New Zealand police have confirmed that an Australian man has died on Aoraki-Mt Cook after falling 40 metres down a crevasse on the Grand Plateau.

The Australian Department of Defence has confirmed the man, 44, was an Australian solider.

"Defence can confirm that an Australian soldier has died during a training activity in Mount Cook, New Zealand on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at approximately 1pm," the department said in a statement.

Police said the man was one of a party of 10 people and fell shortly after midday today.


A New Zealand Defence Force spokesman said: "The NZ Defence Force was not involved in the training activity on Mt Cook".

"Our thoughts are with our Australian counterparts as they deal with this tragedy."

The victim's body has been recovered and has been flown back to the Mount Cook Emergency Service Centre. and police are now advising the next of kin.

The matter has been referred to the Coroner.

Alpine Guides manager Arthur McBride told the Herald he had heard one person had been "involved in an accident on the Grand Plateau".

"There were helicopters all over the place".

The location of the accident was "a long way away" from a large rock avalanche, which happened around the same time on the south face of Mt Cook, he said.

- more to come