West Coast, South Island
Outdoor sports

Outdoor sports
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Our most recommended West Coast, South Island Outdoor sports

Franz Josef: Half-Day Glacier Helicopter and Hiking Tour

1. Franz Josef: Half-Day Glacier Helicopter and Hiking Tour

Get out into nature and experience the wilderness on this tour of the Franz Josef Glacier. Soar in the air in a helicopter, trek with glacier boots and crampons, and take in the fascinating colors of the ice flow. Meet at the Franz Josef Village base in the Westland National Park and hop into a helicopter. Fly up to the glacier and land on a section pre-checked for safety by your guide. Equipped with glacier boots and crampons, walk through ice formations and pinnacles for 2 hours. Touch the ice, breathe in the fresh air, and take note of the unique color of the glacier. Hike back to the helicopter and return to the base with a profound respect for nature.

Franz Josef Town: Glacier Helicopter Tour with Snow Landing

2. Franz Josef Town: Glacier Helicopter Tour with Snow Landing

Take in some of New Zealand’s most impressive mountains during a helicopter ride. Land among them for even more spectacular views and fantastic photo opportunities. Meet at the local partner’s office to check in and attend a safety briefing. Then, following a van transfer to the hangar, you will meet your pilot and board the helicopter for takeoff. Put your headset on to enjoy your pilot's guided commentary. Fly over the terminal moraine of the ancient Franz Josef Glacier and up the valley over the ice river. Take in the ice pinnacles and crevasses before flying onwards amongst the impressive Southern Alps. Land on an elevated snow landing site to enjoy stunning views of some of New Zealand’s highest mountains. Have 10-minutes to take incredible photos before returning to the hangar.

Franz Josef: Helicopter Trip over Two Glaciers

3. Franz Josef: Helicopter Trip over Two Glaciers

See two of New Zealand’s biggest glaciers — the Franz Josef and then either the Fox or Tasman Glacier with uninterrupted views from a helicopter. After you check in and have a safety briefing, you will be transferred to the activity provider's hangar, where you will meet your pilot and guide and board the helicopter. You will be provided with headsets in order to hear your guide’s commentary. Fly amongst the Southern Alps, admiring the ice pinnacles and crevasses whilst learning about the awesome spectacle from your pilot. You will make a stop and get to explore on foot for 10 minutes at an elevated site which is perfect for taking photos.

Fox Glacier: Up to 3 Hours Hike with Helicopter Transfer

4. Fox Glacier: Up to 3 Hours Hike with Helicopter Transfer

Enjoy a thrilling hiking and helicopter experience on Fox Glacier. Marvel at dramatic landscapes from above, including spectacular ice caves, icefalls and Victoria Falls, which is the melted river from the hidden Victoria glacier. Land on the ice in a remote part of the glacier. Get fitted with crampons that are specially designed for icy conditions. Follow the ice steps cut by your guide as you explore the amazing formations and ice caves. Each departure is a truly unique experience as there are so many changing features. Depending on the weather, spend up to 3 hours on the ice before boarding your helicopter to return to the take off point.

Franz Josef Town: Scenic Glacier Quad Bike Tour with Gear

5. Franz Josef Town: Scenic Glacier Quad Bike Tour with Gear

Join our thrilling off-road adventure tour. Ride a single quad through glacier riverbed and Jurassic rainforest tracks. On a sunny day experience incredible views of the Franz Josef Glacier or come and play in the muddy puddles and splash through rainforest creeks on a wet day. As we like to say "the wetter the better" - our tracks to come to life in the rain. Full wet weather gear is supplied. Free photos are included with each tour. Our single quad bikes are 450 cc automatic Can-am Outlander’s. This quad bike provides a comfortable journey over rough terrain featuring independent suspension and power steering!

Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers Helicopter Flight & Snow Landing

6. Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers Helicopter Flight & Snow Landing

Explore the ancient icefalls of the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers on a 30-minute helicopter flight. Experience the thrill of a snow landing with spectacular photo opportunities, and create unforgettable memories. Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers provides stunning ice architecture and are two of the few glaciers in the world which exist in such close proximity to both an ocean and a rainforest. Make your way to a central location in Franz Josef township, where you will check in for your flight. Strap yourself in to your seat and prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime ride, soaring above the pristine scenery for spectacular aerial views of the glaciers. Listen to engaging inflight commentary from your experienced pilot and admire the stunning frozen landscape below through the panoramic windows. Midway through the flight, your helicopter hovers above the ice and snow before making a thrilling snow landing at the summit of one of the glaciers. Step out onto the breathtaking, frozen landscape to soak in the views and capture some incredible photos. Then return to the helicopter for the flight back to base.

