Insider's Guide to Franz Josef & Fox Glacier

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5 star rating: Highly Recommended 99 Reviews

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  • Location: Franz Josef, New Zealand
  • Duration:  3 hours (approx.)
Combine a scenic helicopter flight over Franz Josef Glacier with a 2-hour guided walk on glacial terrain during this exhilarating tour from Franz Josef. Find out why New Zealand's South Island is famous for its gorgeous landscapes as you follow an experienced guide past ice caves, crevasses and pinnacles. Learn about glacier formation and movement, and enjoy supreme panoramic views. Choose from seasonal departure times to suit your schedule.

Highlights

  • Franz Josef Glacier helicopter tour and guided hike
  • Take a helicopter flight over the glacier and land between two icefalls
  • Follow a professional guide on a 2-hour hike on the glacial terrain
  • Be wowed by ice formations like caves, multistory pinnacles and deep crevasses
  • Equipment provided, including glacier boots and ice crampons

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Heli Hiking Franz Josef

Heli Hiking Franz Josef

After meeting your guide and being fitted for all of your provided equipment, your Franz Josef Glacier adventure starts with a thrilling helicopter ride from the helicopter base in town up to the ice. With its ability to hover over stunning landscapes and provide access to remote areas, a helicopter flight is the ultimate way to see the 7.5-mile-long (12 km) glacier at the top of New Zealand's Southern Alps.

Soar right by towering peaks, over deep crevasses and past sparkling waterways. Admire the pristine blue color of the ice, and land high up on the glacier between two icefalls, where your 2-hour guided hike begins. Follow your experienced guide into the spectacular icefall terrain, usually seen only by skilled mountaineers.

Climb in and around ice caves, see dramatic pinnacles and seracs, and learn about the history and current conditions of the Franz Josef Glacier. Enjoy amazing photo ops of this unique landscape, and then re-board the helicopter for the ride back to town.

Safety and helicopters:
The local tour operator has an excellent safety record, practices rigid assessments and uses exclusive high-quality equipment. Your safety and enjoyment come first.

The helicopter fleet consists predominately of AS355 twin-engine Squirrels, which seat six passengers plus the pilot. They are ideal for scenic flights, with an open-plan cabin that provides excellent views for all passengers. The local tour operator has the highest-level certification from the Civil Aviation Authority for scenic helicopter tours; this involves regular monitoring and audits of all aspects of the operations.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2014

The heli-hike was a wonderful experience, the highlight of our trip. It was professionally organised and our guide was very knowledgable. We had a beautiful day on fresh snow. A real treat.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2014

This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to New Zealand. The helicopter ride was awesome! Your first ride is about 10-15 minutes with some great photo opportunities and the ride back is a bit shorter. In our helicopter, there was room for six guests in addition to the pilot -- two seats up front next to the pilot and four seats in the back of the helicopter. We had two guides on our tour (one was a student on workstudy) and both were wonderful. They were very knowledgeable about the glacier and the history of Franz Joseph. We were able to go hike near the waterfall and climb through some ice tunnels which made for amazing photos.

The tour company provides wool socks, boots, and a waterproof jacket and pants. The jacket can go over your own coat but most in our party just opted to leave on two light layers (a t-shirt) and fleece under the provided jacket. You get quite hot while hiking so I'd recommend leaving your winter jacket in the shed. You are responsible for your own gloves and should probably bring along waterproof ones. I'd also recommend sunglasses and sunscreen -- I wish I brought along sunglasses as it took awhile for my eyes to adjust to the sun reflecting off the ice.

From USD $ 342.71

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Tour code: 3434WHO_HELIHIKE

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