A Heavenly Tour of the Southern Alps

Take to the skies on an unforgettable helicopter ride into a glacial world of unparalleled scenic beauty amidst the peaks of the Southern Alps.

Words simply cannot do justice to the thrill of taking flight on an incredible helicopter tour and the lifelong memories, bountiful anecdotes, and incredible photos you'll take away with you. 

Visiting Franz Josef and Fox glaciers is one of the few occasions when a helicopter tour is essential. So don't consider this a frivolous expense—it is a necessity. And if, like most people, you have never been in a helicopter before, then this is probably your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity—so take it.

What's so special about a glacier?

Glaciers are formed when snow compacts over long periods of time and becomes so dense its mass causes it to move. There are two contributing factors to this movement: gravity and internal deformation (plastic flow).

While glaciers are not uncommon, New Zealand's Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers are unique because they descend into rainforest at almost sea level.

This anomaly makes them easy to visit and explore. However, at 9km and 13km long, exploring them on foot is a very extensive and difficult day in full mountain gear. And you'll need an expert guide to help you navigate the many dangerous ice caves and crevasses that occur inside glaciers.

Hence, the helicopter tour is the way to go!

Local Legends

The two glaciers, Franz Josef and Fox, were named long before European geologists renamed them after an Austrian Emperor and an early New Zealand prime minister respectively. 

In local Ngāi Tahu legend, Hine Hukatere (the Avalanche Maiden) was walking with her lover, Tauwe, in the mountains. Struggling to keep pace with his majestic lover, Tauwe slipped and fell to his death. 

Heartbroken and tormented, Hine Hukatere cried many tears that flowed down the mountain. Taking pity, the Sky Father, Rangi, froze Hine Hukatere tears to leave a permanent memorial.

Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere (the tears of the Avalanche Maiden) is also known as Franz Josef Glacier, while Te Moeka o Tuawe (the bed of Tauwe) is also known as Fox Glacier.

Helicopter Tours Franz Josef

29 Main Road, Franz Josef / Waiau 7856, New Zealand

Getting to Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers

You can include a Franz Josef & Fox glacier helicopter tour in any of these amazing train tours and packages: