Fox or Franz Joseph Glacier??

Old Jul 28th, 2005, 03:29 PM
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Fox or Franz Joseph Glacier??

Hi, we will be in New Zealand in December and only have one day to spend at the glaciers. We were thinking of taking the heli-hike tour. Which glacier is better? Are you able to see the blue ice and caves on both of them? Has anyone done the heli-hike tour and do you recommend it?

Thank you!
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Old Jul 28th, 2005, 06:52 PM
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My sister did the heli-hike in Jan. 2001 on Franz Josef Glacier and said it was GREAT! We saw the pictures and it looked like everyone was having a fun time. I don't know about caves, but they definitely saw blue ice. We tried to do the heli-hike on our visit in Jan. 2002 but fog kept us grounded so we did the land hike. It was much more strenuous, but at least we got to get up on the glacier. Fantastic!
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Old Jul 29th, 2005, 08:24 AM
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Since you are new here, may I suggest that you type 'helihike' in the searchbox?
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Old Jul 29th, 2005, 11:05 AM
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From my bus window seat, it appeared that Franz Josef had more options for lodging and eating. We ate at Alice May's. We were in the mood for soup and theirs was delicious. We also had a platter of appetizers and weren't disappointed there. The dinner plates going buy were very appealing.
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Old Jul 29th, 2005, 05:42 PM
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We were there for a day in December 2004. The fog was so bad that you could just see the bottom of the glacier. Be prepared!
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Old Jul 29th, 2005, 07:48 PM
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Fox and Franz Josef join at higher altitude, where most heli-hikes depart; so it really doesn't matter much which one you choose. I have gone on a heli-hike from Fox Glacier, near the point where the two ice tongues diverge. While I don't know the whole area very well, I am not aware of caves or blue ice at the higher elevations, and it would seem unlikely to me. Much of the surface remains snow-covered, and very little glacial ice is exposed. If you want to see blue ice and caves, you should approach either glacier near the terminus, where once-deep ice is now exposed at the surface. Also, meltwater streams emanating from beneath the glaciers emerge from ice tunnels. Nevertheless, I think that a heli-hike is a great thing to do, as long as the weather is clear enough to allow you to get some good views. If not, then a walk to the terminus (and/or a guided walk onto the glacier) would be a better idea.
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Old Jul 31st, 2005, 01:15 AM
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Which terminus is the best to walk to and is the path well marked?
I would like details such as which has:
The shortest walk, best walk, best viewing and hopefully walking on and touching the glacier. We only want a bit of a taste of it, not one of the guided walks.

So is it Fox or Franz Joseph?

MANY thanks for any replies.
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Old Jul 31st, 2005, 07:35 AM
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Hi there
The paths are all well marked and you can easily see both terminal faces in one day. It would only take you an hour or so to walk to either. The tourist info centres are well worth calling into before you start a walk. They will be able to give you leaflets on the walks and tell you if anywhere is closed/dangerous. Its not too far to drive between Franz Josef and Fox (30km).Fox terminal face is not so thick,less high and less sheer than Franz Josef but had more impressive rock falls, crevaces and a cave where the river flowed from. If its a sunny day its well worth going to Peters Pool, which is a reflective kettle lake at the base of Franz Josef.There is a great photo opportunity of getting the glacier reflected in the lake.If you are fit the Roberts Point Track walk is wonderful at Franz. it took us about 7 hours round trip and you get to climb up high and view the glacier from above.
hope this is helpful.
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Old Aug 1st, 2005, 01:14 AM
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Thank you Louy,

That information is immensely helpful. We really want to walk to a glacier, but, like everyone on holiday, time is limited. Besides, anticipation and planning is half the fun.

We leave for the South Island next month. (it is the 1st August today and I am getting a buzz being able to say 'next month' instead of 'in September'.

Thanks again,
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Old Aug 7th, 2005, 07:34 PM
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I did the heli-hike on Franz Josef in March 2003 and loved it. I admit it was a bit scary - but worth every minute. I had a very adventurous guide, who found several ice caves, which were very blue ice. I lucked out and had a glorious sunny day for the hike, which added to the color. I also stayed in Franz Josef, which is a very nice, ski-resort kind of small town. I hiked the base of the glacier and also loved Peters Pool, of which I have some great pictures. You'll have a great time in NZ.
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Old Aug 8th, 2005, 05:53 PM
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The weather does not always cooperate in that area. We got to heli-hike, but not on the day we had planned. If you can't... the hikes on the bottom of the glaciers are great and the plane ride over Mt Cook is awesome.
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Old Aug 10th, 2005, 08:02 PM
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We didn't have the $$ to go on a helihike, but did the walks to the head of both Franz and Fox. The walk took about 1hr each way to both. When we went (Feb 2005) the walks were well marked- just follow the other tourists The walks were fairly easy for us (in our twenties), and there were a number of 'elderly' people walking the track. I wouldn't think it is suitable for wheelchairs in parts though. It is worthwhile dropping into the visitors centre as the others have mentioned- they can tell you about conditions at the glaciers, and if the walks ave been closed.
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Old Oct 28th, 2005, 11:18 PM
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I faced the same dilemma last September - here's the deal : franz joseff is touristyand busy , fox is more charming and desolate with an alpine village feel + gives you access to Lake Mstheson (spectacular, esp the reflection of mt. cook in the lake) and gillespie beach. I chose Fox and in retrospect this was the perfect decision. Do the glacier walk with Alpine Guides - its an out-of-the-world experience.
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