The Location Mention the West Coast of South Island New Zealand and Franz Josef is easily one of the most mentioned town! The one thing which makes this town famous is the glacier, and the Glacier Heli Hike is one of my most memorable experiences of my recent New Zealand trip.
The Tour I joined Franz Josef Glacier Guide for its Glacier Heli Hike, which cost NZD479 for a duration of about 4.5 hours. The actual time spent on the glacier is about 3 hours, which sounds long but time flies for me during the tour.
What to expect It is a guided tour, which provides waterproof pants, jacket and boots for us. I also topped up for a simple snack pack for the hike, where we were supposed to leave most of our belongings behind at the lockers before we boarded the helicopter. Every one of us is also given a set of crampon, just so we don’t slide off the ice easily!
The Highlights The helicopter ride itself is easily one of the reason why the tour is priced quite highly. It takes us to the glacier from the base within a few minutes, and count yourself lucky if you can score a seat at the front.
We were instructed to put on our crampons once we reached the glacier, where the guided tour through the glacier starts proper.
I enjoyed the pace of the tour, which allows us ample time to take pictures along the way without holding up the rest of the group. The guided walk is also a good size, with less than fifteen people.
The walk through the glacier itself is nothing short of spectacular. One reason Franz Josef Glacier is so beautiful is also because it moves around 50cm per day, more than the average glacier. This makes up the rather dramatic glacier formation. There are points where we have to ascend or descent by holding to the rope, which is quite fun for me.
Another highlight is the walk through the cool blue glacier, where we have to squeeze our way (and ass) through the tiny gap. The surprise also comes where we have to trek through a puddle of icy glacier water, which got my feet all soaked up. But it was all fun.
The bonus After paying NZD479 for the tour, it also includes a complimentary access to the Franz Josef Glacier Hot pools,. There are a few pools here with varying temperatures to soak in, communal style in case you are wondering. Get your swimsuits ready!
Overall Experience Many people come to New Zealand for skydiving or bungee jump but in highly recommend the glacier hike, which is something unique to the climate and landscape here. There are not many countries in the world where you can walk on the glacier, and I’m glad I did it this time, after missing the chance to do it in Iceland due to bad weather.
Ranted by The Ranter