13.04.2007 - 14.04.2007 18 °C
For the Fox Glacier the good weather was back on our side again and it started with a fantastic morning and I quickly booked my Mum and myself on the Heli-Hike for the Fox Glacier and Antje decided to do the half day walking tour.
We drove for a couple of hours through amazing scenary which looked even more spectacular thanks to the great weather. Rainforest, mountains, of which some were still covered with snow, and the really rough Tasman Sea. What a view.
We were quite lucky as a couple of people didn't show up, so we could get already on to an earlier tour which started at 12pm.
Before we went on to the tour we walked around Lake Matheson which is famous for refelcting the mountains and glacier. A great walk around the lake with more stunning views.
The helicopter flight was great although quite short. I just love flying helicopther. I have only done it twice but there is something so special to it.... it's just an amazing feeling!
We landed directly on the ice! Spectacular! Ice everywhere, hence a glacier...:-), and we had to wear proper ice crampons around our leather boots and had a walking stick, or whatever you call them in mountaineering language...;-)
We walked along fantastic caves,wholes,crevasses, little lakes and rivers. Amazing how blue ice can be. It looked so pretty. We found a whole that was so deep even our tour guide said that in her 5 years working there it's the deepest she has ever found and told the other guides about it straight away. She kept throwing ice blocks into it to establish how deep it was. The noise just went on for ever... incredible. A person would have fittted into that quite easily too and we were just climbing over it. Again, health and safety is taken slightly more relaxed here. They have the same thing as in Australia and just make you sign a disclaimer saying they don't take any responsibility if you die. That jlaw doesn't exist in the UK or Germany. Companies there can't just make you sign such a paper... but I am glad they do it here, otherwise I would have never seen a glacier from that perspective...
The Flox Glacier is still growing and the global warming acutally helps it, as more and more water goes up in the air (from the sea in Australia) which then rains/snows down on the two glaciers. It really was another incredible experience to see a glacier like that. Slightly different when you just ski on it like I have usually done.
After 3 hours in the ice it got quite cold though, so we went to Cafe Neve which was recommened by the Swedish jeweller we met in Queenstown and they indeed had fabulous hot chocolate. As we still had to wait for Antje a couple of hours and were freezing we decided to stop for a quick glas of red wine in the only pub there called the Saloon. A really nice cosy pub with a big fire, which was just the perfect sitting after being in the ice. One glas turned into 5, what a surprise eh??, we met a really nice photographer from Oxford.
We then had dinner at Cafe Neve which was absolutely fantastic and a great recommendation from the Swede. I did have trouble remembering what I actually ate but I knew it was good! :-) It was such a funny evening though....
As went to bed really early we felt okay the next morning and got up early.
In georgeous sunshine we drove along the west coast and stopped at Franz Josef Glacier. From there we went for a nice 3 hour walk in Okarito. The first half was through rainforest which was leading to a lagoon and the second half along the black beach which the really rough Tasman Sea. Completely different and very beautiful. I don't think you can acutally swim in the sea there, as it's too rough and most of the time probably too cold too.
We stopped in Greymouth and are going to Shantytown tomorrow morning.