Franz Josef was probably one of the nicest places I stayed. The Hostel was spot on and there were so many activities to choose from. Unfortunately my first day I spent in bed, ill. Don’t know if I was run down or had caught the cold but it wasn’t a great situation to be in. The second day was absolutely class though!
For the 2 nights a Franz Josef, I stayed at the Rainforest Retreat Hostel. Absolute bargain for $30 per night. The hostel itself was a lovely set up, it was set out as a holiday park. There were hot tubs on site for customer use, unfortunately I never managed to use these ones because I was ill on the first day but a few of the group did. The kitchen was quite nice – very clean and organised, unlike a few of the hostels we’ve stayed in. The hostel also has an all you can eat pizza deal for $25 but Kiwi Experience passengers get $5 off. From working in Pizza Hut for a few years, it just wouldn’t be the same for me so I made my own dinner. The Rainforest Retreat also has an excellent bar area, the drinks are pretty cheap and it is set out perfectly.
Franz Josef Glacier
The most expensive activity I’ve done yet was the Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike. For a discounted price through Kiwi Experience, I got it for $399. Definitely worth it, what an amazing experience. The tour starts with getting some extra clothing, crampons and a safety briefing. Then next thing your jumping in a helicopter and getting flown up to the glacier. Flying up the side of the mountains covered in trees reminded of the helicopter journey in Jurassic Park. In the air, the glacier doesn’t look that big but once you actually land on it, you realise how massive it actually is.
We spent around 3 hours on the glacier, hiking through crevasses and making our way up to the top again. Unfortunately you can’t climb right to the top of the glacier, even the guide hadn’t been that far, its just far too dangerous. I expected it to be a lot colder than it actually was, it was quite a nice temperature up there. The trails that the guides take you on change every couple of days due to the weather, sometimes the guides even find themselves at parts they haven’t been to before. I’m so glad I done the Heli Hike, with the effect global warming is having upon the glacier, generations to come won’t have the chance to do something like that.
Franz Josef Glacial Hot Pools
Once the helicopter had landed, we went back to the Rainforest Retreat, chilled for half an hour or so then got organised and headed for the Glacial hot pools. The ticket price for the pools are usually $28 but because I done the Heli Hike, I got access anyway. There were 3 pools to choose from; 36degrees, 38degrees or 40 degrees. It was absolute bliss chilling out and chatting away to the group from the bus. We spent quite a bit of time in the pools too, such a class wee day!
So aye, if you ever find yourself in New Zealand, I highly recommend the Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike. Its one of those things that you can’t really appreciate until you’ve done it.
Cheers for reading!