Franz Josef Glacier Guides has been voted the number one visitor attraction in New Zealand at this year’s TNT Golden Backpack Awards for the second year in a row.
The TNT Golden Backpack Awards are the original and most well-established awards dedicated to the independent travel sector, rewarding companies which work hard to make backpacking around Australia and New Zealand that extra bit special.
Following a ten-week campaign in TNT magazine and online, backpackers voted Franz Josef Glacier Guides the ‘Best Visitor Attraction – New Zealand’.
Manager Craig Buckland said the company was “thrilled” with the back-to-back win, particularly up against such strong competition in this year’s finalists.
Franz Josef Glacier Guides is an internationally-renowned tourism operator, with a history of guiding in the area stretching back over a century. It offers guided tours to one of New Zealand’s most incredible glaciers, and tours are enhanced by using helicopters to transport visitors to the glacier.
Trips start with a heli-ride from the South Island West Coast township of Franz Josef, taking visitors up to the glacier for guided hikes or ice-climbing on a pristine and breathtaking glacial landscape.
“A second win means so much to our team who see the value and importance of delivery outstanding visitor experiences to the backpacker market, said Mr Buckland.
Backpackers name Franz Josef Glacier Guides number one visitor attraction in New Zealand
“What makes this award win even more special is that it comes from public votes. It demonstrates that we have a world-class activity which backpackers know is truly a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience, and pays testament to the skill and experience of our guides on the ice and team on the ground.”
Mr Buckland said the company’s backpacker market had grown within its traditional markets or the UK and Ireland, as well as emerging backpacker travellers coming from the Chinese market.
Franz Josef Glacier Guides has also seen seasonal spread increase out into the traditional shoulder seasons.
Earlier this year Franz Josef Glacier Guides moved into the brand new Glacier Base building in the township’s Cron Street, a purpose-built guiding centre reflecting the changing need of the market and providing support for a world-class product.
“This has been hugely successful in terms of visualisation and in enhancing the customer experience through better processing within a brand new, functional space as well as enabling us to offer on-site café,” said Mr Buckland.
Franz Josef Glacier is located high in the Southern Alps and deep within the lush rainforest of Westland’s National Park.
Pure enjoyment – a Franz Josef Heli Hike
As well as fun and interaction on the ice, visitors can enjoy the dramatic and dynamic scenery with a Glacier Valley Walk, running alongside the mighty Waiho River bed.
A huge drawcard for Franz Josef Glacier Guides’ visitors is a free pass to the Glacier Hot Pools — a perfect way to relax after a day on the ice, set amongst stunning rainforest and enjoyed all year round until 9pm.
“For the majority of visitors the glacier is the single biggest reason they come to our stunning West Coast, and now couldn’t be a better time to see the glacier it in its glory,” said Mr Buckland.
Along with a well-embedded safety culture and hugely-experienced guides, Franz Josef Glacier Guides boasts the ‘quality stamp of tourism’ with a Qualmark licence and Enviro Gold rating, as well as holding Telarc New Zealand safety management certification and being adventure tourism.
A full range of accommodation choices in Franz Josef township include everything from backpacker hostels to five-star hotels, making a trip to the glacier an attractive option for backpackers and all ages.