One of the highlights of going to New Zealand is the must-do Franz Josef Glacier tour. What’s cooler than cool? Strapping on cramp-ons and exploring ice. For our tour we went with Franz Joseph Glacier Guides. It was great! Got in a helicopter and landed at the base of the glacier. Then worked our way up on foot. Some people choose to skip the helicopter and walk all the way from the ground. But you often spend a lot more time walking to the glacier then actually being on the glacier due to time constraints. Taking the helicopter option meant we had more time on the ice and weren’t rushed. We didn’t go all the way to the top because it gets progressively dangerous the closer you get to the rock walls. While we were up there we saw some rocks and ice fall away from the walls, therefore best not to get too close!
The ice was also super sharp and stabby in some parts. They give you mittens, but if I had my chance again I would have bought some waterproof gloves just to protect myself from those blades of ice. It was really magical but also bizarre walking around on the glacier. The cramp-ons on our boots made the ground powdery, like snow. But when you picked up the “snow” it was crushed ice. And the realisation that you were actually standing on a gigantic block of ice was really trippy. The glacier is constantly changing, based on the weather. The guides go around ensuring the path is safe everyday but if there’s been bad weather, then it’s highly likely the path from the prior day has been washed way and a new path needs to be made.
Definitely recommend visiting Franz Josef Glacier! The only downside was that the waterproof jacket I was given smelled like sweat. *wrinkles nose* So if you’re not into smelling like someone else’s sweat, then wear your own waterproof jacket and it’ll be all good!