Southern Alps
Cruises & Boat Tours

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Our most recommended Southern Alps Cruises & Boat Tours

From Queenstown: Mount Cook and Hooker Valley Day Trip

1. From Queenstown: Mount Cook and Hooker Valley Day Trip

Visit breathtaking locations in Queenstown as you make your way to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Travel with a reliable tour guide who will share stories and rich background knowledge on Queenstown and the Mount Cook area. Start your tour in the stunning city of Queenstown. Drive through the Kawarau Suspension Bridge and marvel at the scenery the Kawarau Gorge has to offer. Stop at the Roaring Meg Lookout to take photos of your stunning view. Then, enter the region of Cromwell, famous for fruits and wine and where you can see huge fields of vines. Next, traverse the majestic Lindis Pass which lies between two valleys against a backdrop of a bright blue sky. This stretch of highway is one of the only three Alpine roads through the otherwise impassable Southern Alps. After taking photos at the top of the pass, drive through the Mackenzie District and visit the township of Omarama. Turning west, you'll enter Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, and Lake Pukaki will emerge in front of you. Proceed to the start of the Hooker Valley Track and depart on a 3-hour self-guided hike with amazing views of Hooker Lake, Hooker Glacier, and Mount Cook. Finish your tour by visiting High Country Salmon as you make your way back to Queenstown.

Franz Josef Glacier: 2-Hour Scenic Lake Mapourika Cruise

2. Franz Josef Glacier: 2-Hour Scenic Lake Mapourika Cruise

Soak up panoramic views of the Southern Alps and glaciers reflecting on the mirror-like waters of Lake Mapourika on this 2-hour scenic cruise. The lake was created by the Franz Josef Glacier as it retreated 14,000 years ago and now sits calm and reflective between the Southern Alps and the sea. Meet your experienced skipper and small group at the office in Franz Josef and take a complimentary transfer out to Lake Mapourika. Board the boat, then sit back and relax onboard the Hanna-k in the comfortable enclosed cabin or on the covered back deck. Your skipper will take you through to the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary on the far shorelines of the lake and will help you spot New Zealand's native birds. Enjoy informative commentary and fascinating stories as you cruise past untouched Jurassic rainforest and 900-year-old Kahikatea trees. Sip on a cup of complimentary tea or coffee as you unwind in beautiful Glacier Country, a picture perfect way to escape the crowds and enjoy the West Coast’s scenery.

Franz Josef Town: 3-Glacier Helicopter Ride with Landing

3. Franz Josef Town: 3-Glacier Helicopter Ride with Landing

Take in three of New Zealand’s most impressive glaciers during a helicopter ride. Land on the elevated snow landing site to take photos of the spectacular views. 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 listen to your pilot's guided commentary. Fly over the terminal moraine of the ancient Franz Josef Glacier and up the valley to see the big three from above. The Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are ice rivers that plug New Zealand's longest glacier: the Tasman Glacier. Take in their ice pinnacles and crevasses while flying amongst some of New Zealand’s biggest mountains. Admire Mount Cook in the impressive Southern Alps. Land on an elevated snow landing site to enjoy stunning views of Westland Tai Poutini National Park for 15 minutes. You will have plenty of time to take photos before returning to the hangar.

Franz Josef: 3-Hour Kayak Tour on Lake Mapourika

4. Franz Josef: 3-Hour Kayak Tour on Lake Mapourika

Gear up for an incredible, three-hour guided kayaking experience. Begin your adventure by meeting your experienced team at the local partner's office in Franz Josef. Join them and your small group on a complimentary transfer out to Lake Mapourika. Glide effortlessly across the water, taking in panoramic views of the Southern Alps, glaciers, and untouched Jurassic rainforest reflected on the glassy waters of Lake Mapourika. Paddle into the heart of the Okarito Kiwi Bird Sanctuary, exploring the protected area with your knowledgeable guide. Tours depart at various times throughout the day. Mornings are often the calmest time of the day on the lake, a perfect choice for photographers looking to capture the beauty of the area. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and an experience not to be missed during your visit to Franz Josef.

Franz Josef: Glacier Helicopter Ride with Snow Landing

5. Franz Josef: Glacier Helicopter Ride with Snow Landing

Board the helicopter at the local partner’s base in Franz Josef, then ascend into the New Zealand's highest mountain range known as the Southern Alps, where panoramic views await. Soar across the sky, passing over the spectacular ice pinnacles and crevasses of Franz Josef Glacier on the way to the snow landing site. Throughout the tour, soak up once-in-a-lifetime views of snow-capped mountains, ancient glacier as well as some of New Zealand’s highest peaks. Arrive at the landing site and take your first steps onto the snowy landscape. Be amazed by the sheer beauty of your surroundings as you are dwarfed by the size of this mountainous West Coast region. Enjoy enough time to take photos and soak up this magical location, then board the helicopter for the return journey to the base. Another view of this amazing and unique glacier formation as you descend back down across temperate rainforest and safe landing back at base.

Franz Josef Glacier: 2.5-Hour Lake Mapourika Cruise and Walk

6. Franz Josef Glacier: 2.5-Hour Lake Mapourika Cruise and Walk

Begin your adventure at the meeting point in Franz Josef to join your small group and transfer out to Lake Mapourika with your guide. Cruise across the lake in the comfort of the boat and enjoy a stunning vista of Southern Alps and glaciers. On a clear day enjoy views as far as Mount Cook.   Sit back as you arrive into the calm estuary of the Okarito Kiwi Sanctuary. Your local knowledgeable skipper will provide you with exclusive access and will guide you through a private rainforest trail.   Follow your skipper through the Jurassic rainforest track and get local insight on the region. Spot native birds as you find your way to the scenic lookout, the perfect spot for a cup or tea or coffee made on the spot.

Frequently asked questions about Southern Alps Cruises & Boat Tours

What are other things to do than Cruises & Boat Tours that are worth visiting in Southern Alps?

The other unmissable things to do in Southern Alps are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Southern Alps

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What people are saying about Southern Alps

Outstanding! On a perfect day we enjoyed the cruise and beauty of Lake Mapourika while learning of its history and natural surroundings. Magnificent views of the mountains and glaciers were mirrored in the serene waters. Jake was interesting and informative. Just do it! A photo album of wonderful memories.

What an amazing trip. Megan was excellent with communicating to bring the trip forward to make the most of it before the weather changed. Gus the pilot was amazing, such a smooth flight with great local knowledge and history. Highly recommend this to anyone we had such a great time.

Beautiful cruise around the lake with excellent cruise operator Dale... Kept us entertained with informative and interesting area history and west coast lifestyle...friendly and welcoming personality..

The best kayaking I've done, the weather was amazing, our guide was very informative

Our guide was excellent, we were a small group and everything was explained to us.