Best Glacier walk ?

Born2ski

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So at the end of this week we head over to NZ for some sightseeing and skiing. Wife and I did a number of trips to NZ back in the 90's but this is the first time our kids have been (now 9 and 13). Back then the wife and I did a helicopter landing on the Fox Glacier and hiked up to the Franz Josef terminal face. My understanding is you can no longer do this walk to the terminal face.

Question : What's the best way to show our kids the glory of these glaciers ? Is there still a good walk to do these days that allows you to see the glaciers (suitable for kids)?

Our kids have been going to the snow for many years, so it's not about the snow, it's about showing them the grandeur of a glacier.

Any recommendations ? @Red_switch you're our resident NZ glacier expert, any advice ? :)
 

Legs Akimbo

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Born2ski

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You can see the Rob Roy glacier from the end of the road from Wanaka up the Matukituki Valley towards Mt Aspiring. It's a bit of a hike up towards the glacier and I don't know how close you get. There is lots of other spectacular scenery scattered about the area.
https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-r...ional-park/things-to-do/tracks/rob-roy-track/
Ahh yes, we did that walk up to the Rob Roy Glacier back in the 90's as well. Had forgot about that one. Thanks.
 

Snow Blowey

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I found the Mt Cook village walks more spectacular for glacier viewing. The walks along the valley floor to the Hooker Terminal Lake and Mueller Terminal Lake were very speccy. Then do a nice short steep climb up toward Mueller Hut to get a great overview of the area.

At Fox glacier just go and make your own track up the side of the valley and get up close without puting yourself in danger. Simply walk up the valley to the terminal face, find a cascading water line and follow it up the slope. Theres a really good walk (but steep and difficult) up he mountain on the south side of Fox Glacier. Gets you up nice and high with views to the major peaks and out to the ocean.
 

Donzah

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If you've got the coin. Heli up at FJ. Then walk. Friends did it a couple of weeks ago and loved it.
Its so so sad how much they have receded.
I was there recently...and I always compare it to each time i've been.

Obviously
Its winter...its effing freezing down on the WC and the weather looks pretty gnarly from late this week.
 

Red_switch

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Mt Cook village for bang for buck. Wakefield falls for a good view of the (not so) great Tasman Glacier. Remind me and I'll post more info tomorrow.
 
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Zimbooo

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As Donza said, next weeks weather forecast for the west coast looks very bleak.
Maybe worth considering a plan b?
Over on the eastern side of the southern alps would be more pleasant weather wise.
Further to Redswitches call on Mt Cook village, this could be a good option for you.
https://mackenzienz.com/tours/glacier-explorers/
https://mackenzienz.com/tours/walking-tracks-mount-cook/
We did a air tour out of Tekapo to Mt Cook & and glaciers about dozen years ago which was absolutely spectacular.
Cost a lot for the 4 of us, but was one of those once in a lifetime experiences for the family to share.
Edit: My wife nearly shared all her breakfast during the flight (luckly all ended up in a spew bag). Small planes and or helicopters don't agree with her stomach. LOL
 

Born2ski

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As Donza said, next weeks weather forecast for the west coast looks very bleak.
Maybe worth considering a plan b?
Yes the forecast is not looking good for the west coast. We'd be there Thursday/Friday next week. Might need to head East.
 

xuěboarder

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IMO
Go to Mt. Cook village. In line with what was said above:
I've done FJ, speccy walk in but the view of the actual glacier is a bit eh as it has receded too much. From memory a heli flight with a 15m walk was around 400 pp. Couldn't justify.

In Mt. Cook, you can do Hooker valley which glaciers aside is next level. Or you could walk up to the snow line for Muellers. If you were prepared (not sure your experience with tramping and the kids age) you could walk up to the boulder field for the best views, but it would probably be snowed in by now

Some pics from said boulder field
20190626_054733.jpg
 
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Snow Blowey

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IMO
Go to Mt. Cook village. In line with what was said above:
I've done FJ, speccy walk in but the view of the actual glacier is a bit eh as it has receded too much. From memory a heli flight with a 15m walk was around 400 pp. Couldn't justify.

In Mt. Cook, you can do Hooker valley which glaciers aside is next level. Or you could walk up to the snow line for Muellers. If you were prepared (not sure your experience with tramping and the kids age) you could walk up to the boulder field for the best views, but it would probably be snowed in by now

Some pics from said boulder field
20190626_054733.jpg


And occasionally through the day you get to hear big chunks of the hanging glacier break off and crash into the mountain below. Absolutely magnificent place.
 

Donzah

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Yes the forecast is not looking good for the west coast. We'd be there Thursday/Friday next week. Might need to head East.
Yeah if its raining a bit... do not even bother going over Arthurs Pass.

