Top three reasons to go on a heli hiking tour of Fox Glacier
Enjoy two helicopter rides over icy peaks and lush rainforests
Explore some of New Zealand’s most dramatic glacial landscapes
The glacier isn’t steep, meaning family hikes are a great option
Tucked into the foothills of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, the 12-km (7.5-mile) Fox Glacier is the country’s longest glacier, as well as a hot spot for some cool hikes. It’s not as steep and demanding as the neighboring glaciers, which means you get to focus your attention on the sights, sounds, and shapes of the ice rather than the leg burn. And the sights are magnificent—the glacier offers phenomenal views of both the temperate rainforest below and the soaring peaks above, and there are plenty of ice caves, walls, and frosted arches to explore. And the best part—the ice shifts and changes constantly, meaning that two different visits could mean two completely different experiences.
October through May
Christchurch, NZ, is 5 hours away from Fox Glacier
Beginner to advanced
Choose how you spend your days
Fox Glacier Half-Day Heli Hike
Experience an exciting blend of helicopter touring and glacier hiking on a convenient, family-friendly 3-4 hour trekking adventure. Enjoy fast and easy access to the most unique ice caves and arches in West Coast New Zealand. Your expert local guide will provide the crampons and all other necessary equipment while making sure you stay safe on the ice.
Fox Glacier Full-Day Heli Hike
Get ready for an action-packed full-day heli hike of Fox Glacier. Enjoy a scenic chopper flight over a lush rainforest before exploring the glacier to your heart’s content—ford crevasses, climb icy pitches, abseil ice walls, and much more. An expert guide will show you how to use your technical climbing equipment and provide some fascinating info about the icy environments.
Fox Glacier Full-Day Heli Hike and Summit
Enjoy a mountaineering tour for non-mountaineers! Land near the legendary Chancellor Hut, explore the snowy shelves and gullies of Fox Glacier, and summit the snow-capped Chancellor Dome at 2,004 meters (6,526 ft)—all under the watchful eye of a seasoned local guide. Admire the views of the highest peaks in the Southern Alps before another epic flight back.
Fox Glacier Two-Day Heli Hike and Summit
Roam a glacier, sleep in an iconic hut, and climb a mountain—this is the most complete Fox Glacier experience out there. Fly in, spend a day exploring the glacier and summiting Chancellor Dome, have dinner, and overnight at the iconic Chancellor Hut. Then, spend the next day discovering alpine gardens, waterfalls, and the unique icy features of Victoria Flat.
Meet your guide
Fox Glacier Guiding
We booked last minute and were incredibly fortunate to have the afternoon to ourselves. Literally just the two of us + our brilliant guide, and millions of cubic meters of ice. The staff was great and our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and experienced on ice. Truly one of the must-do bucket list experiences to tick off when in new Zealand.
By far one of the most incredible things that I have experienced! Our guide and all of the staff involved were super informative and made us feel safe the whole time. Highly recommend 🙂
Was great! The guide was very knowledgeable, everything was very professional and the glacier was amazing!! Definitely a must-do!
We did the 4-hour heli hike which includes 3 hours exploring the glacier on foot and a return heli transfer with amazing views of the glacier and valley. Worth saving up for, as it’s such a unique experience and fully deserving of the 2021 trip advisor awards. Thanks to Sarah and Cam for being such awesome guides and for sharing their passion and knowledge of this treasured part of Aotearoa
Get complete checklist for hiking and camping equipment.
Things to know
Covid measures in Fox Glacier, New Zealand
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Fox Glacier, please refer to the New Zealand Government’s official COVID-19 travel guidelines.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- A half-day, full-day, or two days of glacier hiking
- Helicopter transportation to the trailhead and back
- Overtrousers, a waterproof jacket, and leather hiking boots
- All necessary technical and safety equipment
- One night’s stay at Chancellor Hut (for the two-day heli trek)
- Dinner and a glass of wine (for the two-day heli trek)
What’s not included:
- Transportation to the Fox Glacier township
- Accommodations in the Fox Glacier township
- Food and snacks
How fit do I need to be?
For the Half-Day Heli Hike, a moderate level of fitness is required. You should be able to ascend and descend 500-800 m (1600-2,600 ft) over 4-6 hours in variable conditions while carrying a light pack weighing in at 10 kg (22 lbs) or more.
For the Full-Day Heli Hike, the Full-Day Heli Hike and Summit, and the Two-Day Heli Hike and Summit, you need to have good physical fitness levels. You should be able to ascend and descend 1,000+ m (3,280+ ft) over 8 or more hours in variable conditions while carrying a pack weighing in at 12 kg (26 lbs) or more.
No prior glacier hiking experience is required for any of these tours.
What do I need to bring?
Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
- Hiking poles — optional
- Water bottle or hydration bladder (1L capacity)
- Gloves and a warm hat
- Hiking boots or shoes (can be provided by guide)
- Three to four layers of upper body clothing
- Waterproof rain jacket
- Food and snacks
- Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Camera — optional (but recommended)
Drones are strictly forbidden in Fox Glacier, so we urge you to leave them behind. If not, they will be confiscated and you will face a $5,000 NZD ($3,270 USD) fine
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- For these adventures, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 5:1.
- Cost is per person and it doesn’t decrease as the group grows.
Heli hiking in Fox Glacier can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
- Minors younger than 16 aren’t allowed to participate in the Full-Day Heli Hike.
- Minors younger than 14 aren’t allowed to participate in the Full-Day Heli Hike and Summit or the Two-Day Heli Hike and Summit.
- Minors younger than 9 aren’t allowed to participate in the Half-Day Heli Hike.
If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to the Fox Glacier township, the starting point of these tours, most people fly into Christchurch International Airport 5 hours away from Westland National Park, where the hut is located. From there, your easiest option is to rent a car and drive to the hut.
Alternatively, Christchurch offers daily local flights to Hokitika-Sea View Airport in Hokitika, which is only two hours away from the hut. Once there, take one of the regular bus lines to Fox Glacier.
You’ll usually be meeting your guides at their building in the Fox Glacier Township. Make sure to arrive for the check-in at least 10 minutes before departure.