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At the end of your hike on the ice, you’ll take another helicopter ride out of the mountains and back to civilisation.The heli-hike is extremely popular, so we offer advance reservations with the helicopter operators and guiding company.Our guides have plenty of time to interpret the flora and fauna and explain the geological and social history of the areas you’ll visit.You also have the choice of a selection of the best day hikes Fiordland National Park has to offer, along with an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound, or hiking the famous Milford Track in its entirety.Few sights equal the spectacle of this giant frozen river (Franz Josef Glacier) imperceptibly grinding its way down through temperate rainforest to just 250 metres (820 feet) above sea level.
From Franz Josef, we’ll travel down the coast through lush rainforest and inland to Makarora, a small village bordering Mt Aspiring National Park, with incredible views of the snow-capped mountains.
We’ll then head west to Kuru Tawhiti Conservation Area in the heart of the Southern Alps.
We’ll take a gentle one-hour walk among the imposing limestone tors of Castle Hill, which were once a meeting place for moa hunters of the Ngai Tahu tribe.
After dark, we can head out to look for the eerie lights of Arachnocampa luminosa – the native glowworm – and listen for some of New Zealand’s nocturnal birdlife such as the distinctive hoot of the morepork owl.
Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef (All meals)With some 140 glaciers making their way down from the Southern Alps, this area is fittingly known as glacier country.