Walking on Glaciers – Fox Glacier
Part two in the extra special – I still can’t believe this happened – series of ‘Walking on Glaciers” (I kind of feel like this should be a TV series? In my head its a narration anyway) and this one is about the really special, Fox Glacier.
I’m going to be completely transparent in this post.
As I explained in my previous post my adventures are often a mixture of chance and opportunity. This trip was an incredible opportunity which stemmed from a pretty awesome job interview. It also came about by chance, because the roads were closed I ‘had’ to stay an extra day and so had time to go on the Heli-hike.
So lucky me, I was hosted on an incredible Heli-Hike onto Fox Glacier!
Fox Glacier Heli Hike
It seemed as though the ice was perfectly carved for me, allowing me passage to explore, but it’s completely natural. What I walk through and explore today, may not be possible the next. It all sounded surreal, was I on a different planet?
Flying onto the Glacier the views were incredible, jaw dropping and awe-inspiring. Part of me was nervous the same incredible feeling I had the first time wouldn’t happen this time round. But I was wrong. In fact, I could argue the feeling was even better.
Heli Hiking on Fox Glacier was an experience that began with me sliding my way 200 metres to the Glacier Guiding Centre. It was an icy 830am start. I was praying the weather was on my side for a go ahead for flying today.
It was. YAY.
Getting our boots on it was time to head out to the Helicopter. – yup that simple – The great thing about Fox Glacier Guides is that you don’t have to get dressed up in a flashy outfit they provide if you don’t want to. As long as you turn up with suitable Pants on (not jeans), warm enough and a good bag if you are bringing things onto the glacier (i.e. cameras, water) you are good to go. Of course they have waterproof pants and jackets available, but it’s pretty awesome you can dress cosy the way you want.
Before hopping on the helicopter you’ll be briefed on simple do’s and do nots on the glacier and the helicopter. – I felt this was taken a lot more seriously here at Fox than my previous experience, which was good. – which you know, it’s relatively straightforward and common sense.
Believe it or not, Fox Glacier Guides actually let you take Selfie Sticks onto the Glacier… Something I still don’t think is a great idea – mainly cause I hate them.
We rounded the bend of the mountain and the Glacier came into full view.
I couldn’t believe the beauty and sheer magnificence of the Glacier.
Even though it was my second Glacier and (technically) 3rd Helicopter ride. I was still just as nervous, excited and still awe-struck when the Glacier came into full view.
Your eyes really can’t process the sheer size and scale of the Glacier you are about to land on. It’s only once you see people on the surface on the Glacier, you truly realise the size and scale of what you are about to explore. – it also creates a kind of significance of how small you are in the world.
Natures powerful and magnificent creations are incredible.
Off the helicopter and onto the ice, it was time to get our Crampons on.
I’m not going to lie, even the process of putting on crampons makes me excited. – it made me even more happier because I had ‘experience’ on a Glacier before, I could help other people do theirs up.
Now it was off to explore. Literally.
The best thing about Heli Hiking on Fox Glacier?
The fact that the guides don’t follow an exact marked trail. They will take you different routes, carving the way as they go. They radio each other to ensure the caves are safe to slide through, shallow crevasses are safe to walk through and check up on previous routes.
That has to be the most exciting part.
It feels like an authentic off the beaten track experience.
The guides are so knowledgeable but super fun. They understand this is beyond a dream for many people and try to take it slow, allow plenty of time for pictures and answer the numerous questions (I’m sure they’ve been asked 100 times or more) with pleasantness and enthusiasm.
Winding and carving our way through the ice was incredible. Running my fingers along the soft, beautifully blended and carved out ice – almost as if someone hand come in a smoothed it out before my arrival – was just, indescribable.
I mean, how can nature make something so magnificently beautiful but so fleeting?
You round the bend and all of a sudden you are walking in a valley of ice surrounded by skyscrapers of ice. I had no words for this, it was honestly….. I can’t say a word for how it felt. It was as if i had been transported to another world. I felt like a dot, a tiny bug walking through blades of grass which appear tiny to me, but incredibly huge to the bug – I don’t know why I went with the bug reference, it just made sense.
Of course all adventures on the Glacier are unique ones.
The incredible thing about beautiful Fox Glacier – and all Glaciers for that matter – is the ever-changing paths. The knowledge that what you are walking on and exploring is moving and changing beneath you. That the footprints you leave behind may not be there tomorrow. In fact, the ice you walked on may not be there for someone else.
Fox Glacier Guiding truly set out to show you a unique experience.
You don’t feel herded on a tour or rushed along or like ‘another tour group, following another persons footsteps’ also you won’t be completely drowned in information either.
Fox Glacier Guiding have been taking people onto the Glacier for almost 100 years. Yet you will find that they are not massively crowded. They don’t give host to every tour company in the country, it has a real small town traditional Kiwi feel. They all take their jobs incredibly seriously, with a huge amount of passion.
The HeliHike is worth the money if you have it to spare on your New Zealand adventures. It is an experience, out of this world. I truly hope that if you weren’t already planning a visit you now are.
Thank you! To the amazing guys for an incredible adventure, I loved every minute of it.
Yes, I was hosted on this incredible HeliHike with Fox Glacier Guiding, however, all opinions here are completely my own. I would never speak positively about an experience if I didn’t think it was one. If I was to return on a different basis I would 100% pay the money to do another HeliHike.
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