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Fox or Franz Josef Glacier with two seniors?

Old Mar 17th, 2006, 12:39 AM
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Fox or Franz Josef Glacier with two seniors?

I am traveling with two seniors and want to visit either Fox or Josef Glacier. Since we are not driving, which one is easier to walk around? Also, has anyone stay in the Rainforest Retreat(Tree Lodge) in JG and the Westhaven in Fox? Are they good? Thanks.
atam is offline  
Old Mar 17th, 2006, 08:29 PM
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If you're asking which village is easier to walk around, it's pretty much a wash, as they're both small and very compact. The village of Fox is smaller than Franz Josef, but just about everything (hotels, restaurants, etc) is within walking distance at either location.

However, if you plan to view the glaciers, you'll need to take a bus or some other form of transportation to both, as they're not right in town.

As far as the glaciers themselves, the terminal face of Franz Josef is easier to walk to than that of Fox Glacier. The path to Franz Josef is well maintained and had undergone some improvements when we re-visited last year. The path to Fox was quite a bit more strenuous and downright treacherous in spots (as of May 2005 anyway).
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Old Mar 18th, 2006, 07:37 AM
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I agree with Melnq8. I have just returned from the Glaciers. The path to the terminal face at Franz Josef is well maintained. Fox is more rocky and as Melnq8 put it more treacherous, particularly as there had been a lot of heavy rainfall. If you aren't planning to walk on the glaciers themselves or go with an expert 'alpine guide' then the benefit of Fox is that you can get closer to the terminal face as long as you are prepared for the rockier path.
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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 03:27 AM
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We have been to Franz Josef, and we did the helicoptor ride to the glacier and the walk on it. This would not be recommended for seniors, as four out of five of our family (plus others from the excursion) fell through cracks in the glacier in icy waters. I didn't fall but regretted doing the trip as I was quite concerned when it happened to my 10 year old! It was an adventure but certainly much harder than I thought it would be.

As far as the Rainforest Retreat, we were there in Winter and it was wonderful - by far the best place to stay from looking around the small town. Really nice and I would recommend it!
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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 03:45 AM
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It is very easy to walk around FJ town as it's quite compact. I haven't been to Fox (yet!). We stayed at the Punga Grove Motel in FJ and were very pleased. Check out the Blue Ice restaurant for dinner!
Tim_and_Liz is offline  
Old Mar 20th, 2006, 07:11 PM
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Thank you all for the useful information.
atam is offline  
Old Mar 21st, 2006, 05:04 PM
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You should not have a problem walking up to and around the bottom of Fraz Josef. There is quite a good path from the parking lot. Going up on to the glaciers are quite another matter. I was not fit enough. My friend did it and said it was fairly strenuous and wearing the clamps were not the easiest.
SO, I'd say for seniors, DO take the hike up to the face of the Franz Josef . It's spectacular to see from this view point.
NO need to go up onto it if you are not in good shape. I as very happy with what I did and got good pictures looking up at it.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 08:24 AM
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You don't say how old your seniors are. We are in early 60's, just returned, hiked the 2 or 3 km to Fox terminus, though it is steep at places and undergoing some reconstruction. The first 100 yards out of the parking lot is the steepest, and if they can't handle that, then you would know. They should have stout shoes.
They should be able to fly the glaciers. Helicopter rides from Alpine Adventures give a great ride, and a brief step out on the glacier. NOthing strenuous. http://www.scenic-flights.co.nz/
BillJ is offline  
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