Jurassic Franz Josef
Franz Josef Glacier, or Franz as its known by the locals, is one of the most popular tourist stops on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island. Home to the Franz Josef Glacier, the town offers some great adventure activities as well as a more relaxing experience. Visit the combined Franz Josef DoC office and i-SITE to get information on all the routes to tramp, and activities to have a go at. Don't worry if the the power goes out either, as theres an old German U-Boat engine ready to kick in and turn back on the lights. one warning is the Internet speed is pretty bad everywhere, so lest time spent on the laptop and more time out exploring.
Where to Stay: Why not live in the Forest! The 'Rainforest Retreat' that is.
In Franz Josef, a destination popular with those who want to either walk or fly to the main and only attraction, the Franz Josef glacier can choose between several good backpackers starting at $12 a night, or go for something a little more comfortable,at a price. However 'The Rainforest Retreat' has bunk rooms for a similar $12 a night or plush cabins for $70, all guests have access to a pool size hot tub, easily fitting 20 and an awesome on site bar and restaurant.
Where to Eat: In Franz Josef your spoiled for choice, so eat where the locals do, all 330 of them.
After your walk or flight with the dinosaurs head for 'The Landing' to replenish your energy, it's favorited by all the guides and pilots who despite their job get the beer and conversation flowing in the evening, have the big l burger, Nicely toasted bun, good hand made patty if a little taught with enough relish, cheese and mayo to stop the growling.
Monsoon Bar & Restaurant, has a pretty good vibe in the evening with an outdoor fire pit to warm up by, and be sure not to miss there all you can eat pizza night, the pizza's just keep on coming till you can't eat anymore, and with plenty of flavours being brought around its brilliant for a family or group of friends.
What to do: When in Franz Josef there is only one thing to do. See the Glacier!
Walking, biking or paddling in Franz Josef you feel as though you have been transported back to the Jurassic age. Even from the town itself great forested mountains tower above you eerily covered in cloud, I could imagine the dinosaurs running out of the trees at any moment. Just don't think about that when crossing the largest swing bridge in the Southern Hemisphere on the Roberts Point Tack, or looking upon a glacier that shouldn't exist, as the lowest Alpine Glacier in the world.
If walking to see the Glacier isn't for you, get yourself on a guided helicopter hike and experience it up close for a mere $449 for 3 hours on the Ice. To warm back up afterward your icy adventure you can take a dunk in the hot pools located on site and included in the price.
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Beginning of Gentlemen