While waiting for the weather to clear in Franz Josef we had several unplanned adventures which we thoroughly enjoyed. A trip in a helicopter to Franz Josef Glacier was our main event but the weather was proving somewhat uncooperative until our last day. With three nights in town we were keen to fill our days with other fun-filled family adventures and with rain on and off, we needed all weather options.
Quad biking hasn’t been something we’ve ever been able to do because BJ can’t double on the back of a bike. Keen to ensure we could all participate in the activity, I visited the Across Country Quad Bikes office to enquire if, in addition to the quad bikes, they had a buggy for BJ. They did, which allowed the whole family to do the two hour scenic tour together. Remember, it’s always worth asking.
I think it’s so important AJ has the opportunity to try a range of activities so I was thrilled she and Hubby could ride the quad bikes while BJ and I followed behind in the buggy. A staff member from Across drove the buggy so they didn’t need to worry about me running them down with my led foot.
The West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand certainly gets its fair share of rain. The result is a lush environment and plenty of mud and water crossings to challenge those on the tour. Quad bikes are impressive with the way they handle the conditions and although it was AJ’s first time, she did amazingly well, only getting bogged once.
The tour started in the other-worldly fern-lined and mossy rainforest before moving to the riverbed.
The tour provided us with the best views from the ground of Franz Josef Glacier. More of the glacier is visible from this point than anywhere else. Yes, it’s distant but depending on weather conditions, clear to see.
A river crossing proved tricky with the water level raised after a couple of days of rain. Getting bogged in the buggy was probably the highlight of the trip for BJ.
He loved watching the process of being towed out. Across Quad Bikes lived up to their saying “the wetter the better to get down and dirty in the mud and water.” We did both, so thank goodness they also provide the wet weather gear for the trip.
AJ was able to drive on her own as she is 16 but she did have to show identification so if you have a teen wanting to go it alone, ensure you take some form of ID with you. Kids under 16, or those less adventurous, can double on the quads.
BJ is able to do a standing transfer and can step up into a vehicle so had no problem getting into the buggy.
Once in the buggy he wore a helmet, seat belt and I noted he tended to use the grab bar in front of him to stabilise. He wore gum boots and needed them, with water filling the floor of the buggy at times during the trip. The wilder the better in his books.
Although we walked with the group to the shed for the tour, I recommend arranging to drive to the car park just behind where the quad biking starts. It would make it easier for a wheelchair user.
Wear insect repellent or use the repellent available to avoid bites.
Guests need to be able to put on wet weather gear in the shed.
BJ’s wheelchair was locked in the shed during the tour.
Throughout the tour I appreciated our driver checking if BJ was okay with the pace and making sure he was comfortable.
We had a blast on this tour and AJ enjoyed it so much, she asked to do quad biking again when we went to the North Island. The guys from Across Quad Bikes were great at building confidence by putting everyone through their paces on a practice track so AJ got a feel for the bike before heading out on the tour. BJ just loved being a part of it all, even if he had a different mode of transport.
You can read more about the guided tours on the Across Quad Bike website.
Our tour was self-funded.