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Franz Josef Glacier Tours

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Franz Josef Glacier
One of New Zealand’s most photographed natural wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Franz Josef Glacier serves up a dazzling landscape of snow-smothered peaks, rocky gorges, and icy waterfalls, feeding into the Waiho River.

The Basics
The glacier is easily accessible on a day tour from Franz Josef village and popular activities include a glacier valley walk, a kayaking excursion around Lake Mapourika, or an ATV ride along the West Coast, often combined with a visit to the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary or the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools. For the most incredible views, soar over the Southern Alps on a helicopter flight or touchdown to enjoy heli-hiking along the glacier. 

Things to Know Before You Go
  • It can get chilly on the mountaintops even in summer, so bring a jacket, as well as sunscreen, suitable hiking boots, and plenty of water.
  • The glacial landscapes are constantly changing and icefalls and flash floods are common, so it’s best to visit with a guide.
  • Some tours and scenic flights over the Franz Josef glacier are wheelchair accessible—check with your tour operator in advance.

How to Get There
The Franz Josef Glacier is located in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park in the Southland Region of New Zealand’s South Island. The main access point is the Franz Josef Glacier Village, around two hours south of Greymouth, and 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the terminal face of the glacier. 

When to Get There
The glacier is accessible all year round, but the high season runs from November to March, when the milder temperatures are ideal for hiking and helicopter tours. Although much colder (average temperatures are 41–57°F/5–15°C), the weather in winter is less changeable, making for some even more impressive scenery, plus you’ll typically find far fewer crowds. 

The Natural Wonders of Te Wahipounamu
The Franz Josef glacier is part of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Te Wahipounamu, which encompasses the neighboring Fox Glacier, and the national parks of Aoraki/Mt. Cook, Fiordland, Mount Aspiring, and Westland Tai Poutini. The West Coast glaciers are just a small part of the dramatic landscapes that await—adventurers can enjoy scenic flights over glacier country, take heli hikes in the mountains, explore underground ice caves, or hike the summit of Mt. Cook. 
Address: Franz Josef, New Zealand
Admission: Free
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Helicopter Tours

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Franz Josef Scenic Flight with Vantage Helicopters

This is a once in a lifetime scenic flight over the famous Franz Josef Glacier. View from above and see the amazing natural features of crevasses and seracs that help form the glacier. Great opportunity to get close to nature and learn more about the glacier. Includes nearby landing offering great views of the area.
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  • 25 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
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$193.61
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  • 25 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Helicopter Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

Twin Glaciers Scenic Flight with Vantage Helicopters

Scenic flight over both Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Be mesmerized by crevasses and rugged seracs. Only place in New Zealand to see glaciers in close proximity to rain forest. Includes 10 minute landing for that once in a lifetime photo opportunity.
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  • 35 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
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$262.76
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  • 35 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Eco Tours

LIKELY TO SELL OUT

Heli-Hike Franz Josef Glacier Walk

On this Franz Josef Glacier helicopter tour and hike, you’ll 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 3-hour 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.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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$331.22
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Multi-day Tours

SPECIAL OFFER

5-Day South Island Tour from Christchurch

See the top sights of the spectacular South Island on a 5-day guided coach tour, round-trip from Christchurch. Stop at Mt Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain; enjoy free time to explore the adventure capital of Queenstown; take a boat cruise on Milford Sound, surrounded by steep rock walls; view Fox and Franz Josef glaciers; and travel by rail through the Southern Alps aboard the scenic TranzAlpine Express. Includes hotel pickup and drop-off, and four nights’ accommodation in Queenstown and Franz Josef.
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  • 5 days
From  
$1,085.96
$1,206.63
$120.67 savings
From  
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$1,206.63
$120.67 savings
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  • 5 days

Helicopter Tours

Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight from Franz Josef

Appreciate the majesty and scale of Franz Josef and Fox glaciers from the air during a 30-minute helicopter flight and snow landing. Enjoy aerial views over both glaciers from your prime position in the sky, and hear live commentary from the professional pilot before landing atop either Fox or Franz Josef. Then hop out and focus your camera lens on a glacial scene of frozen icefalls, glowing blue ice fields and plunging crevasses — considered to be among New Zealand’s most stunning landscapes.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
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$242.02
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Ski & Snow

Heli Hiking Franz Josef

Experience a Franz Josef Glacier heli-hike as you explore ice caves and other glacial terrain with a professional guide.  Then don provided boots, jacket and ice axe for a guided hike past deep crevasses and towering ice-blue pinnacles before the return chopper ride down. Choose from seasonal departure times to suit your schedule.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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$324.30
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Multi-day Tours