I'll say it..I think the glaciers are overrated.
Mind you, the country around Haast is effing awesome (on a clear day)
 
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Donzah

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A few photos of the area.

small IMG_6217a.jpg

The drive in.

small IMG_6308a.jpg

Muller Glacier Terminal Lake
small IMG_6313a.jpg

Mueller Glacier
small IMG_6338a.jpg

Hooker Glacier
small IMG_6234a.jpg

A short walk up the Sealy Tarns Track. You don't have to go for very long to get good views like this.
Great pics

Thats weather dependant as well though
When you get a strong NW flow like will be established soon over the SI. That view is obscured by cloud.
It just rolls over the range.
 
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Born2ski

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@Snow Blowey what time of year did you take those pics ?

In reference to Mt Cook and the Tasman Glacier, how much can you do during the winter months ? My research seems to indicate a lot of activities close down over winter.
 

Born2ski

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I'll say it..I think the glaciers are overrated.
Mind you, the country around Haast is effing awesome (on a clear day)

We had fun at Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers back in the 90s, that's why we want to return to show the kids. The helicopter flight, hike right up to the terminal face and a little walk through the forest with glow worms all around left us with some great memories.
 

Snow Blowey

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@Snow Blowey what time of year did you take those pics ?

In reference to Mt Cook and the Tasman Glacier, how much can you do during the winter months ? My research seems to indicate a lot of activities close down over winter.

My pics above were around mid september 2008. Most of the walks are along the valley at around 600m ASL from memory. During my trips snowline on the surrounding slopes was about 1200-1400m so you could easily walk up the rocky tracks up the sides of the valley.

Worth looking into closures. I know one of the side tracks we went on was gated with warnings that it was in avalanche pathway - but this was a side track, not one of the main walks.

Can't see NZ exclding anyone. Wen i was at Fox there was a rope telling you there was danger ahead, but noone stopping you from stepping over it to continue up the valley. I followed the tour group track to the glacier then just made my way up a rocky drainage up the side of the valley to get a good view of the glacier further up the valley. Can't remeber it being that bad - but i was alot fitter then. Heavy rain likely to make this dangerous.
 

Red_switch

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Do they still do walks on the glacier at Franz Josef? That is something worth doing.
Not possible to do a guided walk without a helicopter now. Which is incredibly ironic.

@Born2ski , you'd probably find the state of Fox and Franz pretty depressing/confronting compared to when you were last there. That could be a good thing, in a way.

Stick with Mt Cook village with your timeframe/forecast though. In the Tasman Valley, point out to your kids that the lake didn't exist 40 years ago...
 

Donzah

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Not possible to do a guided walk without a helicopter now. Which is incredibly ironic.

@Born2ski , you'd probably find the state of Fox and Franz pretty depressing/confronting compared to when you were last there. That could be a good thing, in a way.

Stick with Mt Cook village with your timeframe/forecast though. In the Tasman Valley, point out to your kids that the lake didn't exist 40 years ago...
Yeah.. It's effing sad how much FJ has changed.
 

Born2ski

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Stick with Mt Cook village with your timeframe/forecast though. In the Tasman Valley, point out to your kids that the lake didn't exist 40 years ago...
Problem is the Mt Cook weather forecast doesn't look much better than the west coast at this stage. I'll keep an eye on the forecasts over the next few days before I make a call.
 

Snow Blowey

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Yeah - i'd pick whatever the lee side is for the given window. Looks a bit like it could go either way at this stage.
 

Red_switch

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Problem is the Mt Cook weather forecast doesn't look much better than the west coast at this stage. I'll keep an eye on the forecasts over the next few days before I make a call.
As long as the airflow is from the W half, it will always be better at Mt Cook. Plus you can retreat back to the Mackenzie basin if it is super gnarly (hot pools at Tekapo etc). The DOC visitor centre (free) in Mount Cook Village is fantastic, and will have lots of interesting stuff for the kids and adults alike. IMHO it's one of the best national park visitor centres in the country. The Hermitage is worth a nosey too.
 

Brunty

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Just a bit of video of Mt Cook and Rob Roy Glacier we took in 2017/2018 on family holiday:


Mt Cook (Tasman Lake and Hooker Valley):
1:22 to 3:22

Rob Roy:
4:37 to 5:15
 

Brunty

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Cool video, but not good places to fly drones.
Spoke to NP before i flew it - I ended flying it above a road reserve just outside the gates to the village (which NP suggested was about the only place i could do it - far enough from the local airport as well).
 

Red_switch

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Spoke to NP before i flew it - I ended flying it above a road reserve just outside the gates to the village (which NP suggested was about the only place i could do it - far enough from the local airport as well).
That's concerning that they gave that advice... that road reserve is state highway, and you're definitely still within 4 km of the aerodrome.
 

Zimbooo

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@Born2ski ........looks like the big wet moves away Wednesday night now on the south island!!
Hope you get some nice clear sky where ever you end up at the end of the week.
Waterfalls could be spectacular on the Haast pass......if safe?
 
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