depths, you’ll feel like you’re on an expedition in the Arctic. The photo ops will be out of this world.

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef credit Fraser Clements

The more popular of the two glaciers, Franz Josef draws around 250,000 visitors each year. It is named after Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria by German explorer Julius von Haast in 1865. Maori call the glacier Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere, meaning “The tears of Hine Hukatere.”

With a length of 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) and a steeper drop from the Southern Alps, Franz Josef constantly shifts, create rippled ice formations and icy crevasses. Guided walks and hikes on the glacier are usually on pre-cut and predetermined paths, more suitable for beginners. This also affords more opportunities to see extraordinary ice formations.

Located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park only 12 miles away from Fox Glacier, you can easily see the face of both glaciers on a quick road trip.

But you’re in New Zealand’s West Coast, where the scenery is as varied as the continuously changing glaciers. Become one with the landscape and explore these incredible rivers of ice.

Challenge Yourself on a Heli Ice Climb

Franz Josef Heli Climb

Get your heart racing with an exciting Heli Ice Climb on Franz Josef. Offering some of the best glacier climbing in the world, this experience rewards you with unique views and an unbeatable sense of accomplishment.

You’ll begin with a scenic helicopter flight, surrounded in the full panoramic majesty of the glacier and nearby mountains. Once on the ice your guide will lead you to your climbing starting point, where your adventure begins.

With all technical equipment and climbing gear provided, the Heli Ice Climb serves all skill levels with expert guides instructing you along the way. The high you’ll feel as you reach the top of the blue ice will be just as thrilling as the jaw-dropping scenery around you.

Take it Slow on a Franz Josef Glacier Walk

Franz Josef Heli Hike

For those seeking the beauty of the glacier at a slower speed, try the two hour Guided Glacier Walk. You’ll take a flight up to the top of the glacier and get to see the beauty of the surrounding mountains as the guide lets you explore the awe-inspiring formations.

This adventure gets you up close to the blue ice tunnels, between towering walls of ice and in the ice caves carved out of the glacier. Your guide will reveal extraordinary knowledge of the glacier along the way, leaving you with a deeper understanding of why this special landmark is so special.

One of the highlights of a Franz Josef excursion is complimentary access to the Franz Josef Hot Pools. What better way to soothe your tired muscles after an incredible hike out on the ice? The township of Franz Josef also boasts an array of accommodation and places to grab a bite to eat, setting up the perfect stay for your Franz Josef adventure.

Explore New Zealand’s Iconic Glaciers

Whether you want to take a heli flight to the top of the glacier and walk around, or just want to see where the glacier runs into the waters below, there are glacier experiences fit for every person’s adventure level. Don’t miss out on this gorgeous sight you can only see in New Zealand.

If you are ready to start planning your glacier exploration, call us Toll Free 888-359-2877 (Mon-Fri 8:30am – 5:00pm Central US).

I Want to See New Zealand’s Glaciers!


You May Also Like

Milford Sound

New Zealand Must-See: Milford and Doubtful Sounds

Kiwi bird

Most Unique New Zealand Wildlife

Best things to do in Queenstown

Best Things to Do in Queenstown


Houston to Auckland Flights Open Doors for About New Zealand

Posted on: October 19th, 2015 by MelissaM No Comments

City scape of Auckland New Zealand

In December 2015, Air New Zealand will host direct flights from Houston to Auckland, New Zealand. This means traveling to New Zealand just became even easier with five Air New Zealand hubs in North America!

Training with Tourism New Zealand

In preparation for the inaugural flight from Houston, the staff at About New Zealand partnered with Tourism New Zealand for a massive training event Thursday. 24 vendors from all across New Zealand showed up Thursday morning and, after a Texas sized breakfast, the teams got to work.

About New Zealand meeting with Tourism New Zealand

The morning jumped right into fast paced training sessions for our staff. The vendors in town ranged from luxury accommodations to award winning Maori Cultural experiences and even self-drive experiences in the comfort of a camper van, like tourism New Zealand’s Kombi Diaries.

There are some pretty interesting things waiting you in New Zealand including Helicopter Tours to Franz Josef, luxury day cruises on Doubtful Sound, accommodations fit for royalty (literally) and lots of Hobbit inspired experiences. We even got a look at a real prop worn by a Dwalin in The Hobbit!

Dwarf prosthetic worn by an actor in The Hobbit

  Photo courtesy of Weta Workshop in Wellington, New Zealand

By midday the About New Zealand staff was full to the brim with New Zealand knowledge and Tourism NZ was out the door to Houston for their final stop. Housing this many vendors in one day was a milestone for About New Zealand. It was exciting and exhausting but most importantly it was another way we can improve your travel experience!

What does this mean for you? Our partnership with Tourism New Zealand and the amazing turn out of New Zealand vendors ensures your next New Zealand vacation is one you’ll never forget! After extensive training, our Destination Specialists are even more excited to start planning your New Zealand vacation!

Call us Toll Free 888-359-2877 (Mon-Fri 8:30am – 5:00pm Central US) or Start planning my trip

Tags



About New Zealand Reviews
Rating of  Average of 4.83 on a total of 18 Ratings
Clyde & Sharon
A Great Experience!

It would actually please us greatly if our visit to Hobbiton might be the catalyst for others to visit the Shire. We’ve been Tolkien fans forever and lifting a pint in the Prancing Pony was one(...)

Eric Olberding
My wife and I had a wonderful trip to New Zealand.

About New Zealand did an excellent job of covering all the details which led to a very organized and stress free vacation! A couple of the IBIS hotels we stayed at were disappointing but on the(...)

Bryan Betke
About New Zealand & Ana Musgray did an excellent job planning my honeymoon!
Delyn Simmons
Our trip to New Zealand was amazing!

It's such a beautiful country with lots of friendly people! Our travel guide did amazing work setting up our flights, hotels, tours, and shuttles, making it really relaxing on our part. So(...)