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Day 28 and 29 - Heli-Hike on Fox Glacier

NEW ZEALAND | Friday, 26 November 2010 | Views [1365]

In an ice cave, Fox Glacier

In an ice cave, Fox Glacier

We left Wanaka and drove north over the Haast Pass toward Fox Glacier and Fanz Josef Glacier.  On the way, we stopped at a couple of scenic spots in the Mt. Aspiring National Park.  We spent the night at a small hotel near Fox Glacier, concerned about the socked-in clouds and fog, but hopeful because the forecast said the next day would be clear.  Sure enough, we awoke to blue skies and got on board a small helicopter (six passengers plus pilot).  He dropped us on Fox Glacier, where we walked around for about three hours, sticking our heads in caves, and learning a lot about glaciers from our guide.  We had crampons on our feet (spikes strapped under our soles), and walking poles, so slipping was minimal.  It was also a bright sunny day, so the temperature was actually quite pleasant.  The amount of water running across the face of the glacier was very impressive, but the size of the ice flow is so huge that any melting on any one day doesn't have much impact.  The mountains in this area receive about 70 to 80 meters (yes, meters!) of snowfall every year.  That makes for a daily movement rate of the glacier of about four to 5 meters!  After our glacier walk, we drove on to spend the night near Greymouth, where the 29 miners just died.  Just that morning, our landlady had said goodbye to eight police officers she had been housing and feeding since the incident began.  We had a very good meal (steak for Anita and pork belly for Vinnie -yummy!), and a good sleep before a final drive to Christchurch on the other coast.


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