GLACIER HELI HIKE

This world-renowned Glacier Heli Hike is not to be missed.

Please note: This tour is operated by The Helicopter Line, with guided services provided by Franz Josef Glacier Guides. 

With the combination of an exhilarating helicopter ride, jaw-dropping scenery and a two and half hour hike through the most spectacular glacier features, it's no wonder our guests often label their Glacier Heli Hike as the highlight of their visit to Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Your journey starts and ends at The Helicopter Line Base, situated on the Main Road (State Highway 6), Franz Josef Glacier, 7856. On arrival, our friendly team will check you in and prepare you for the excitement ahead with neccessary gear and pre-trip briefings.

From here, your guide will take you to the heli pad and get you ready to board the helicopter. Adrenaline levels start to spike as you board and are whisked away over the jaw dropping landscape - an opportunity to take in the full panoramic majesty of Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere nestled within the surrounding mountains.

Your pilot will land high up on the main ice fall of the glacier, where your guide will help you make the final preparations for your hike. Then you will be ready to explore the pristine features of this incredible icescape.

Our guides are highly skilled, which means we can find you both the safest and most spectacular route available on the glacier. Because the glacier is so fast moving, its features are constantly changing - you might find yourself sliding through a narrow crevasse or between towering walls of ice, crawling through blue ice tunnels, hanging out in ice caves, or witnessing the glacier calving. You can be sure that you're seeing the glacier in a unique state and no two trips are ever quite the same.

Whilst on this adventure, your guide will share with you the story of the Maori Legend, Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere. Their knowledge of the glacier, surrounding area and insight on why Franz Josef is so unique; will leave you with a sense of awe. You will come away from your trip not only having experienced this majestic beauty, but a whole new understanding of their special and precious landmark.

Heli Hike

Tour Details

Adult

$485

Child (ages 8 – 16)

$455

Tour duration

Up to 4 hours

Tour times

8:30am (check in 7:30am) & 11.00am (check in 10.00am)

Ice time

Up to 2.5 hours

Guide to guest ratio

1 to 11

Difficulty

Moderate

Minimum age

8 years

A short scenic helicopter transfer flying over the glacier valley and landing on the ice.

A guided tour on the glacier exploring key features with your friendly and knowledgeable guide.

Up to 2.5 hours spent on the ice hiking the glacier and exploring features.

Please enquire via the online form

"Exploring and engaging with people from all over the globe with a mutual passion for the outdoors and watching their dreams unravel is an unbeatable feeling. Knowing each time they are left feeling inspired whilst challenging themselves to overcome their fears is what I love about guiding."

Michael

Glacier Guide

CAN I DO IT?

A reasonable level of fitness and agility is required.

The glacier terrain is variable, with conditions that change each day. We provide you with all the gear you need to walk on the ice including boots, crampons, helmets, harnesses and trekking poles. Your guide carries an ice pick so they can cut a path as your trip progresses allowing you to move through more challenging terrain with ease.

While the route may change from one day to the next, you can expect to be on the ice for two and a half hours, walking for much of that time but with frequent stops to explore the features, hear some stories and information about the glacier and of course make the most of photo opportunities.

There will usually be some uphill components of the hike route but your guide will ensure to sustain a comfortable pace for the groups ability. There are also various glacier features to navigate including crevasses and narrow paths. A reasonable level of fitness and agility is therefore required to negotiate this type of terrain, but if you're comfortable with walking for over two hours then you will most likely be capable of completing our glacier heli hike trip.

PREPARING FOR YOUR TRIP

Get the most out of your Glacier Heli Hike.

We want all of our guests to have the best possible time on our Heli Hike experience. We provide all the gear and equipment you need to stay warm, dry and safe while exploring the ice and ask that you come prepared with suitable clothing and accessories that will keep you comfortable as well.

We provide:
  • Crampons
  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof over trousers
  • Weatherproof walking boots and socks
  • Trekking poles
  • A small waist pack to carry your crampons and essentials
  • A warm hat and gloves
Please bring with you:
  • Warm, breathable base layers such as merino or polypropylene
  • Suitable long pants for walking in (jeans are not suitable, tracksuits and leggings are fine)
  • Sunglasses (these are essential - if you don't have any with you we have a selection available for purchase at our front desk)
  • Sunblock
  • Your own warm hat and gloves if you prefer
  • Your camera or phone
  • A small water bottle and snack if you need one
Please leave the following items behind:
  • Your valuables such as passport, wallet and car keys
  • Portable chargers and spare camera batteries 

Great experience and very unique! Great guide and very well taken care of.

Heli Hike Guest
United States of America

Knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff on a world class site, what's not to love?

Heli Hike Guest
Australia

The scenery is breathtaking and the experience completely worth the money. The guide ensures your safety and makes you feel looked after.

Heli Hike Guest
United Kingdom

SAFETY RESTRICTIONS

Participation

Heli Hike Tours are operated by The Helicopter Line with guiding services provided by Franz Josef Glacier Guides. 

The Helicopter Line adheres to the highest safety standards to ensure ongoing safety for both guests and our team. 

They will be delighted to welcome you as a guest provided you:

  • Weigh less than 115kg (253.5lb)
  • Are not pregnant
  • Are over the age of 8 years old, the weight of 35kg and the height of 137cm tall
  • Are not under the influence of intoxicating drugs or alcohol
  • Have not been assessed by a lead guide as lacking the required fitness to complete the trip
Pre-existing medical conditions

Existing or previous medical conditions including (but not limited to) those listed below may have an impact on your ability to participate in our Glacier Heli Hike. It's important that you advise us of the following when making your booking:

  • Ankle or knee injuries
  • ACL damage
  • Joint replacements or dislocations
  • Neck or back injuries
  • Heart conditions and high / low blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Severe asthma

If you have any doubt about your ability to participate in the trip we recommend you consult your medical practitioner prior to booking.

In addition to this, our lead guides may need to restrict guest participation on a Heli Hike Trip based on the specific conditions of the glacier on the day.

Trip cancellations

The changeable weather that shapes our dramatic landscape on the West Coast can also impact our ability to operate. We will not compromise the safety of our guests or staff in any circumstance, so if the weather conditions mean it's not safe to operate a trip we will cancel it. All trips cancelled due to weather will be refunded.

We need a four-hour window of clear weather to operate our Heli Hike, and because the weather is so changeable we are constantly monitoring weather reports and conditions on the glacier to make the safest and most accurate decision.

Since we usually make the final weather call just before the trip departure, the best way to stay informed is to check with us or The Helicopter Line on the morning of your scheduled trip. 

If you can manage it, we recommend spending at least two days in the Franz Josef region to allow the best chance of getting onto a Heli Hike trip.