We were debating between two heli hikes whilst we were on the South Island. One in Franz Joseph and the other at Mount Cook. We ended up going with Mount Cook as we had heard from a number of people that the glacier at Franz Joseph had been massively reduced as a result of global warming.
Of course the Tasman glacier has also been massively reduced as a result of the planets rising temperatures, but the glacier was still breathtaking. Most of the time these types of trips are difficult to do as they are so reliant on good weather conditions to be able to run at all. No one wants to be stranded up a glacier without being able to get back to safety.
The knowledge from the guide isn’t the only reason to do this particular heli hike either. On this glacier you can hear the rush of water beneath your feet. The ice that has melted is running down under the surface ice and creating caves that are forever changing and some of which you can explore. Going into a ice cave fully was something I have never done before and the novelty of the experience will make it something that remains a highlight of the New Zealand trip.
After exploring an ice cave we went to the ‘fountain of youth’. To fill up our bottles directly from the glacier itself. Honesty you cannot compare that water with anything. It was twice as delicious than any other water I have had. I know what your thinking, how can water taste so different from one another? To be honest, I have no idea but it was incredible. The guy who was taking us around swears that glacier water is the reason why he no longer gets sick. It’s the only water he drinks and if I could I would too.
Hooker Valley trail
After our adventure up on the glacier we decided to make the most of our time in the village and do a small hike. A three hour track along the valley floor to see Mt. Cook at the far end. This valley was the next one along from the valley with the Tasman glacier in so we got to see Mt Cook from both sides of the mountain ridge that it sits on. We went on a really beautiful sunny day which made the walk so much nicer to be on. After all most hikes are much better with a little bit of sunshine on your back.