Choosing to Heli-Hike on Fox Glacier was a very easy decision to make, as we had never walked on a glacier nor ridden in a helicopter, so we were ready for the adventure.
Fox Glacier is one of the World’s most accessible glaciers and the helicopter ride offers stunning views of Mount Cook, so we couldn’t just turn this opportunity down, and it was worth every penny!
Glaciers are a natural phenomenon and it’s an amazing experience to walk on the surface, a large accumulation of many years of snow, transformed into ice. People must be extra careful walking on it, and we would not recommend doing it on your own. You MUST have a guide.
Glaciers are in constant motion and the ice that was formed thousands of years ago give in to gravity’s forces, slowly changes over time. It’s fascinating and we were thrilled to have learnt so much about it.
Our Heli-Hike Experience on Fox Glacier
Fox Glacier Guiding offers three different helicopter flights for the Flying Fox: Helihike Tour, we chose to fly in the morning at 08.50 am. (Please bear in mind we visited in March, so they might have different helicopter flights during winter). A Heli-Hike is a scenic helicopter flight and the chance of walking on a higher part of the glacier.
As we all gathered in their offices for a safety briefing, everyone looked very excited but nervous, surely no one knew what to expect.
The fact that we didn’t know much about glaciers, apart from they are huge and it’s a lot of ice, made us think that we were about to experience something out of this world.
The weather was good, visibility was clear and we were ready to go.
If you look closer, you will be able to see two other groups in the picture. Yes, this is how big it actually is!
Crampons – check
Walking Poles – check
…we were R-E-A-D-Y!
Stomping around the ice with the crampons was exciting, we just had to be careful not to slip.
Look at us, we looked like pros!
And then we began climbing.
Making our way further up the glacier, over icefalls and crevasses, the top became more distant. After an hour of hiking, looked like we were doing no progress at all, and it wasn’t until halfway through the hike that we realised just how big it was.
It’s amazing how many different shapes the ice makes. The glacier looked smooth and dimensional from the landing area but once we started hiking up, we could see a whole different landscape full of holes and crevasses.
Grey, white, blue, turquoise…the ice just seemed to change its colour every time a cloud passed by.
How much does the Heli Hike Day Trip Cost?
The experience was unbelievable! This is something that we would recommend to anyone if they ever get a chance. Yes, it is way over a backpacker’s budget, and at NZD$399/USD$285/GBP£215 per person it does not come cheap, but if you are willing to compromise on alcohol, eating out and cutting on those vices, you will be saved from disappointment.
The touching down onto the glacier is a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed, and you only live once, so you better make the most of it while you can.
The combination of a scenic flight, exploring ice caves and walking on a glacier meant so much to us.
Now that is something from our bucket list done!
Note: There are only two places that offer the Glacier Tours, at Fox Glacier Guiding or Franz Josef Glacier Guides. We opted to go with Fox Glacier Guiding. No particular reason, we just came across their page first and read only good reviews on TripAdvisor.
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We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.
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