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Jo & Rohan’s Travel Diary

Friday, 03 Feb 2006

Location: Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

MapHeli-Hike

Another early strart leaving Greymouth at 8am. On the way to Franz we had a stop at a tiny town called Ross which used to be a big gold mining town in the 1800's where we were shown how to pan for gold. A bit further down the road we stopped at the Bushmans Centre. This was a bit of a weird place, but sort of cool. They showed us a video on how they used to catch deer (they basically used to fly over them in a helicopter, jump out and wrestle them to the ground!!). There was also a massive pig and a couple of live possums. In the cafe they sold possum pie, but neither of us tried it! We arrived at Franz in the early afternoon. The attraction here is the amazing glacier, one of the only glaciers in the world to form in a sub tropical climate. The higher you can go up the glacier the better as the ice is more pure and the formations more spectacular. We decided that combining a helicpoter ride and a 2 hour hike on the glacier would be a great experience as neither of us had ever been in a helicopter or been on a glacier, you also get to go a lot higher up the glacier. Obviously to do this you need good weather otherwise the chopper cant fly . On 2 occasions our flight was cancelled so we had to stay another night but we eventually got do it and it was well worth the wait. We got kitted up in the boots, hats, gloves and thermal jackets before boarding the chopper. Jo got to sit in the front seat as she was the smallest there (lucky sod). The ride up to the glacier was fantastic with great views but was over in what felt like seconds. Once on the ice we strapped on our crampons and were guided around. We saw some some cool ice caves and formations aswell as loads of blue ice. It wasnt as cold as we were expecting and didn't need the hats or gloves. The 2 hours flew by and before we knew it we were heading back down on the helicopter. What an amazing experience!