The Glaciers – Fox and Franz Josef

Since the weather was so bad and I was tiered I didn´t stop very often on my way. I only looked at the waterfall at Thunder CreekIMAG3015 (FILEminimizer) and at the Knights Point Lookout.

There I also made a short lunch break with the leftovers from yesterday. Around 3 pm I arrived at my hostel the Ivory Towers in Fox Glacier. The dorms there are nothing special but the kitchen and the common areas are nice and they have a free spa and infrared sauna. And the wall is full of nice quotes and stuff.

After a nap and a short trip to the general store I tried out the sauna. I had a quiet night that day and did some administrative stuff. Next morning I got up rather early. The weather was a lot better than the day before. Although there still was quite a lot of fog I decided to try to go to Lake Matheson. The sun came out on my way to there and so the fog was gone pretty soon. Perfect! I did the Lake Matheson Walk (6 km, 1.5h return) and got super lucky to arrive just in time to see the reflection on the lake before the wind picked up and disturbed the water surface too much.

After the walk I drove to Franz Josef. I picked up an Italian girl named Laura shortly after the lake who hitchhiked. I had booked a helicopter flight with the Helicopter Line in Franz Josef at noon. Funny enough she had also booked a flight at the same time, but another company and plane. When we both had found our check in we had a coffee together.IMAG3030 (FILEminimizer) I was super excited; it was my very first helicopter flight ever! I was in the helicopter with Horse – the pilot and an Indian couple. I was allowed to sit in front next to the pilot. We just started the flight when a warning light came on. So we had to change plans a bit and flew to the hangar where we left our helicopter and entered a new one. Interesting detour! Then we were finally on our way to the Franz Josef Glacier. The flight was just amazing! Those views of the glacier from the top are incredibly beautiful and we also landed on the glacier and could get out of the helicopter.

I also made a video of part of the flight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO0K87E4jjA&feature=share

Safely back on the ground I went again to the Full of Beans to have some lunch. I ate a Kiwi Burger, sat there for a while writing in my journal and looking at the walks I wanted to do next. I did the Sentinel Rock Walk (20 min return). It is frightening how much the glacier receded in the last 200 years.IMG_5997 (FILEminimizer) I drove back to Fox Glacier picking up another hitchhiker – this time a German girl. I had to fill up the car since the light was already on. Petrol at the glaciers is very expensive with $2.26. So I only put in a few liters in order to make it to Hokitika the next day. I did the Fox Glacier Valley Walk (1h return). I had the feeling the Fox Glacier receded even more than the Franz Josef. 11 years ago I have been walking on the glacier there.

Back to the hostel I did a little workout and stretching, had a snack and then went into the sauna again. I decided to have another quiet and chill evening and went into the TV room of the hostel, watching some TV while lying on the couch before going to bed. The next morning I checked out and was on my way to Hokitika. The glaciers are just beautiful, you shouldn´t miss them if you travel the south island of New Zealand!

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