So if you have a bucket list, grab a pen and write at the top of it – I MUST STEP FOOT ON A GLACIER! Because this experience was just so amazing, that every person should get the opportunity to experience it – see nature at its finest!
This was a special experience for us, Josh had just been away with the Army for three weeks so I (Sophie) decided to surprise him on his return with an adventurous weekend away! I had the car packed up and ready to go and soon we were heading off on our adventure.
Josh had no idea what we were doing, I don’t even think he clocked when we saw the Glacier itself. But soon enough we were well briefed, geared and stood at the helicopter pad extremely excited to go!
This was an experience in itself. We flew through the most beautiful valleys enjoying spectacular views, we passed incredible waterfalls and saw the glacier and its fierce ice sculptures. It was an amazing experience in itself, but then we landed…
On the ice
We landed on the ice and straight away had to duck and cover from the ice spray from the helicopters rotor blades. Our tour guides greeted us and showed us how to put on our crampons and we were off.
Our guides soon explained that the Fox Glacier is a river of ice that is an incredible 12km long. And in the remote area of the Glacier there are beautiful natural ice caves, crevices and arches which they would love to show us. They warned that the glacier changes daily so to bare this in mind, as what they saw yesterday may not be here today – so for them it is as much of an adventure as it was for us.
We walked for roughly three hours stopping in numerous locations. There were incredibly powerful waterfalls and crazy deep crevices. We even managed to walk through one – it was a tight squeeze to say the least.
There was a tiny cave we came across and once our guide deemed it safe we were all able to pull ourselves through it with a rope. We were on our backs and our noses pretty much touched the top of the cave.
Throughout the trek our tour guide had to stop on numerous occasions to clear the ice with his axe in order for us to pass. He would check crevices and we could either go through, around it or take a different route. The fact that we were guided in this manner made the trip feel unique and exciting. We did a route that potentially no one has done before or will do again.
With a group of just 8 people it was very intimate and we all had the opportunity to ask questions, take heaps of photos and get to know the environment in the best way possible.
TOP TIP – We drunk the most refreshing glacier walker – be sure to bring an empty bottle up there with you.
Fox Glacier Guides
The Fox Glacier Guides are New Zealand’s most experienced glacier guidance company and its easy to see why! We went for the Flying Fox Glacier Guide and were so glad we did. You may notice Franz Josef Glacier guides are in a more central location. However they cancelled on me twice with no notice on previous occasions with a huge delay on getting a refund. Therefore personally I would not recommend using them.
What to bring
We were advised to bring 3-4 thin upper body layers, no jeans as these would get too wet so we both went for shorts. Waterproofs, thick socks, boots and crampons were provided. We brought a day pack with us holding water, a few snacks, hats and our Go Pro.