Franz Josef Glacier is perhaps a bit more spectacular than Fox Glacier. The town near Franz Josef is a bit touristy – while the community near Fox Glacier is slightly less touristy and feels a little more relaxed. Touring the Franz Josef Glacier is usually more expensive than its counterpart just down the road, the Fox Glacier.
Guiding companies host walking trips out onto either glacier. One such company we recommend for Fox Glacier is Alpine Guides and their Glacier Walks & Ice Adventures program. Choose from a variety of trips ranging from half day, to full day to helicopter rides over the glacier. The half day walk is an ideal introduction to walking on a glacier. Be sure to dress warmly, including gloves and a beanie cap. The weather can really change on these trips – it might be raining when you begin your trek and completely sunny by the end or vice versa. A pre-carved trail has already been cut into the glacier by the guides – small 4 point crampons and boots are included with the trek.
Our guide on the half day trip, Matt was excellent – very attentive to the needs of the clients on the walk. This was his first trip onto the glacier in about two weeks as part of the glacier had collapsed and had completely destroyed the old trail. We experienced cold, wind and rain on the glacier during our hike. Allow at least an hour to reach the glacier with about 60 to 90 minutes of actual glacier walking time. For more information about Alpine Guides – visit: www.foxguides.co.nz
Franz Josef Glacier Guides is a good company to use for trekking on the Franz Josef Glacier. For more information visit: www.franzjosefglacier.com
Note that you can walk near the glacier from the car park for free. Its about a 60 minute walk to the closest glacier overlook.
Franz Josef Glacier Photos