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Hike fox or franz josef glaciers

Fox and Franz Josef, two glaciers on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, are filled with deep valleys and a wide variety of natural wonders. A world-class experience for the adventurous-minded is to hike across this mesmerising frozen landscape.

As the two glaciers are situated a mere 25 minutes apart you can easily experience both, possibly within the same day, although if you are able to free up enough time in your itinerary to see them over two days we would highly recommend this. The main difference between the two glaciers is that Fox Glacier is not as steep as Franz Josef and therefore might be more suitable for first time ice-hikers. However, the steeper the glacier the more crevasses and ice caves to be found, as well as there being a better chance to witness the famous blue ice.

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To walk on the glaciers, the only way to access them is by helicopter. Glaciers are retreating all over the world, and for these two the outcome has been that access from the valley floor is no longer possible. When on the ice, it’s hard to say what you’ll actually come across as glaciers are constantly shifting masses, meaning every visit will be unique and different. Those braving the inclines of Franz Josef glacier can expect to strap on crampons, crawl through natural tunnel formations, and squeeze through narrow crevices. This is an exceptional experience, although as a result of less air-traffic and slighter inclines, Fox Glacier is often the more popular choice. This glacier contains unique and off the beaten path trails, plus the overall shape of the glacier has a bigger bend compared to its sibling, resulting in more caves and arches as the ice pushes up. If you have to choose you can't go wrong as they are both phenomenal!

Contact Destination Seekers to discuss hiking on Fox and Franz Josef glaciers in more detail.

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