Thursday, 17 November 2011

Heli-hike on Franz Josef Glacier

One of the fantastic experience in New Zealand is Heli-hiking up on the glacier. Franz Josef glacier is located on the West Coast of South Island in New Zealand. It is situated within the rainforest climate of New Zealand, which means it gets quite a lot of rain over the years. But these rain actually help make the glaciers.

The glaciers itself is beautiful and much more expansive and huge than any photos can show. It is constantly moving, which is why you can hear cracks, falling ice and even small waterfalls from the melted ice.

A Heli-hike involves taking a helicopter up the the top of the glacier and then a guide brings you to climb around the glaciers, exploring the nooks and crannies of formed ice caves.

Even though sitting in a helicopter and looking down, it the glacier still looks small until you see another helicopter flying around, then you'll get an idea of how massive it really is.

I'm not sure if you're allowed on the glaciers on your own, but having a guide is really the only safe (and sane) choice. With experience, they know which areas are safe to step on without having any ice fall on you, or falling into the crevice of melted ice. Trust me, its worth it.

A guide will also explain the different landscapes around the glaciers and show you things you'd never expect. Like a small stream of melted ice.

Or the best thing on the glaciers, going through an ice cave! The pressure from the formation of the glacier produces this nice blue tinge (which turns white after exposure to the sun). So, finding a blue ice cave that you can slide through is amazing!

If you ever go that way, I'd definitely recommend a hike over the glacier (either Franz Josef or Fox Glacier, both should be equally good, but also depends on your luck with the weather!). The helicopter ride is a bonus, where you get to experience the massiveness of the glaciers and take in the entire glacier.


Anonymous said...

Great pictures! Love the blue ice, and lucky you....looks like you were up there after a snow fall, beautiful!
Thanks for writing the review. Glad you enjoyed the trip.
Safe travels
Franz Josef Glacier Guides

~Covert_Operations'78~ said...

What an awesome post! Best adventure ever! Just like something out of a movie! Hope I get to go before climate change melts all the glacier into soup.