Franz Josef & Mount Cook

A glacier hike at the Franz Josef glacier or Mount Cook was on top of our to do list as this is an once in a lifetime experience. If you fly with a helicopter from Franz Josef to Mount Cook it will be 15 minutes. When you need to drive it is a 6,5 hour drive!

Franz Josef village

We arrived in Franz Josef Village, the weather did not look good at all. It was raining and the mountains where covered in clouds. Our Glacier hike was cancelled, so they rebooked us to the next day. Unfortunately that hike got cancelled as well. Before this trip I already found out that there were also glacier hikes in Mount Cook so this was our last chance. Nothing is more changeable than the weather in New Zealand!

Mount Cook National Park

The best place to stay to explore Mount Cook National park is Aoraki Mount Cook Village. From here you can do many different hikes and you are close to the Helicopters taking off to the Tasman glacier.

Hooker valley track

This must be one of the best hikes in the world with spectacular views!! It is a 3 hour hike which is almost flat, only a few stairs on the way. During the walk it is so quiet that you can hear the rumpling of avalanches. Try to spot them before they are gone! The surprise is at the end, Hooker lake! The complete hike will be worth it! Best view of Mount Cook and all the small ice bergs in the water.

  • Mount Cook buttercup, the world’s biggest buttercup
  • 10 km return via same track
  • 3 swing bridges on the track
  • Endangered kea, the only alpine parrot in the world can be spotted
  • Hike during the day to have the best view
  • Only when you have good weather you can see Mount Cook (50/50 chance)

Tasman Lake Hike

This hike is also amazing and I do recommend this one as well. Same as with the Hooker Valley hike it will be an almost flat hike. At the end you can climb down the rocks to get closer to the glacier water but this is optional. In the low seasons you are walking alone most of the time which makes it such a great adventure! The water has an amazing light milky blue colour and has some icebergs floating around.

  • 1 hour return hike
  • Hike during the day to have the best view
  • The glacier water goes all the way to Lake Pukaki

What to bring to these hikes:

  • plenty of water
  • a water/windproof jacket, a hat and gloves, sunscreen and wear warm, layered clothing
  • hiking shoes
  • mobile phone
  • photo camera
  • snacks
  • sunscreen

Tasman Glacier heli hike

We were told to be so lucky that the weather was amazing since the last weeks it was really bad. We booked a heli hike the day before we arrived however it is recommended in busy periods to book in advance. When the weather is to bad as we had in Franz Josef you will get a full refund and you can rebook if you are staying multiple days.

  • heli hikes run from October – April


  • Scenic helicopter flight to Tasman Glacier to explore the white ice.
  • Glacier landing and pickup
  • Approx 2 hours hiking and exploring glacial ice formations
  • Professional and experienced heli hike guides
  • All equipment provided (glacier boots, socks, ice crampons, waterproof jacket and pants)

Bring these:

  • Warm upper body clothing (preferably 3 to 4 layers) (depending on the weather!!)
  • Leggings or light trousers, although shorts are acceptable
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Waterproof jacket (one will be provided if you don’t have one)
  • Bring an empty bottle to fill it up with glacier water! (nice and cool drinking water)
  • general tip; last minute deals in New Zealand can be found via this site: Book me

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