We stayed at this venue the week before Christmas in 2011 after searching Tripadvisor for modern, clean accommodation on the Franz Josef Glacier. We have stayed at Fox previously in Te Weheka hotel.
Jag is simple and modern. The concept is pre-fab cabins set on a drive off the "main" road. I use "main" in inverted commas as it is a very quiet main road. The cabins have a deck out front with cafe table and chairs which is very pleasant (no view). The staff seemed like a young family and they were always available and friendly.
I think having a car for the journey would make your stay here more comfortable.
Inside the furnishings are simple and modern. I think it is still fairly new and everything was in very good condition.
There were 2 bedrooms which faced the "quiet" back road looking out to farmland and we were serenaded by cows (no smells).
The kitchen is modern and functional. This is a self-cater venue so pick up your groceries in town at the 4 Square which is only 5 minutes by car away.
The bathroom is a decent size with shower - no bath.
Linen and towels were excellent quality items and the toiletries were NZ local products.
There is Wi-fi but we had to walk towards the little admin hut to link up and then walk back to the cabin. Only one device would work on it a t a time. This was a little inconvenient as were travelling with only an ipad and wireless devices. I don't know if there is ethernet capability there.
The name is a misnomer as its not what you would normally have in mind for a "retreat" ie facilities but for what it is ie proivding comfortable, spotlessly clean and modern basic accommodation at a reasonable tarriff it is absolutely fine. Families will find it very comfortable.
Word of advice, close the doors which are unscreened in the late afternoon - mosquitos come up at that time. The bedrooms have screening so can be left open during the night. Screened doors would make the experience in Summer a little more pleasant.
We enjoyed a Heli hike through Franz Josef Glacier Guides. I booked for the 1st day of our 3 night stay which was a good move as the heli trip was postponed through the first day due to cloud. We were able to shift our Quad Bikes Franz Josef to the day of the postponed heli hike. Both were booked on-line from home and the Quad bikes people were very happy to shift our booking as there was space.
My family enjoyed the Quads. Being 4 adults we hired 4 singles. Being a 50 something woman I found it a little challenging however the other 3 adults found it no problem. The terrain we covered just can't be beat! Tall Savannah grasslands, river, river bed, rainforest - this was amazing. Be prepared to get dusty and dirty! My son had his GoPro camera and got some amazing footage.
The Heli hike was a real highlight. We had a stunningly beautiful sunny day up top - just magnificent.
For both activities you only need to drive into town. Park your car on the street or the small carpark opposite the 4 Square and the helicoptors take off from behind the shops and the ATVs are just a short walk away.
I can't remember the names of the restaurants we ate at but they were along the main street - reasonable cafe style fare. We had a coffee and a game of snooker at one of them.
Franz Josef is an easy drive from Queenstown about 4 hours drive. Some lovely waterfalls to see along the way. http://www.planmyplay.co.nz tells you where they are along the Haast Pass.
We also drove to Lake Matheson - would give this one a miss.
Stop at this magnificent pebble beach with driftwood on the way - magnificent but I can't remember the name! is north of Haast as you drive towards Queenstown.
All in all a very pleasant and hightly recommended stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- We've created our second escape at the Fox Glacier, situated in Glacier Country, on the West Coast of the South Island, 21kms south of Franz Josef. The Fox Alpine Retreat is the total escape, purpose built apartments that put you in charge of your stay. Brand new spacious 2 bedroom Colonial cottages with stunning views of Mount Cook and Fox Glacier, 500 metres from the Village centre. Sleeps up to 6, full kitchen with gas cooking, full dining, beautiful tiled bathrooms, verandas and decks, car parking, beautifully appointed and family friendly. So come and escape with us! ... more less
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