NZ Glacier Hike 5 day


The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers of Westland National Park 

A great adventure!

Colin Gray, Australia

Would I recommend this trip ? Absolutely!  A great adventure, with fantastic guides & something that I'm sure we'll be doing again.

More Information

Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are famous for the day walks that happen on the glacier terminus at the tourist township of Fox & Franz Josef. However, these glaciers are enormous rivers of ice and it is at the glacier’s higher elevations where the real action begins. Up against the largest peaks in New Zealand, Mt Cook & Mt Tasman, the snow accumulates hundreds of meters thick, turning to ice under pressure before it flows slowly to sea level. These vast oceans of snow & ice offer climbers and trekkers unparalleled opportunities to explore one of the worlds biggest glaciers.  There are four huts in the area and many different options depending on ability, weather and snow conditions.

TRAVELLER'S TIP: It is a 3.5 hour drive from Wanaka to Fox Glacier. The drive takes you over the beautiful Haast Pass into the famous west coast of the South Island. If your New Zealand itinerary already includes a visit to the West Coast, why not incorporate the Fox to Franz Josef Trek into your plans?

If you are interested in learning some new skills this is a great trip to cover some basics of glacier travel such as:

  • Planning and preparation
  • Glacier travel and crevasse rescue
  • Fundamental mountaineering techniques such as use of ice ax and crampons
  • Mountain navigation
  • Snow caving and emergency shelters

Available Dates

Dates 2019 Status
Jan 19 - 23 Open
Feb 3 - 7 Open
Feb 17 - 21 Open

Contact us for other dates.


Physical Difficulty

You will be required to carry your personal clothing and sleeping bag as well as technical gear including ice axe, harness and crampons.  No need to carry tents or cooking supplies.  The glaciers can change radically depending on the time of year or weather conditions.  Travel can vary from easy walking on smooth firm snow to soft breakable snow where going is much harder.  Good balance is necessary with some crevasses travel requiring steady footing.  Days can be varied to suit the group with plenty of room to push even the fittest of travelers.

Technical Difficulty

Your guide will brief you on the necessary skills required.  Cramponing and using your ice axe for self arrest will be practiced.  There is no technical roped climbing required but sometimes a short rope or handline will be used to give you confidence.  Abseiling or rappelling is sometimes needed depending on the time of year.  The ice in this area is hundreds of feet thick and party members will be roped up for glacier travel whenever leaving the hut.

Price Details

Guide Ratio Price  per person
1:2 NZ $4,050
1:3+ NZ $3,150
What's Included
  • air access and egress (If location changes to Tasman Glacier, then there may be a surcharge for flights in and out of the mountains)
  • meals and energy snacks
  • alpine hut / tent accommodation
  • national park, landing & guide fees
  • 15% goods and services tax.
  • technical equipment - see equipment section below for details 
  • weather contingency

Itinerary / Trip Options (multi)

Day One

We usually meet at our office in Wanaka at 8:30 in the morning when we do a final check of your equipment and answer any last minute questions.  We drive 3 hours to the small village of Fox where we load the helicopter and relocate to Pioneer Hut (2400m) at the head of the Fox Glacier.  Your guide will instruct you on the safety aspects of glacier travel.  The journey from the rain forest of the west coast to the world of massive glaciers is one that you will never forget.


Day Two

We walk to Grey Peak, which takes us high up onto the very spine of the Southern Alps. Views of Mt Tasman and the eastern glaciers and lakes are a treat while we have lunch. Spectacular is an understatement for this area, with the views over the Tasman Sea, Mount Tasman (second highest peak in New Zealand) and the Tasman Glacier (largest glacier in New Zealand) you will  remember this day forever.


Day Three

We travel across the glacier to Centennial Hut.  Navigating the crevassed ice fields is an experience you will never forget.  There is one pass to get over with some tricky glacier travel involved.  This is the country’s premier glacier walk, taking two of the country’s finest glaciers.


Day Four

We will spend another night here at Centennial, so we either have a rest today, or take a day trip up to Graham Saddle for views of the Tasman Valley. Graham Saddle is the watershed for the Franz Joseph and Tasman glaciers providing views from one side of the South Island to the other.


Day Five

Travel to Aylmer Hut brings us down to the top of the Franz icefall. The lower we get the more broken the ice becomes until it finally it turns into a broken cascade of tumbling ice.  A helicopter rendezvous takes us back to Fox Township.


Equipment Details

This video provides practical demonstration of the common equipment and clothing required for glacier hiking in New Zealand

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