New Zealand is well-known for its incredible scenery and daredevil activities. When I visited New Zealand’s South Island last year a glacier helicopter adventure was high up on my list of must do’s. Using Franz Josef as a base I headed to a helicopter tour operator hoping there would be a space on a trip. Luckily there was one with spaces for the next day.
The following morning I was a mix of emotions, I was so excited and for some reason slightly nervous at the same time! Waiting by the helipad just over the road from the hostel I was staying at I looked on excitedly and waited as a helicopter landed, dropped people off and then we jumped in! The helicopter doesn’t shut down so you have to keep low as you jump in. I have never actually been so excited in my whole life…and as we took off I felt quite emotional! I fly all the time in my job as cabin crew but this was my first flight in a helicopter. With the ability to be so close to the surroundings with what felt like next to nothing in between the mountains and my feet, was breath-taking.
As we left Franz Josef behind, headsets on, we quickly soared high above the snowy peaks. All of a sudden Franz Josef glacier came into view, Wow! The views were absolutely breathtaking, huge icy blue spears jutted up from the glacier, as it appeared to be rolling down the mountainside, and if that wasn’t enough we also flew over Fox Glacier, Tasman Glacier and Mount Cook. Flying alongside Mount Cook and over mountain ridges was incredible, they felt so close, as if I could almost touch them. It was an out of this world experience and a very surreal one at that. I tried not to take too many photos so I could just enjoy the moment and take it all in, I was completely blown away by the beauty of these natural wonders. The deep turquoise and blues of the glacial ice formations looked stunning in the sunlight, it was hard to grasp their enormity from the air. Whilst buzzing over I spotted people at the top and bright red walkers huts perched right on the edge of the glaciers, everything looked so tiny in perspective to the icy world below.
After soaring above this incredible scenery it was time for our mountain landing. Somewhere up near Mount Cook we came down to land on what felt like the edge of the earth, pure white snow glistening in the sunlight and crunchy underfoot. With a few minutes to explore this vividly bright landscape we stepped out on to untouched snow and took some obligatory selfies in front of the helicopter. After a few minutes it was time to leave this wintry wonderland. Flying back towards Franz Josef, leaving the mountains behind there was a bit more time to take some final photos before landing back on firm ground…If like me you love flying then this awesome experience will be just your thing.
I booked the flight with Glacier Helicopters, it worked out to be about £200, which is a bit on the pricey side but so worth it. Having travelled to the other side of the world it’s not everyday you get to see glaciers! The other trip that looked fantastic was a glacier walk. A helicopter drops you half way up the glacier to walk the rest, you then get picked up again by helicopter from the top. Have you done this trip or a glacier walk? If so I’d love to hear all about it!