Trekking the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s Largest Glacier

The first thing you notice when you step into the helicopter that’s about to take you into the heart of the Tasman Glacier is the crisp air – a sign of the natural beauty you’re about to immerse yourself in.

The Tasman Glacier has been calling travellers far and wide for years to experience what New Zealand’s largest glacier has to offer. Here, it’s as if you’ve truly stepped into another world, one where the landscape is defined by glaciers and mesmerising Blue Lakes. At close to 27 km long, the Tasman Glacier is certainly the longest glacier in New Zealand, with its formation only starting in 1974.

Plenty of tourists venture by car to a viewpoint that shows off the valley, the glacier, and the surrounding mountains – but not you. Today, you’re taking part in a heli hike in the Tasman Glacier, where a combination of helicopter travel and on-foot hiking will allow you to see some of the most remote beauty this glacier has to offer.

Take a deep breath. The helicopter’s lifting off, and your trek is about to begin! 

The view from the helicopter

As you soar upwards with your helicopter companions (including an expert local guide who’ll keep you safe through every step of your hike), the Southern Alps quickly unfold before you. We’re talking about rugged peaks that contrast against a rich blue sky with snow-capped slopes that hint at the adventure to come. It’s a scale of beauty that’s hard not to be caught off-guard by, with nature showing off in such immense and vivid capacity. 

From the sky, you’ve got a vantage point of this expanse that’s impossible to experience on the ground, and you already know this is going to be a day to remember. 

Immersing yourself on the ice

The helicopter ride is over, but the thrills are truly just beginning. Thanks to the trip by air, you’re now in the heart of a remote part of the Tasman Glacier that’s pristine, untouched, and all yours to explore. You’re an impressive 1,200 metres above sea level, and the view is a breathtaking landscape of fluted ice, runnels, moulins, and winding streamlets.

Your experienced guide helps you to get kitted out with essential crampons, making it easy to navigate the ice by following the footsteps they cut. Even for the most inexperienced of hikers, this is an accessible experience that’s inclusive and welcoming for all levels. The terrain may seem intense, but once you’re in the heart of it, you’re able to slip into the hiking rhythm in the friendly shadows of Aoraki Mt Cook and Mount Tasman.

It’s incredible how quickly two hours can pass once you’re on your way. Throughout your hike, your guide speaks to the ever-changing terrain, noting how wind and water continue to shape this glacier day by day. Even if this isn’t your first time on the Tasman Glacier, you’ll experience something new, witnessing the power of nature first-hand as you see the way she’s shaping the terrain bit by bit. 

Once you’ve reached your destination, it’s time for a return helicopter flight to Mount Cook airport. This flight offers a chance to see the incredible 1,000-metre-high Hochstetter Icefall as you pass. 


You’ve seen a part of the world that few have the privilege to see, and you’ve hiked it step by step, making yourself acquainted along the way. Your Tasman Glacier heli hike will certainly leave you with the story of an adventure you’ll remember forever. Book your heli hike today to experience this incredible and immersive tour for yourself – you won’t regret it! 

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