A vast sea of blue ice stands beneath us, with traversal crevasses running through them like cracks on the Earth’s crust. The chunky blocks of ice look almost like lego pieces jutting out from a frozen mountain that extends all the way from the top of the mountains to the valley beneath. I am flying over Franz Josef Glacier on a six-seat helicopter, swerving just a few feet above the imposing mountain of ice, and the views are just outrageously stunning.
I’ve seen several glaciers in my life from those in Alaska to Antarctica, but this – the Franz Josef Glacier – is definitely the most beautiful one I’ve ever set my eyes on. The world famous glacier is located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park on South Island, New Zealand. Together with the Fox Glacier, it is unique in descending from the Southern Alps to less than 300 metres (980 ft) above sea level, amidst the greenery and lushness of a temperate rainforest.
I will be writing all about my experience heli-hiking on the glacier, but in the meantime, here’s a short video I took from the helicopter.