Booking accessible accommodation in peak season for our New Zealand holiday was a challenge. So I was particularly happy to find an accessible chalet just out of the town of Franz Josef. Our stay was three nights and we found this chalet to be comfortable and in a good location. Circulation space in the bedrooms wasn’t as great as I’d like, but we found it worked for us and we loved having plenty of living room space and cooking facilities.
Franz Josef is a relatively quiet town and the location of Jag Escape Franz Alpine is even quieter as it is on the edge of town. We thoroughly enjoyed the rural setting. Our chalet was surrounded by the mountains, country fields, and when the weather cleared, we could spot the glacier from the lounge room.
Ramp, step-free access and parking to the side of the chalet gave us easy wheelchair access and made ducking inside during the rain much quicker. A wide sliding door (158cm wide) made for easy access into the chalet.
We like the option of self-catering so we appreciated the well-equipped kitchen. A full size fridge, microwave, oven and cook top helped our stay in Franz Josef remain budget-friendly. The only item missing was a dishwasher which left me replacing the machine.
Plenty of light streamed through the chalet and the spacious kitchen, living and dining areas proved handy for the wet afternoons indoors.
The two bedroom chalet consists of one room with a queen bed and another with a split king bed. Circulation space within the bedroom is limited and in both rooms it’s only possible to transfer from a wheelchair to the bed on one side. If the set up isn’t quite right for your needs you may be able to get staff to move the bed for you. They seemed quite accommodating.
The split king bed is 55 cm from the floor to the top of the bed and has an under bed clearance of 14cm. Bed to wall clearance on one side is 79cm and 61cm on the other. The distance from the foot of the bed to the wall is 97cm.
I’m being quite specific as I know this chalet won’t suit everyone who needs wheelchair access.
Circulation space is also limited in the bathroom but it is step-free. New owners had just taken over the property and there was no information regarding a shower chair. They offered us an outdoor chair but said they’d look into fixing what looks like a shower seat fixture in the bathroom.
A height adjustable shower head and lever taps are fitted in the bathroom. The toilet height is 40cm to the pan and 41cm to the seat. The bathroom door width is 79cm.
A pay operated laundry is available in a separate building on the property but it does have stair access.
A 10 litre carton of water is provided in each room for guest use as the local water is not drinkable.
The chalet has a good range of pay channels on television and a DVD player.
Jag Escape ticked most of our access boxes and we had a comfortable stay and felt it was well priced for the facilities and location.
The new owners are currently updating the website and it is off-line.
FRANZ ALPINE RETREAT
2 Donovan Drive, Franz Josef
Tel: 03 752 0204
The Helicopter Line’s flight to Franz Josef Glacier is what drew us back to Franz Josef. It was the highlight of our time in New Zealand and we highly recommend it.
You can read all about our experience in our blog.
When we had wet weather we took the opportunity to go quad biking and buggy riding through the rainforest, riverbed and mud of Franz Josef.
You can read all about the muddy fun in our blog.