Flying high above the rainforest and icy-blue tongues of NZ’s Franz Josef glacier in a helicopter was one of our most exciting adventures; however, it only lasted a total of ten minutes. To us, this seemed more like a tease than a satisfaction and we both considered looking into another heli-ride in Glacier Country. As fate would have it, the very next day we passed by a simple sign on a windy road that read: SCENIC FLIGHTS. We were just outside of Franz Josef (the town of) and had a long day of driving ahead of us, but we turned the van around and followed the gravel road to its end. Arriving at a small cabin situated along side a heli-pad, we contemplated the options; spending an arm and leg for the longest flight the company offered, which lasted 40 minutes and included a snow landing, seemed unreasonable (heck, as far as we were concerned we could hop a flight to Australia for just as much!). As we stood in the parking lot, we noticed a couple waiting to go on their flight – we would later learn that they had chosen the longest, most expensive option. Luckily for us, the boss-man decided he wanted a full-flight before he gave the pilot the OK to fly! With no one else in line (and no one else in sight) we WOLOed our way into a deal (paying for a cheaper flight, but getting the longer one) and ten minutes later we were off!
On our way to the glacial landing we took the backseat, spending most of the flight gawking out our respective windows at NZ’s highest peaks! When the chopper landed on the very top of Fox Glacier we were the only five people in NZ up there (weather conditions in nearby regions created flying restrictions for all other companies). It was incredible and sort of felt like we were part of a National Geographic film crew or were really important research scientists (we wish)!
On the way back, we had the front seats from which we captured moment after moment of pure NZ beauty – white puffy clouds, bright blue skies, snow-covered mountain peaks, towering glacial crevasses, milky blue rivers, and bright green treetops!
Next stop: Motukiekie & Punakaiki
Song lyrics: John Legend “So High”
– Go. Change your state of mind.