Frans Josef

Trip Start Nov 04, 2006
Trip End Mar 25, 2007

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Well what a pallava - but what an amazing time.... We arrived in Frans Josef on the first of our 2 nights stay there and immediately booked our glacier hikes and helicopter rides. As mentioned I went for the Heli Hike option which means I get a 15 minute flight up the Frans Josef glacier then 2 hours hiking round the top of the glacier then a flight back. The Frans Josef Glacier is the fastest moving glacier in the world, I think we were told it can move up to a foot a day at some times of the year! New Zealand is the only country to have a glacier in such surroundings as rainforest too. All very interesting, I was intrigued anyway.

Anyway the girls booked their skydives too, but all was dependent on weather, I didn't like the sound of that. I was very tempted to book a skydive too, but decided I should be sensible and save my money for things I haven't done before - booooooo! Anyway, we woke in the morning well rested and the girls had already had their skydive cancelled - not looking good! We went down to the center for our weather check and they gave us the all clear and we trooped over to the heli pads to get kitted out in our hiking boots, crampons (that how it is spelt/pronounced?) and warm jackets. Once we looked the part we were grouped, given our safety instructions and sent to our designated heli pad. Well I was nearly wetting myself with excitement to say the least, a helicopter flight over mountains and glaciers and a hike with exotic things like pick axes and guides. Wooo hoooo! Our helicopter landed, people poured out, our briefing man ran over and.........the engine was turned off. It was cancelled. He turned round and gave us the thumbs down and helicopters started turning round which had just taken off to come back and land. The clouds and changed direction and were now blockign the way up to the glacier. Well I will not tell you the words I uttered marching back up the path to take our gear off, everyone was so upset. I ended up having tears in my eyes being a complete bratt. So we all left very deflated, went back to the booking center and asked what our options were. Catching the half day hike up the glacier 5 hour round trip or doing a 20 or 40 minute scenic helicopter flight round the glaciers with a 10 minute landing up the top. Well I can tell you now, it was all about the helicopter for me! Hikes I have done, admittedly not on glaciers but I am accident prone and moi hiking up a glacier for 5 hours spells disaster or broken leg if you ask me. I wanted views baby, not bruises! I booked my 40 minute scenic flight round both glaciers with all the frills. We waited, we waited, the clouds didn't clear, we went back to be met by the previous guide who checked with the pilots on the radio - we had the OK!!!!! We had a possible 1 hour clearing to get up there, GO GO GO GO GO, we ran over to the heli pad and all loaded on in seconds. Well - check out the photos   I won't say anything but WOW! It was one of the most amazing things I have ever done, and from this day forth I am doing everything in my power to go on as many helicopter rides as possible without going bankrupt in the process. I ABSO-BLOODY-LUTELY LOVED IT!!! We started up the glacier from where the hikers do and went right to the top.   This photo is of the Frans Josef glacier in all it's glory - once at the top he whoooshed us round to the Fox glacier and then past Mt Cook the tallest peak in NZ (I think) I can't ever tell you how beautiful it was from up there, it has to be experienced. Once we landed on one of the mountains for a run around in the snow and some photos, I took the opportunity to ask the pilot how I go about getting his job, he laughed when I asked, I asked what was so funny and he stopped quite quickly, still not sure why. After squeeling with glee and running round in the snow for 10 minutes I took the opportunity to quietly request the pilot to do some aerobatics on our way back down and assured him the others wouldn't mind. The git ratted me out and asked them! Well I got my own way in the end after several minutes of begging I climbed in the front for some heli tricks. SOOOOOO MUCH FUN! Lee had white knuckles and Lauren screamed like a baby whilst Rebecca just closed her eyes. I was delighted, he zoomed up the side of the mountain then turned the helicopter on her side and swooped vertically down round the peaks ducking and diving it was the best feeling, butterflies is not the word I was giggling like a child on Christmas day while blocking out Lauren's screams (sorry Lauren, he he). That evening we all went out in Frans Josef high as kites and comparing experiences of the hikes and the flights. The Heli Hike never did manage to get up there that day so I am so glad I took the risk with the scenic flight, I can't recommend it enough.
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