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Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier

Glacier Access Road,Westland Tai Poutini National Park, Franz Josef

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.

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Franz Josef Heli Hiking Guided Tour
Franz Josef Heli Hiking Guided Tour
star-4.5
$354.34 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Stunning experience
Amazing experience! The team were so friendly, knowledgeable, and all round awesome. Definitely recommended!
naidoos, Jul 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Franz Josef & Fox Glacier

star-5
Experience of a lifetime
Cameron, May 2021
Franz Josef Heli Hiking Guided Tour
From the moment we stepped through the door we felt welcomed , were well informed, all aspects of safety were well explained .The gear that was provided was very clean and comfortable Our guide Scott was just awesome. Very friendly and knowledgeable . Gave us plenty of time to take photos and spend time taking in the amazing views made our experience one to remember and will highly recommend
star-5
Most amazing experience
Fiona_S, Jun 2021
Franz Josef Heli Hiking Guided Tour
Using harnesses and ropes we were able to climb right up the glacier - an experience I don't believe would be possible anywhere else in the world
star-5
Bucket list tick
Ken_R, Sep 2020
Franz Josef Mountain Scenic Helicopter Flight
Expected it to be cancelled due to inclement weather however we were in for a treat, while I didn't get the full flight I booked it was non-the-less a fantastic experience and one I will do again. The team were friendly and outgoing. The pilot was pins on paper professional.
star-5
Glacier experience
Gail_W, Mar 2020
Fox and Franz Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight from Franz Josef
What a fantastic experience! The pilot was friendly and knowledgeable. Landing on the glacier was amazing awesome and breathtaking. Loved it!
star-5
Excellent. Not to be missed.
Denis_B, Feb 2020
Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight from Franz Josef
Absolutely amazing. Very nice and helpful staff, lovely helicopter and we were blessed with fantastic weather.
star-5
Great experience worth every cent
Brenda_S, Oct 2021
Franz Josef Heli Hiking Guided Tour
I was a bit unsure of this trip at first as it did appear somewhat dangerous and I was concerned I might not be fit and nimble enough to do it and also with a moderate fear of heights. I'm quite clumsy on dry flat land let alone on a glacier so i had some concerns! Jon, Cale and the rest of the team were excellent, very professional and thorough with safety checks. The gear (boots, socks, crampons, poles, helmet, trousers and jackets with a moon bag to store stuff) were excellent and fit for purpose. They really gave me confidence out on the ice especially where I didn't know if I could continue. There was safety rope in most of the right places and a couple of scary parts that were a bit narrow without safety rope that they helped me through. The scenery was absolutely spectacular. There are really no words to describe what we saw up there. It was truly magnificent and definitely a bucket list trip that i'm so glad i did. Special mention to Jon and Cale who were very encouraging and patient with me! I can't thank you enough for making it such a memorable experience. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone.
star-5
Thrilling
Gary_P, Feb 2020
Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight from Franz Josef
Fantastic experience! Our pilot, Scott, was friendly and informative but more importantly SAFE. This is a 5star experience!
star-5
Trip of a lifetime
pughstephen9, Feb 2020
Franz Josef Mountain Scenic Helicopter Flight
This trip was absolutely awesome - I can not praise it enough. The organisation of the trip was superb - the staff are very friendly, helpful and welcoming. The actual flight was very punctual and we were helped into the helicopter very safely and efficiently - flying up to the glacier was stunning and then we landed, got out and went for a walk - amazing - something I will remember for the rest of my life!
star-5
Unforgettable Experience
SGontour, Jan 2020
Fox and Franz Josef Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight from Fox Glacier
An amazing experience for both us and the kids. Unfortunately the weather meant we could only complete the shorter Fox Glacier flight but the views were stunning and the ability to jump out at the top and have the kids touch snow for the first time was absolutely priceless. Highly recommended.
star-5
Amazing experience
Kristy M, Oct 2019
Franz Josef Glacier Helicopter Flight with Snow Landing
Absolutely incredible to be able to stand on top of the Glacier. The views fromthe helicopter are breathtaking. Short and sweet experience but absolutely awesome.
star-5
This is a truly magical experience...
Alan R, Feb 2017
Franz Josef Mountain Scenic Helicopter Flight
This is a truly magical experience and is well worth the ticket price. Soaring way above the galaciers and seeing how extensive and beautiful the ranges are should not be missed. The short stop on the Franz Josef glacier gives you an experience of a lifetime. Go for it!
star-5
Absolutely Outstanding !
David M, Aug 2019
Franz Josef Glacier Helicopter Flight with Snow Landing
A spectacular flight over the glacier, organised by a very professional crew from Glacier helicopters.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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, who can enjoy scenic flights over glacier country, take heli-hikes in the mountains, explore underground ice caves, or hike the summit of Mt. Cook.

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Franz Josef Glacier