Up, up and away
|The helipad up the glacier.|
Franz Josef is a sleepy little town at the base of a 12km long glacier by the same name, situated in New Zealand’s South Island. With a handful of motels and restaurants, this lesser known tourist destination offers some exciting glacier adventure, mainly a 15 minute helicopter ride which drops one amidst the lofty peaks of the glacier followed by a short hiking tour up the mountains.
|Our hiking group.|
As my German friend and I gazed at the scenery, Sam called out to turn and look on the other side. It was an avalanche! A mini one though, for viewing purposes rather than a catastrophe. Nevertheless, it was a sign to return.
“You guys are a quiet lot. No questions at all,” our guide cum axeman complained. He had paved the way for our last leg of the trek. We climbed down, carefully placing our pair of crampons in the spaces dug up by Sam. Not relying on us to ask for any information, he shared how these glaciers have retreated rapidly in the last five years and if they continue to at a similar rate, there would be no glaciers in the next 50 years.
|The lone adventurer amidst the icy landscape.|
Coming closest to nature is coming closest to the maker, I fancied as we hopped on to the chopper to take us back to civilisation.