GLACIERS IN NEW ZEALAND
So I am in New Zealand on the South Island in a tiny town called Kumara which I am lead to believe is also a sweet potato. It's my first time here, I wake up with my gorgeous boyfriend, its 9am we've slept in, but we don't care. Today we've got a helicopter flight organised 2 hours away in Franz Josef. Apparently we are going to fly up and look at a glacier, I haven't got a clue what to expect, I am not even sure I know what a glacier is? I am picturing th movie ice age with a big square chunk of floating ice with penguins on it.
We casually have some breakfast, get in our hire car and get on the road. We haven't got it booked because Dan went to school with the guy who owns one of the helicopter services in Franz. We stop to pick up some Speight's for him on the way there. Speight's is the aussie version of Carlton or XXXX beer, the go to beer. We arrive in the cute little town of Franz Josef around lunch time but there's a few different helicopter services so we take a few minutes to figure out which one it is and find a car park. Again, its really relaxed, there's not an ounce of urgency about it all. We walk into the place and there's Dan's primary school friend at the front desk, he says 'seriously so good to see you mate, its literally been 20 years or something but the weathers turning, we probably won't send out an afternoon flight so this is it, they're down there now ready to go they've got two spare seats, blades are spinning grab your camera GO!' Ok so now its urgent, but I need to pee 'Quick Dan you grab the cameras I have to go to the toilet! Run!' seconds later I meet Dan out the front and we are running down to the helipad. I notice as we are running that he was thoughtful enough to grab a jumper..... for himself, hmmm how cold could a glacier actually be. There's a few people already in the helicopter and we scramble in, put on our seatbelts and headsets and up we go. It all happened so fast.
The view of the glacier is incredible, its this big rolling blue blob covered in fresh snow. Its gorgeous. Who would have thought a big blob of ice could take your breath away. The approach was spectacular, I completely lose my depth perception, I could immediately appreciate the skill of the pilot. We circle around the top to head back.... so I thought. Next thing I know we are landing 'oh my god are we landing? we are landing, holy shit we are landing!' I hadn't realised they place us down on top of the glacier. We all hop out and get to crunch around in the deep snow, take photos and breathe in the crisp glacial air. Its amazing. With a long sleeve cotton shirt on and long pants it turns out I didn't need a jumper after all and it was snowing a little. I couldn't help myself I just had to do the 'Toyota oh what a feeling' jump in front of the helicopter. The flight back was just as awesome as the flight up. I could see tiny little people doing the glacier walk tour beneath us, the pilot tells us the glacier has receded so much that its unsafe to walk right up to it now with large pieces breaking off regularly. It has a growing and receding cycle apparently, I was too excited to retain all the facts.
My first time in a helicopter, my first glacier, my first time in knee deep snow, so many firsts and all it cost us was a box of Speights. An unforgettable afternoon. Just goes to show, its not what you know its who you know ;)