Snapshots from Franz Josef Glacier

New Zealand is beautiful every which way you look at it: the mountains, the lakes and even glaciers! And, we got to walk on one. I mean, how often do you get to say, I walked a glacier today? Well on this day, we did. 

Franz Josef is a small town. Then again, any town in New Zealand is pretty small with one major intersection, a handful of restaurants, a mini mart, cafe and gas station nestled beneath the snow capped mountains.

franz josef town

We arrived late afternoon, checked into our hostel and decided to wander a bit before grabbing dinner and calling it a night. It was a long drive from Blenheim. The next morning, we dropped by the Franz Josef Glacier Guide company and started our half-day tour.

franz josef glacier guides

It’s a short bus ride up the mountain before we all got out and started walking. We trekked through some forest and bushes before making it to the clearing to see the glacier.

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Don’t be fooled by the distance — the glacier is a lot farther than it looks. And even though the walk was on flat surface over gravel and rocks, some people didn’t make it pass this point.

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We eventually made it to the bottom of the starting point for our climb. A mini mountain of rocks, with narrow and steep pathway had us panting for breath. It was tougher getting to the glaciers than I initially anticipated.

Once at the foot of the glacier, our tour began. We were briefed on how to put on our shoes, things to avoid and other things to look out for.

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Glacier conditions change every single day, so guides have to pick down the trails to ensure safety for the group.

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When you get to the ice portion, it’s time to switch your shoes for some scary & stylish crampons.

franz josef glacier

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 Then it’s ice ice baby time from there.

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Kind of reminds you of Middle Earth.

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We also stumbled upon the Kea aka the green curious mountain parrot that likes to steal things when you’re not looking.

kea bird franz josef

If you’re looking for a good workout, you can even climb these ice walls.

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Coming back down you’ll see the view of the valley… Most of this used to be covered in ice… Now sadly it’s fading away. Product of global warming?

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After a day hiking the glacier, it’s relaxing to wind down and relax your muscles at the Glacier Hot Pools back in town.

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Q was pretty tired towards the end of the hike, so we’re glad we took the half-day package (plus we saved some money too).

Looking back, we got a good taste of the glacier hiking experience, but it would’ve been nice to get higher and deeper into the belly of the beast.

How about you? Does glacier hiking sound like something you’d want to do?

 

 

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  • http://www.solowayfarer.com/ Jules

    Boohoo, I’m so jealous! I had made a long car journey from the East to West coast of the South Island just so that I could do some glacier hiking at the Fox Glacier. There was non-stop continuous rain the day before I was due to go so my glacier hike got cancelled. I was gutted as I had to leave the following day and so did not get the chance to do it. Your photos look awesome fun though!

  • http://www.solowayfarer.com/ Jules

    Boohoo, I’m so jealous! I had made a long car journey from the East to West coast of the South Island just so that I could do some glacier hiking at the Fox Glacier. There was non-stop continuous rain the day before I was due to go so my glacier hike got cancelled. I was gutted as I had to leave the following day and so did not get the chance to do it. Your photos look awesome fun though!

  • http://bucketlistjourney.net/ Annette | Bucket List Journey

    I am completely jealous of this experience. Adding it to my bucket list asap!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      The bucket list grows again! How big is it now?

  • http://bucketlistjourney.net/ Annette

    I am completely jealous of this experience. Adding it to my bucket list asap!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      The bucket list grows again! How big is it now?

  • @mrsoaroundworld

    What a lovely experience – I think I would still be scared!

  • @mrsoaroundworld

    What a lovely experience – I think I would still be scared!

  • Rosanne Ditewig

    That look so awesome! I’m considering glacier walking in Iceland…

  • Rosanne Ditewig

    That look so awesome! I’m considering glacier walking in Iceland…

  • TripsByLance

    I would love to do most of this. I have no interest in climbing, just hiking.

  • TripsByLance

    I would love to do most of this. I have no interest in climbing, just hiking.

  • fotoeins

    I liked the two townships associated with each of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Visiting in winter (July) meant lower traffic, and easy conversations with either permanent- or transient-residents of the townships. Love the photos here!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      That would’ve been ‘cooler’ indeed. Although I didn’t mind being able to hike the glacier in shorts during the summer.

  • fotoeins

    I liked the two townships associated with each of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Visiting in winter (July) meant lower traffic, and easy conversations with either permanent- or transient-residents of the townships. Love the photos here!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      That would’ve been ‘cooler’ indeed. Although I didn’t mind being able to hike the glacier in shorts during the summer.

  • Liz Carlson

    Fun! I just did this a month ago and it was amazing, totally right, how often do you get to climb on a glacier?! Though when were you there – I think now you can only really get up there by helicopter since the facade collapsed, don’t think you can climb straight onto it anymore

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      no way! Aww.. that’s so sad. Got we got to experience it when we did. THanks for the update.

  • Liz Carlson

    Fun! I just did this a month ago and it was amazing, totally right, how often do you get to climb on a glacier?! Though when were you there – I think now you can only really get up there by helicopter since the facade collapsed, don’t think you can climb straight onto it anymore

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      no way! Aww.. that’s so sad. Got we got to experience it when we did. THanks for the update.

  • Francesca

    Glaciers fascinate me, even more so knowing one can hike/walk INTO one. Awesome experience for you, I’m sure.

  • Francesca

    Glaciers fascinate me, even more so knowing one can hike/walk INTO one. Awesome experience for you, I’m sure.

  • Lazy Travelers

    whoa baby! we skipped this in nz due to timing and now i’m kicking myself. looks amazing! q really rocks the crampons, btw.

  • Lazy Travelers

    whoa baby! we skipped this in nz due to timing and now i’m kicking myself. looks amazing! q really rocks the crampons, btw.

  • Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    I went to the glacier in ’09 and LOVED the experience of walking through the ice. But I helicoptered my way in 🙂

  • Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    I went to the glacier in ’09 and LOVED the experience of walking through the ice. But I helicoptered my way in 🙂

  • http://travelingted.com/ Traveling Ted

    Looks like a great hike. I have never hiked on a glacier. It is like one giant ice cube. I would love to be drinking a scotch and just take a chunk of glacier and throw it in the glass.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      I would’ve loved some whisky or vodka while I was up there. 🙂

  • http://travelingted.com/ Traveling Ted

    Looks like a great hike. I have never hiked on a glacier. It is like one giant ice cube. I would love to be drinking a scotch and just take a chunk of glacier and throw it in the glass.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      I would’ve loved some whisky or vodka while I was up there. 🙂

  • lola

    you know, i do think i’d be into glacier hiking. at least give it a go once in my life.

  • lola

    you know, i do think i’d be into glacier hiking. at least give it a go once in my life.

  • Leah Travels

    Cool! You got to see a kea, too! I drove through Franz Josef, but elected to go to Fox. I think either are beautiful.

  • Leah Travels

    Cool! You got to see a kea, too! I drove through Franz Josef, but elected to go to Fox. I think either are beautiful.

  • travellingforfun

    Great photos. I was there but never got to go into the cave. That looks brilliant

  • travellingforfun

    Great photos. I was there but never got to go into the cave. That looks brilliant

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