Fox or Franz Josef Glacier?

fox-or-franz-josef-glacier

 

Fox vs Franz Josef Glacier free hotpools pass

 

glacier

 

5 reasons why visitors prefer Franz Josef.

Wondering whether to choose Fox or Franz Josef Glacier? You’re not alone. The West Coast of New Zealand is renowned for 3 things...the phenomenal amount of rainfall Westland receives every year, the region’s jaw-dropping beauty, and it's accessible to fascinating glaciers.

Two glaciers in particular, Franz Josef and Fox, are unique in that each glacier’s terminal face is quite low in altitude in comparison to other glaciers at similar latitudes around the world. The question is just which one is a better option in terms of value for money and time spent on the ice? If you can’t do both, should you go with Fox or Franz Josef Glacier? 

1 Fox or Franz Josef – where do you get faster access to the ice?

With tight travel itineraries and the West Coast’s notorious changing weather patterns, many visitors choose not to add the extra hour or two walking up the valley to the glacier and experience the best ice first-hand by helicopter. You can walk up the valley to Fox or Franz Josef Glacier but the terminal wall ice on both glaciers has a lot of shingle and dirt on it. Plus, due to the loose ice at the edges, you’re not allowed to walk onto either glacier without a guide. The best way to see the iridescent blue ice caves is by helicopter. The fastest  helicopter tour is to Franz Josef Glacier – a 5-minute flight. 

2 ICE FORMATIONS

Fox has a more gradual incline, whereas Franz drops a little more steeply from the Southern Alps to near sea-level. The steeper incline means that Franz Josef Glacier is constantly moving (at glacial pace of course), therefore creating stunning ice formations such as crevasses and ice caves that accentuate the famous ‘blue ice’ visitor experience. Our guides craft their way through the terrain using their ice axe allowing you to safely experience the most amazing glacier landscapes.

3 Free: relaxing hot pools after being on the ice at Franz

A major draw card for many people who visit the Franz Josef Glacier by helicopter is getting a free pass to the local hot pools. It’s a great way to relax after a day on the ice (the hot pools, like Franz Josef Glacier Guides, are also owned by the local Maori tribe). There are three public and three private pools are set among the rainforest. A definite stop on the way up the coast! 

4 Franz Josef or Fox Glacier – what’s better value for money?

Both Franz and Fox offer a longer scenic tour heli-flight, but the shorter flight option to Franz makes getting to the best ice by helicopter more affordable for many. With the entry level tour costing just $449 for a 5-minute flight to and from the guides tours on the ice, Franz Josef Glacier Guides offer the most affordable and value-for-money helicopter ice experiences available. 

5 Privately-owned while providing for the community

As a privately-owned entity, Franz Josef Glacier Guides supports both the community and the livelihood of those living and working in the region. Franz Glacier Guides is owned by Ngai Tahu, the local South Island Maori tribe. This means that the profits go to support the South Island Maori community through contribution to funding for Maori education, language and culture.

As a privately-owned entity, Franz Josef Glacier Guides supports both the community and the livelihood of those living and working in the region. Franz Glacier Guides is owned by Ngai Tahu, the local South Island Maori tribe. This means that the profits go to support the South Island Maori community through contribution to funding for Maori education, language and culture.

Both the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are popular tourist attractions on New Zealand’s West Coast. Both glaciers are natural wonders and each has its own unique features. These points may help you decide which glacier suits your budget and travel itinerary.

Whichever you choose, you just cannot leave the West Coast without at least visiting Fox or Franz Josef Glacier and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’ll create memorable photos to mark your tour. 

Find out about helicopter tours to Franz

Check out our Glacier Hot Pools

Free hot pools pass with all Franz Glacier heli-tours!