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Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike

Franz Josef, New Zealand

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon3 hours 15 minutes  (Approx.)
Paper ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds


On this Franz Josef Glacier helicopter tour and hike, land atop the glacier and explore ice caves and pinnacles with a small group. Soar above New Zealand’s Southern Alps during a scenic flight, then grab your crampons and make your way through dramatic ice formations during a moderately difficult hike. After your return flight, rejuvenate with a complimentary blissful soak at Glacier Hot Pools. Numbers are limited to 11 to ensure personalized attention from your expert guide.
  • Franz Josef Glacier helicopter tour and walk
  • Take in beautiful glacier views from the air by helicopter
  • Explore the ice with your guide and gain insight into the geological forces at play
  • Marvel at the stunning landscape on your moderately difficult hike
  • Relax after your glacier walk with a soak in the hot pools
  • Tour includes all hiking equipment

Why Travelers Choose This Tour

Travel longer and further than most glacier hikes with hours on the ice.
Saved to wishlist!
Round-trip helicopter flights to Franz Josef Glacier
2-hours 15 minutes (approx.) guided glacier walk
Glacier Hot Pools
All hiking equipment (Gore-tex jackets, over trousers, woolen hats and gloves, leather boots, crampons)
Hotel pickup and drop-off

Departure Point

Franz Josef, Franz Josef, Westland National Park (Te Wahipounamu), West Coast Region, South Island

Departure Time

1:30 PM

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
Meet your guide at the centrally located tour base in Franz Josef at one of several morning departure times available. You’re given a safety orientation and provided with protective gear including Gore-tex jacket, trousers, woolen hat, gloves and leather boots with crampons in preparation for your Franz Joseph Glacier tour.

Then hop into the helicopter for stunning aerial views over New Zealand's scenic Southern Alps and surrounding area—a magnificent sight to behold. After a brief flight, experience a gentle yet thrilling landing atop the mighty Franz Josef Glacier.

Ice axe in hand, set off on foot with your guide past ice formations that protrude alongside ice caves, pinnacles, and seracs. Explore the dramatic landscape as you hike past mazes of ice and deep blue crevasses along the glacier. With insight from your guide, understand the various geological forces at play in this otherworldly environment.

At the conclusion of your glacier hike, return to Franz Josef by helicopter and unwind with a rejuvenating soak at the Glacier Hot Pools, situated in a rain forest haven at the edge of town. Relax your muscles in the soothing hot pools, which are fed by pure glacier water—an ideal way to complete your half-day adventure.
Stop At:  
Franz Josef Glacier Guides
This is where you need to check in for the Glacier Tour. This is also where you check in for the Glacier Hot Pools
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Glacier Hot Pools
You can spend as much time as you like in the Glacier Hot Pools after your Heli-Hike experince
Duration: 2 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Pass By:  
Franz Josef Glacier
You won't see the Glacier Access Road as you will be in a Helicopter
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Minimum age is 8 years old
  • Minimum weight is 35kg
  • It is advised that families travelling with younger children to book an afternoon tour when the track is more suitable
  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Glacier walks are moderately difficult, clients need to be fit and able. Refunds will not be available for clients who cannot participate on the day due to inappropriate fitness levels, i.e. it is important you are selecting the right trip for your physical fitness ability. Guides reserve the right to curtail or cancel trips for clients whose fitness is not appropriate
  • Operates in most weather conditions, please dress appropriately. Two to four warm upper- body layers of clothing are recommended, quick-drying trousers or shorts (no jeans), a hat and gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen and a camera
  • Please bring a bathing suit for the Glacier Hot Pools
  • The Operator reserves the absolute right to cancel or vary any service for any reason including as a result of weather conditions, insufficient reservations or any unforeseen event or circumstance. These trips are weather dependent.
  • For Health and Safety reasons, we are unable to guide pregnant women. Please note: We have a weight limit of 115kg per person on the Heli Hike.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 11 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Franz Josef Glacier Guides

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the maximum group size during Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike?
This activity will have a maximum of 11 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike.

