If you love wild sweeping surf beaches, breathtaking natural parks that include tracts of fragrant native bush and the most incredible bird life, unbeaten vistas from ancient volcanic mountains, and white water rafting adventures, New Zealand has it all – without predators, snakes, or poisonous spiders!
When planning your trip, there is one place that needs to go at the top of your list, the Franz Josef Glacier, a magnificent icy expanse nestled into the western side of the South Island’s imposing Southern Alps. Considered the most impressive of New Zealand’s West Coast Glaciers – there are around 300, so that’s saying something – this spectacular ice giant is truly one of the most breathtaking sights on the planet.
So how can you access Franz Josef Glacier? What are the tips to discover more about this natural wonder? We have all the information you need to make sure you get to see and explore this mesmerising landscape, so read on and get ready to book the trip of a lifetime!
Is Franz Josef Glacier Worth Visiting?
You might wonder if Franz Josef Glacier is worth visiting if you have limited time. The short answer? Yes! The glacier presents an awe-inspiring spectacle; it is mind-blowing in its immensity, and viewing the dramatic ice formations will be one of the most memorable things you ever do. Sharing this experience with your partner, friends, or children ten and over will create a lifetime bond you will enjoy reminiscing about for years to come.
Getting to Franz Josef Glacier
If you drive, you follow SH 73 from Christchurch through picturesque countryside to head toward the glacier; you can even wander to the glacier base yourself, and while this is fun, it’s not the way to get the full experience. To properly explore the glacier after coming all this way, you must book a guided Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike.
Which Glacier Heli Hike Is Best?
While nearby Fox Glacier offers a stunning, serene, and tranquil experience, Franz Josef is the glacier experience that will blow your mind! At the end of the day, making the most of your glacier journey comes down to choosing the best Franz Josef Heli Hike.
True South Glacier Heli Hike
True South Flights is a local tour company that has been around for over a decade; they have an impeccable safety record and extensive knowledge of the area. Choosing to book your Franz Josef Heli Hike with this company ensures you and your companions have the safest day with the best guides.
True South flies out, weather permitting, every morning with a one-hour flight that sets you up for the day with spectacular views. You will fly over the Southern Alps towards the western face of Aoraki/Mt Cook, where you will meet your guides and check in for your helicopter ride.
Scenic Flights to Franz Josef Glacier
After a scenic helicopter tour taking in the incredible icefalls, crevasses, and waterfalls, you and your companions will descend into the glacier, landing on the upper section of the Franz Josef Icefall! You will be supplied with all the necessary gear and spend the most exciting two and a half hours hiking, exploring ice caves, drinking in the ever-changing landscape, and marvelling at its beauty up close.
After your exhilarating helicopter ride, experienced guides will provide insights into the spectacular glacier features, its formation, its importance in the ecosystem, and its constant changes. Informative, educational, and mind-opening, the vastness of the glacier as viewed from your Franz Josef Heli Hike will stay with you long after you have left for the day – it really is an experience not to be missed.
Ready for an Unforgettable Experience?
While Aotearoa/New Zealand offers up so many great places to see and explore, visiting the ice formations at Franz Josef via a Glacier Heli Hike, observing the vibrant blue hues, and drinking in the surrounding landscapes will leave a lasting impression that can’t be matched.
Remember to pack a waterproof jacket when you head to the South Island so that you are ready to visit jaw-dropping scenery, spectacular ice caves, and the ancient ice formations of Franz Josef Glacier.
If you are ready to have your mind blown, get in touch now to book a Glacier Heli Tour with True South.