2 Day West Coast Glaciers and Tranz Alpine train - Queenstown to Christchurch

This two-day trip from Queenstown to Christchurch packs a lot of experiences into a short time. Experience the scenic beauty of a New Zealand road trip without having to drive yourself, as you travel by comfortable coach and train. Enjoy a mix of free time and guided walks or other tours. You can choose activities to suit your own needs and interests. This trip is an easy and adventure-filled way of traveling between the two cities.
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  • 2 days
  • Free Cancellation
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$439.09
From  
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  • 2 days
  • Free Cancellation

Multi-day Tours

6 Day South Island Tour from Christchurch (Milford Sound, Queenstown, Glaciers)

Gorgeous fiords, magnificent glaciers and other scenic landscapes of the South Island comprise this 6-day semi-independent tour by narrated coach and railway. Travel round-trip from Christchurch and climb aboard the Taieri Gorge Railway and TranzAlpine passenger trains — two of New Zealand's  top-rated scenic rail routes. Catch a complimentary shuttle to the Fox Glacier or Franz Josef Glacier lookout point, cruise on Milford Sound, and ride the Queenstown Skyline Gondola above Lake Wakatipu. Overnight stays allow for plenty of free time to explore at your own pace.
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  • 6 days
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$1,669.91
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  • 6 days

Multi-day Tours

4 day Queenstown, Milford Sound and Glacier Highlights from Christchurch

Fitting the South Island’s highlights into one trip can be a challenge: this family-friendly tour makes it simple. Go your own way with a mixture of guided tours and free time to explore. Experience the stunning natural beauty of Fiordland and see the waterfalls cascade down the mountains on a Milford Sound cruise. Witness the magnificence of Aoraki (Mt Cook), the dramatic natural glaciers, and sublime crystal-clear lakes. Visit bustling, action-packed Queenstown, journey through native forest at Haast Pass, and traverse through the mountains on the TranzAlpine Scenic Train Journey.
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  • 4 days
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$1,082.16
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  • 4 days
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

2-Hour Adventure Quad Bike Tour from Franz Josef

Explore the landscape around the Franz Josef glacier and New Zealand's rugged West Coast on a 2-hour ATV tour from Franz Josef village. Take in the mountains and rainforest of the Southern Alps as you go offroad and follow paths carved by ancient glaciers paths in the wilderness. Your guide leads you through the rainforest, riverbeds, grasslands, and mud on a thrilling tour that includes use of ATV equipment and wet weather gear.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$110.64
From  
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Helicopter Tours

Franz Josef Mountain Scenic Helicopter Flight

See the imposing Southern Alps on an aerial tour with a helicopter landing on the snowfields of Franz Josef Glacier. Your 40-minute helicopter flight soars above the stunning alpine landscapes of the South Island, narrated by the professional pilot. Enjoy prime views of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Tasman Glacier from above before descending toward the lush rainforests at the edge of the Tasman Sea.
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  • 40 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
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$331.91
From  
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  • 40 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Ski & Snow

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

Take a 3-hour guided hike to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier, scrambling along an exclusive pathway over the riverbed of the mighty Waiho. During the interpretive valley walk to the glacier, your guide covers the geographical features of this magnificent alpine landscape. Upon reaching the viewpoint, you’re treated to an up-close look at the advancing glacier. Numbers are limited to 13 people per group for a more personal experience.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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$54.63
From  
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Helicopter Tours

Franz Josef Neve Discoverer Helicopter Flight

This 20-minute scenic helicopter flight takes you soaring above Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier with a snow landing at the top — the perfect opportunity to get up close to a glacier in the South Island. You’ll be captivated as you lift off and fly up and over towering ice formations before a soft landing in a snowfield. Admire Mt Cook/Aoraki, New Zealand’s highest peak, from the glacial summit.
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  • 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
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$186.70
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  • 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Kayaking & Canoeing

Kayak Adventure from Franz Josef Glacier

Explore the serene waters of Lake Mapourika in New Zealand’s glacier country on this 3-hour kayak adventure from Franz Joseph Glacier. Paddle with your guide out onto Lake Mapourika, widely considered one of western New Zealand’s most scenic spots. Enjoy uninterrupted views as your guide explains the region’s fascinating geology, and marvel at the way the mighty Southern Alps are mirrored perfectly in the calm waters. Head into the estuaries of the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary, and discover some of the country’s oldest untouched rainforest as native birds sing overhead.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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$82.98
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Helicopter Tours

Franz Josef Glacier Helicopter Flight with Snow Landing

See the Franz Josef Glacier from the air on a 20-minute helicopter flight above ice falls, snow fields, and crevasses. Touch down on a snow field to see the icy landscape up close, and take in sweeping views across the 7.5-mile (12-km) maritime glacier. This 20-minute helicopter tour departs from a helipad in Franz Josef township.
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  • 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
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$186.70
From  
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  • 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Helicopter Tours

Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight departing Fox Glacier

This 30-minute helicopter flight with an expert alpine pilot takes you over the twin glaciers of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier, with a snow landing at the head of either one. At the landing site above the icefalls, step out to marvel at the phenomenal glacial beauty of the crevasse-filled landscape below. Your helicopter tour soars above the magnificent carved valleys of the Southern Alps, and includes round-trip hotel transport to the tour base.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
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$242.02
From  
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Helicopter Tours

Mount Cook Spectacular Helicopter Flight from Fox Glacier

Enjoy unrivalled views over the landscapes of New Zealand from the air with a 40-minute Mt. Cook helicopter flight from the Fox Glacier township. In addition to flying among the peaks of Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier, and the Southern Alps with a pilot, gaze out as far as the coast — where the Tasman Sea rolls in. Land on Mt. Cook to photograph the scenery, then return to base.
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  • 40 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$331.91
From  
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  • 40 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Eco Tours

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Eco Tour

One of the most protected natural sites in New Zealand, the Franz Joseph Glacier is a wilderness of deep crevasses and frozen ice. On this round-trip eco-tour from Franz Joseph, travel lightly through the native rainforest with all equipment provided and admire uninterrupted views over the Waiho River and the Franz Josef Glacier. Enjoy personal attention from your guide on this small-group tour—limited to six people.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$55.32
From  
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Helicopter Tours

Fox Glacier Neve Discoverer Helicopter Flight

Let the alpine wonder of Fox Glacier captivate your senses on a 20-minute scenic helicopter flight and snow landing. From your vantage point in the air, you’ll experience the solitude of the remote landscape, nestled in the Southern Alps of New Zealand’s South Island. Hover above the ice-blue fissures of Fox Glacier before landing in a snowfield with views of Aoraki/Mt Cook.
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  • 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$186.70
From  
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  • 20 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Multi-day Tours

SPECIAL OFFER

4-Day Great Southern Island Circle Tour from Christchurch

View Franz Josef Glacier and experience a Milford Sound cruise on this 4-day semi-independent tour of New Zealand's South Island. You’ll travel by coach from Christchurch to Queenstown via the Canterbury Plains, Aoraki/Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo, then motor up the west coast to Greymouth before riding the TranzAlpine train on the return to Christchurch. Listen to narration on board as the driver highlights this scenic region from picturesque mountain peaks to deep fiords. Overnight accommodation and round-trip hotel transport are included.
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  • 4 days
From  
$1,042.40
$1,158.22
$115.82 savings
From  
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$115.82 savings
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  • 4 days

Helicopter Tours

Fox and Franz Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight from Franz Josef

The Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are New Zealand’s largest and most magnificent glaciers, and many visitors find it hard to choose between them. This 30-minute helicopter tour takes in both with a thrilling flight over snowy peaks and frozen waterfalls, and an unforgettable snow landing overlooking the glacier.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$242.02
From  
$242.02
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Multi-day Tours

SPECIAL OFFER

3-Day South Island Circle Tour from Christchurch

See the highlights of New Zealand's scenic South Island on this 3-day semi-independent tour, round-trip from Christchurch. Traveling by coach and train, you’ll stop in UNESCO-listed Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park and Queenstown, travel up the west coast to Franz Josef Glacier, and visit the Gold Rush town of Greymouth, then board the homeward-bound TranzAlpine train across the Southern Alps and past the Canterbury Plains. Listen to informative onboard commentary and enjoy two nights’ accommodation as you explore the sights independently.
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  • 3 days
From  
$824.59
$916.21
$91.62 savings
From  
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  • 3 days

Helicopter Tours

Fox and Franz Josef Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight from Fox Glacier

See two remarkable glaciers from the air on a 30-minute helicopter tour of Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier. Lift off from a helipad at Fox Glacier, then fly across ice falls, formations, and crevasses on your way to Franz Josef Glacier, and touch down on a glacial snowfield for a photography session. Departures are available throughout the day for this 30-minute helicopter tour of two New Zealand glaciers.
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$242.02
From  
$242.02
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  • 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Multi-day Tours

5 Day South Island Tour from Christchurch Including Queenstown and Milford Sound

See the South Island by coach and railway on a semi-independent 5-day tour, traveling round-trip from Christchurch. Hear informative commentary on your sightseeing coach, gaze at the scenic Southern Alps while aboard the TranzAlpine train, and visit the World Heritage–listed Fiordland on a Milford Sound cruise with lunch. Overnight stays in Fox Glacier and Queenstown allow for plenty of free time to explore New Zealand’s magnificent glaciers and national parks.
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  • 5 days
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$1,289.60
From  
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  • 5 days
  • Free Cancellation


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