Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers // Pure Awesome // New Zealand

One of the highlights of our trip was visiting the Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers. Our initial plan was to hike to the base of Franz Joseph and move on, but the hike we had intended to do was closed…so once we started talking about taking a helicopter to fly over and land on the glacier we couldn’t get the idea out of our heads …and it was SO worth it! The perspective from the air was spiritual. I know it’s a bit tacky to describe a glacier flight as majestic, but is MAJESTIC! Seeing the size of these glaciers reminds you how small and insignificant we are. And the tiny, six person helicopter that we flew in really put in perspective just how massive these glaciers and the valleys below are. The weather was dicey the day we did our glacier hike so no helicopters were flying; we ended up putting our trip on hold for the day in hopes that we could get into the air first thing the following morning. We were thrilled when that was the case!

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Walking to Franz Joseph on a dreary day.
A shot of Franz hidden beneath some clouds.
A shot of Franz hidden beneath some clouds.
A part of the glacier closer to the hiking path.
A part of the glacier closer to the hiking path.
That unreal, glacial blue.
That unreal, glacial blue.
Contrasting red and green rocks lined the hiking path.
Contrasting red and green rocks lined the hiking path.
Us by some of the stunning waterfalls along the way.
Us by some of the stunning waterfalls along the way.
Time to fly! Headed to Franz Joseph from the sky!
Time to fly! Headed to Franz Joseph from the sky!
Getting closer!
Getting closer!
Not believing our eyes. The scale! The purity of the snow and ice!
Not believing our eyes. The sheer size of these glaciers was incredible.
The view from above was astounding.
The view from above was astounding.
More crazy ice/snow formations.
More crazy ice/snow formations.
Frosting glacier.
So many different forms of snow and ice.
Heading down Fox glacier.
Heading down Fox glacier.
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On top of Fox Glacier with our helicopter!
A final shot of a startlingly blue river before calling it a day, giddy with excitement.
Flying out of the Fox glacier valley over a startling blue river.

We would love to do this again. It is terribly sad to see the glaciers receding and can only imagine what these massive valleys looked like filled with ice. Only 100 years ago the valleys in these photos were completely covered. It was mind boggling to see how much the glaciers had retreated in even the last decade. Without a doubt, seeing a glacier and riding in a helicopter were both bucket list items for Jaime – what an amazing way to experience two firsts!

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