So I couldn’t really be writing all about New Zealand without including some bucket list ideas for you! Maybe there’s some that are already on your list, or that you’ve done, but hopefully through out these posts that you can add to your list too! I’d say if you love adrenaline then New Zealand definitely has plenty of bucket list ideas for you, but there’s some that I didn’t even have on my bucket list before I went out there that I would strongly advise adding to yours!
On our way down to Franz Josef we had just the one evening in Lake Mahinapua and it turned out to be probably on of the most memorable nights of the trip. A fancy dress party where the theme was going as something that starts with the first letter of your first name. I decided to go as an Extra Terrestial and used the opportunity to wear a LOT of glitter.
Franz Josef is a mind boggling place. Where else in the world can you have a rainforest and a glacier side by side?! It kind of reminded of Center Parcs but on steroids, beautiful steroids – if you’re from the UK, you’ll know what I mean. This was another one of our ‘major stays’ because there was a lot to do; like sky diving, kayaking, helicopter rides and of course hiking a glacier – plenty of bucket list ideas!
I’d heard a few things here and there about this ‘Heli Hike’ throughout the trip from various people I’d met along the way but even still I had not quite prepared myself how what was going to happen. The day started at their HQ where we got our health and safety brief as well as our kit for the day. When everyone was kitted up and ready to go we headed out to the helicopters, I had never been in one before so at this point I was more excited about that than anything else if I’m honest. We got split up into 2 helicopters and set off on our 3 minute trip up to the glacier. The views were absolutely incredible, as we went up we were surrounded by the rainforest type mountains and then as we ‘turned a corner’, the glacier appeared. It was utterly breathtaking, like a scenic shot from a movie or something. We landed smoothly onto the glacier and were escorted to a ‘safe spot’ to wait for everyone to get off the helicopters and so we could put on our crampons safely before we started our hike. Luckily we were on the first hike of the day so the sky was clear and, like I said, the views were incredible, however, this also meant our route was literally being made as we made our way across the glacier. Due to the fact the glacier is constantly moving, every day the route the guides take you on is different and they will spend the mornings picaxing stairs and paths to create a route for the day. For the rest of the day we made our way across the glacier, climbing up and down as well as crawling through some tunnels of ice here and there. The whole experience was completely surreal. Our last stretch back to the helicopter took us through a crevasse which meant there was the odd tight squeeze but eventually we made it back and got on our helicopters. I managed to grab a window seat on the way back so I got to see a lot more than I had on the way there, which just confirmed how amazing the views were. I would 100% recommend adding this to your bucket list ideas purely because 1) there’s only a limited time that we’ll be able to hike glaciers and 2) it is completely and utterly breathtaking.
Luckily a trip to the local hot springs was included with the heli-hike so it was the perfect way to unwind after a casual day of glacier walking. To top off a great day it was Pizza Party night at the bar on site which meant pizza every 10 minutes until you tell them to stop. Not a bad day at all really.
See you next time!
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