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Forests, Glaciers and Icy Frolics


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17 - 18 Feb

17 Feb
Tantalising glimpses of Mount Cook this morning and after a hearty breakfast at the cafe (this is our only accommodation without breakfast), we set off on a 1.5 hour walk (or so I thought).  Instead, we spent the day trekking through rainforest to a number of Fox Glacier viewpoints, one of which was close to the terminal face of the glacier.  Views were excellent - the sheer size visible by watching the guided parties as dots walking up the glacier field, and we returned to enjoy a drink in the local 'saloon'. We'd have liked a helicopter trip to view the glacier and Mt Cook summit but the extensive cloud cover meant we'd missed our chance.

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18 Feb
Yet more tantalising glimpses of Mount Cook this morning but cloud looks more widespread than yesterday morning. We started packing before the 5 hour drive to Queenstown when we noticed that more of the snowy mountain tops were visible. Could this be a last minute chance of a heli trip? One quick call from our motel manager & we were booked on the 10 am flight. And what a flight. Along with 4 other passengers, our pilot Sam took us straight up into clear the blue sky to the top of the Franz Josef Glacier for a landing and 10 minute frolic on the ice, then on to fly around the summit of Mts Cook & Tasman and down the full length of Fox Glacier before landing. And, after unsuccessfully trying to persuade the next flight's waiting passengers that it was a waste of money and they should give us their tickets, we finally left for Queenstown. But what a start to the day! A truly unforgettable experience, especially after having written off the idea the day before.

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Posted by ChrisMWilk 23:13 Archived in New Zealand

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