Franz Josef Glacier: 2.5-Hour Hike with Helicopter Transfer

7. Franz Josef Glacier: 2.5-Hour Hike with Helicopter Transfer

Soar to Franz Josef Glacier and see this 8-kilometer-long behemoth from above on a roundtrip helicopter tour from Franz Josef. Touch down on the glacier and follow your guide on a guided hike. Take in dazzling ice formations and stay warm with winter clothing and snacks along the way.  Start your journey at the glacier base in Franz Josef Town, where the team will check you in. Get kitted out with the essential gear and listen to a safety briefing. Once you are ready, follow your guide on a short walk through the native forest to the helipad to board the helicopter. After a thrilling scenic flight high above rugged terrain, land on Franz Josef Glacier and set off on a 2-hour and 15-minute guided hike. With an eye for the most spectacular ice formations, your guide will lead you through some of the most awe-inspiring glacier scenery New Zealand has to offer.  Each trip is tailored to the ability of your group, as well as the conditions on the day of your tour. During the hike, your guide will tell you stories about the local area and share their knowledge of the glacier and surrounding terrain. The glacier's features are constantly changing, so 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. 

Franz Josef: 13,000ft, 16,500ft or 18,000ft Skydive

8. Franz Josef: 13,000ft, 16,500ft or 18,000ft Skydive

Begin your adventure by meeting your expert skydiving instructor, receive a safety briefing and prepare your skydiving equipment. Tandem skydiving is the fastest, easiest and safest way for an inexperienced skydiver to enjoy the thrill of jumping out of a plane, free falling through the sky before floating safely to the ground under a parachute. Jump from flight level of 13,000 feet, 16,500 feet or 20,000 feet depending on which option you choose, and free-fall for a thrilling 45, 65 or 85 seconds before the instructor pulls the parachute. Enjoy the incredible views as you leisurely float back down to the landing which is approximately 300 feet above sea level.

Franz Josef Town: 3-Glacier Helicopter Ride with Landing

9. Franz Josef Town: 3-Glacier Helicopter Ride with Landing

Take in three of New Zealand’s most impressive glaciers during a helicopter ride. Land on the elevated snow landing site to take photos of the spectacular views. Meet at the local partner’s office to check in and attend a safety briefing. Then, following a transfer to a private hangar, you will meet your pilot and board the helicopter for takeoff. Put your headset on to listen to your pilot's guided commentary. Fly over the terminal moraine of the ancient Franz Josef Glacier and up the valley to see the big three from above. The Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are ice rivers that plug New Zealand's longest glacier: the Tasman Glacier. Take in their ice pinnacles and crevasses while flying amongst some of New Zealand’s biggest mountains. Admire Mount Cook in the impressive Southern Alps. Land on an elevated snow landing site to enjoy stunning views of Westland Tai Poutini National Park for 15 minutes. You will have plenty of time to take photos before returning to the hangar.

Fox Glacier: Half Day Walking & Nature Tour with Local Guide

10. Fox Glacier: Half Day Walking & Nature Tour with Local Guide

Walk through the lush historic glaciated rainforest in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, spotting the huge rata, rimu trees and moss. During the walk your guide will provide informative commentary on glaciation, geothermology geology, flora and fauna. Dip your hand into a geothermal spring to feel nature up close. Take in the views of upper Fox Glacier, Fox Neve, and Mount Tasman, one of New Zealand's highest mountains. Due to the location, you won't get up close to the terminal face of the glacier, this walk is predominantly focused on the stunning nature in the Fox Glacier Valley.  Upon completion of the walk, your guide will drop you back to your accommodation.

West Coast, South Island

West Coast, South Island

Frequently asked questions about West Coast, South Island Outdoor sports

What are other things to do than Outdoor sports that are worth visiting in West Coast, South Island?

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Other Sightseeing Options in West Coast, South Island

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What people are saying about West Coast, South Island

We weren’t able to land on the glacier due to the weather conditions but we were offered the chance to fly over the Fox and Franz Joseph glaciers instead. We were really pleased that we took that option and were not at all disappointed. The glaciers were fantastic and it’s the only way to fully appreciate them. Our pilot Poppy was brilliant, explaining what we were seeing and she clearly enjoys her job (who wouldn’t). Really professional company who went out their way to ensure we had a great experience. Highly recommended Julie and Shaun Samways from the UK.

Sensational from start to finish! Every single staff member be it the check in person, the people who helped you get kitted out, the bus driver, the pilot, the guides - they were all incredibly professional and also incredibly nice! We felt in safe hands and also had the most amazing experience! It was an awesome day!

My sister and I had a lovely morning on the Franz Josef guided walk. The guide was very knowledgeable about the glaciers and all the wildlife. He also bought along his son who imparted his knowledge too!! A very enjoyable trip.

The flight went very well, the pilot gave us explanations about what we saw. Top!

Great activity, the guides are truly amazing and make you feel comfortable