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a VirtualTourist member from Kuala Lumpur

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef - full day or half day tour?

I would like an honest opinion from someone who have been to the FJ glacier with the FJ Guides. I am definitely going to FJ in March in a small group (all small sized ladies) and we need to decide on full day or half day tour. Which is recommended (although the difference is mentioned on the FAQ of the website)?

I am not very fit - I would be able to walk for whole day in shopping malls, but not sure when it comes to glacier what would be the fitness level required.

Please give me some opinion. Thanks very much!

8 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Carrum

we did this a few years ago when our children were small

it was a longish walk to the foot of the glacier over quite a rough path - it must have taken half an hour

when my daughter saw the glacier she lost her nerve - and i did too - climbing over it was really quite precipitous and slippery and high

so we didn't do it and we had a pleasant time just waiting for the others

my son and husband did it without any difficulty -

we had a half day - but i am sure they give you rest breaks for the full day

just i wonder, do you quite realise what it entails?

it's not just walking - it's climbing up and down this cliff of ice

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Christchurch

If you are not very fit I would not go for a full day tour. A glacier tour has nothing to do with spending a day in a shopping mall.

For a start the glacier is not flat and even much steeper than it looks when you approach it. And BTW Franz Josef Glacier is steeper than Fox Glacier, just to give you more to think about. However, the approach walk to the glacier (45 min) is flat at Franz Josef whereas you already have a (shorter) up and downhill walk at Fox. Only after this walk the adventure begins.

They divide the groups into smaller grips at the terminal face, and if you are not fit please tell them, so they group you with people of similar fitness, so you do not hold up the faster and fitter walkers. Somehow logical, half of your time on and in the glacier will be climbing up steep steps cut into the ice. So if you want to get a little fitter before you arrive here race up staircases every day, this is the fitness required.

At the end of the glacier hike you have to walk back to the bus, so another 45 minutes. I am sure you will have enough after a half day walk. Even very fit people are tired after a full day walk. Just talked to (fit) friends who went for a full day walk lately, and they said they were exhausted.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Christchurch

Sorry, I wrote: "smaller grips". Of course, I meant: "smaller groups".

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Kuala Lumpur

Thanks for all the replies! Have decided and book the half day tour... really hope I can make it! =D

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Sydney

I've done the half day glacier tour on Franz Josef and I think half day is enough to get the experience.

Basically the trip requires you need to walk on rocky/uneven surface from the glacier carpark to the glacier terminal for about 45min. So there is a high risk of twisting your ankles if you are not fit. Once at the glacier terminal, you put your supplied gears on and make the climb on ice.

While the initial climb over a set of ice steps is quite steep, there is a rope for you to hold on.

If you do plan to do this tour, remember do not wear jeans because if they get wet, you will freeze!

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Kuala Lumpur

thanks for the tip!
I hope I will survive!

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Kuala Lumpur

Thanks for all your replies on this forum! Probably would not have done it better without these tips, giving me a realistic view what to expect. I survived the half day glacier sometime end of March. Wonderful experience, no regrets! The hike uphill was tough for me (bad stamina) - it was stress free on the ice, and coming back downhill no problems at all. Glad I did it!!!!


answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Carrum

you did it! oh well done you!

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