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Things to do in

West Coast, South Island

Our most recommended things to do in West Coast, South Island

Franz Josef Glacier: 2.5-Hour Hike with Helicopter Transfer

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

Soar to Franz Josef Glacier and see this 12-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 2.25-hour 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.

Fox Glacier: Up to 3 Hours Hike with Helicopter Transfer

2. 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: Glacier Helicopter Tour with Snow Landing

3. 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 transfer to a private 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 landing site to enjoy stunning views of some of New Zealand’s highest mountains. You will have plenty of time to take incredible photos before returning to the hangar.

Franz Josef & Fox Glaciers Helicopter Flight & Snow Landing

4. 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.

Queenstown: Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

5. Queenstown: Spirit of Queenstown Lake Wakatipu Scenic Cruise

Cruise farther and see more on this 1.5-hour Queenstown scenic cruise. Sit back, relax and enjoy spectacular views of the Remarkables, Bob’s Cove, Cecil Peak and Mt. Earnslaw from the comfort of the Spirit of Queenstown – an environmentally friendly and luxurious cruise boat. Take in panoramic views from the open top deck. Enjoy refreshments, snacks and lunch served in the café on board. Cruise across spectacular Lake Wakatipu as you enjoy entertaining commentary provided by the local skipper.

Fox Glacier: Scenic Helicopter Flight with Snow Landing

6. Fox Glacier: Scenic Helicopter Flight with Snow Landing

Journey into the Southern Alps for this once in a lifetime helicopter flight over the Fox Glacier. Begin your adventure at the helicopter base in Fox Glacier Township, where you will be greeted by your expert team. As you take off in your helicopter, be amazed by the panoramic views over the town and surrounding landscapes before heading towards the Fox Glacier. As you draw closer to the picturesque mountains, fly over dramatic ice falls and deep crevasses before you descend for a snow landing. Here you will have an opportunity to take in your surroundings, breathe in the clean alpine air and take photos in this winter wonderland. When you are finished, join your pilot in the return flight back to the Fox Glacier Township.

Franz Josef: Helicopter Trip over Two Glaciers

7. Franz Josef: Helicopter Trip over Two Glaciers

See two of New Zealand’s biggest glaciers — the Franz Josef and Fox or Tasman glaciers with uninterrupted views from a helicopter. Fly amongst the Southern Alps, admiring the ice pinnacles and canyons whilst learning about the awesome spectacle from your professional guide. After you check-in and have a safety briefing, you will be transferred to a private hanger, where you will meet your pilot and guide and board the helicopter. You will be provided headsets in order to hear your guide’s commentary. You will have the opportunity to stop and explore by foot at an elevated snow landing site for 15 minutes, perfect for taking photos.

Queenstown: Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike

8. Queenstown: Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike

Fly over the Southern Alps, home to over 3000 small glaciers. Visit Franz Josef Glacier on the western face of Aoraki/ Mt Cook or the Tasman Glacier on the east side. Enjoy the flexibility of seeing either glacier in case of poor weather conditions on your tour of choice. Check in on arrival at either the Franz Josef Glacier tour or Tasman Glacier tour and get to your helicopter. Have a safety briefing as your equipment is handed out. Go out to a deep part of the glacier via a scenic helicopter flight. Pass over the deep crevasses of the icefalls and waterfalls to land at the upper Franz Josef Icefall. Alternatively, take a scenic helicopter flight over the Tasman Terminal Lake to the Tasman Glacier. Be fitted with crampons for your trek out onto the glacier, exploring ices caves, and seeing the natural, ever-changing wonders of the South Island’s glaciers.

Greymouth Monteith's Brewery 1-Hour Brewery Tour

9. Greymouth Monteith's Brewery 1-Hour Brewery Tour

Start your tour in the Beertopia Room which houses our very own Monteith's Museum. Get an introduction to the heritage and rich stories of the origins of Monteith's, starting in 1868 on the West Coast. Move into the brewery to see, touch, taste (if you're up for it) and smell New Zealand grown ingredients used to make craft beer. Take your time to walk through the brewhouse and packaging house as your expert guide talks you through the process involved with crafting the 150-year-old beer recipes. Receive video, visual and verbal prompts throughout the tour to help you to understand the various techniques and technical terms our brewers are so familiar with. End the tour with a lesson on how to achieve the 'perfect pour'. For those over 18, pour yourself your very own tap beer, taste and enjoy.

Charleston: 4-Hour Nile River Cave and Tubing Adventure

10. Charleston: 4-Hour Nile River Cave and Tubing Adventure

Set off on a superb 4-hour adventure in the enormous Nile River Cave System deep in the untamed natural wilderness of the Paparoa National Park. Discover a hidden, special place on an award-winning adventure at its best. Meet your guide at the local partner’s adventure center in Charleston and get equipped with wet suits, wet suit socks, boots, gloves, and helmets. Dressed ready for your adventure, take a short ride on the Nile River Rainforest Train into the stunning West Coast rainforest. Marvel at the towering limestone cliffs that create a magical backdrop for your adventure. A short walk leads you to the cave entrances high above the Nile River. Leave the daylight behind and enter a hidden subterranean world to explore a calcite paradise of stalactites and stalagmites. Cross huge chambers, follow a maze of passages, and wander through the heart of an ancient multi-levelled cave system. Enriched with illustrations, explanations, and stories you will connect to the fragile, precious world as you descend to the bottom level of the cave where the water guides you to a magical galaxy of glowworms. Astounded by this underground night sky, slowly float on an underground river to emerge back into daylight using only the natural light of the awe-inspiring display of glowworms as navigation. Leave this special place floating in your tube down the fun, gentle rapids of the Nile River surrounded by the lush rainforest and beautiful limestone cliffs. Finally, returning on the Rainforest Train back to Charleston.

Other Sightseeing Options in West Coast, South Island

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What people are saying about West Coast, South Island

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 491 reviews

Great morning flight with my husband and daughter while on holidays in the South island truly amazing views and effortless flight . Didn’t even know when the chopper took off so smooth it was a great birthday present for my husband while on vacation. Snow landing great for photo op.

Smooth ride on the lake with outdoor options for a better view, and the views of the mountains looking up towards Glenorchy are amazing. Informative but not overdone commentary by the captain.

Was absolutely incredible. Would highly recommend spending the extra money and getting the plane up to the Heli-Hike experience!

It was smooth and with great history. The skipper also stopped a few places for photos which was great

Great tour. It is the tour guide who makes the difference though. Our tour guide was exceptional.