Traveler Photos

Traveler Tips

  • "Bad weather will usually only show up later in the day causing the later hikes to be canceled while the morning tours are still completed." See review
  • "Don't be afraid of walking on ice and through crevasses." See review
  • "The view at the glacier is much better in winter (you can see the snowy mountains only in winter)." See review


452 Reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 452 reviews
An experience of a lifetime!
, Mar 2020
A brief helicopter ride which as a nervous flyer I was dreading but it was so different to flying in a fixed wing. Much smoother, not frightening in the least, and with amazing views of the glacier. Our guide Chris was wonderful. He gave us crystal clear explanations of how to put on crampons and move around on the ice. He was knowledgable about the glacier, encouraged questions and was very watchful over everyone’s safety. Walking on the glacier itself was an amazing experience with plenty of ice staircases (smoothed out by Chis and his ice axe) and a few narrow but not claustrophobic corridors to walk through where you can get up close to the beautiful blue ice. Coronavirus is hitting tourism businesses hard at the moment but if you can make it to NZ once all this madness is over, Franz Josef Glacier Guides should be on your “must do” list.
Franz Josef Glacier Guides
, Mar 2020
We had a 1:30 afternoon trip which we thought might get cancelled as the clouds started to drift in but we went up and it was sunny with blue skies in the distance so it turned out fine. Great experience on the glacier walking in between ice walls, in and out of holes that had melted and just general great experience. Our guide was Morgan and she was high energy, full of wonderful facts about the glacier and New Zealand. She knew her stuff and made us feel safe. Would recommend for anyone. Not difficult. If you are a winter hiker this is easy stuff as they kitted us out with all gear and there was no experience required. Would have loved a step up in offering for those who are experienced hikers where we could have done a bit more but all-in-all worth the money.
Great glacier heli-hike
, Mar 2020
The glacier hike on the ice and through crevasses had just the right combo of challenge, new experience and scenic beauty. Our leader Melvin did a great job keeping it fun and interesting while explaining how to trek through the glacier safely.
Adventure on the glacier
, Mar 2020
Well organized and provided all you need for the hike: boots, clamps, waterproof pants, sock, gloves, hat and waterproof jacket along with a hiking pole when you got to the glacier. Safety is the number one concern, so when the fog and rain rolled in fast our hike sped up a bit and we were off the glacier quickly and safely. This adventure was followed up with relaxing hot spring pools provided with this hike. A great time!
Memorable heli-hike.
, Mar 2020
Wonderful hike, rushed due to weather. Disappointed there wasn’t more time for px. Our guide was helpful and pleasant. Hot pools afterwards was a wonderful ending to the day.
Must to do!
, Feb 2020
The trip and also the guide were excellent. We had very good weather fortunately. The length of the trip was pretty good actually it was longer than that we expected. All in all we were very satisfied.
Rain, rain and more rain
dympna M
, Dec 2019
Trip was cancelled due to weather. The torrential rain coupled with thunder and lightning meant all activities cancelled. Franj Joseph Staff were great and we were offered lots of alternatives. Waiting to do trip in Queenstown.
Lovely guides and great experience
, Oct 2019
Worth Spending the money. Only downfall was the hike hasnt been tracked in 5 days so the guide had to pick axe a clearer pathway for hiking groups which meant we were stopping every few steps to wait for him. It was frustrating. Suggest another guide performs this instead of the guide for the group as it ruins the experience. Apart from that the trip with the helicopter was great and the ice cave worth the trip all by itself. Its not a hard hike and can be done by most able people. Thanks crew.
Once in a Lifetime Experience!
, Sep 2019
Tip - Book the earliest morning tour! Bad weather will usually only show up later in the day causing the later hikes to be canceled while the morning tours are still completed. This was an amazing experience. Our guide, Geidre, was friendly, knowledgeable, and patient. You travel through ice caverns and all over the glacier's formations, so you can really appreciate the power of the nature around you. I felt safe at all times and constantly in awe! Definitely worth it!
Winter is a better time for heli-hike
, Jun 2019
it had been raining last week and i heard that previous sessions were cancelled due to bad weather. Lucky me, it was a sunny morning (though i have planned to stay for 2 nights, just in case) The center provided us waterproof jacket and trousers, socks, shoes, crampons, beanie, gloves and a cross body bag - so you dont have to worry about the gears. it started with a short helicopter ride to the glacier starting point. We had a few short-legged participants and I noticed our awesome guide Kallie has taken good care of care of them. Safety is the first priority and it has been repeatedly reinforced throughout the journey that no photo taking is allowed whenever there is a handrail around. There are plenty of good and safe spots. The hike took around 3 hours. Appreciated our guide Kallie moderated the pace all along. The view at the glacier is much better in winter (you can see the snowy mountains only in winter). The hot pool was rejuvenating, especially after the hike. It is just next door- you can enter once anytime during your stay at Franz Josef.

Product code: 2524HDICE

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