Have you ever seen a glacier? Have you ever seen a glacier from above? In New Zealand I had a chance to combine both experiences - an unforgettable opportunity of flying over Franz Josef Glacier.
To be honest I have't expected much - one day before the flight together with my partners in crime I hiked to the neighbouring Fox Glacier and though the hike goes over very spectacular landscape the only thing we saw from the glacier was a mountain of dirty grey snow far far away barely distinguishable between mountains. We could't come closer and had to abrorb the view from the distance, huge signs all along the way warn you of the constant glacier movement and breaking ice. So, when the next day we had a flight scheduled to see the Franz Josef Glacier by invitation of Fox and Franz Josef Heliservices I was more excited of flying the helicopter than actually see the glacier. Oh, but how mistaken I was.
Glaicers from above look so different in comparison to glaciers from the front. From above you actually see how huge it is, how powerful, how cracked. We saw the "tongue" of almost 10 km long crolling between the mountains towards the sea. We saw deep cracks going hundreds of meters down.
During the flight we got told about glacier development and it's history. We had a snow landing and got a chance to walk on the pure white fresh snow which only lies on the mountain tops (I'm not pointing fingers, but some of us also tasted the snow). Our flight took only 20 minutes and I really wished they wouldn't end - nature's beauty underneth us was so breathtaking than I wanted it to last longer.
- You are not allowed to take bags inside the helicopter - there is simply not enough space. So decide on what you are going to take with you (camera, phone, camera lens) beforehand. Fellow bloggers and photographers, please note, that the flight is short, so you won't have time to switch between lenses - decided which one to take on the ground.
- Be sure to wear warm and waterproof clothes. Also prepare an extra pair of socks - snow will get inside your shoes whether you wish it or not.
- If you are having a kid on board, try to board last - the noise of the helicopter from outside is immense. And always keep the protective headphoneson.
- Since we had our baby daughter with us, it was impossible to do an organised glacier walking - flying over a glacier was a great compromise.