Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Franz Josef and Fox

We spent two nights in the little town of Franz Josef.

After trying my first snakebite (1/2 cider, 1/2 beer) at the Snakebite brewery, we walked to the Franz Josef glacier. The path is an easy stroll through the exposed river bed that follows the retreating glacier. It's incredible to see how quickly this glacier is moving up the mountains.

Franz Josef glacier and Fox glacier are two of three glaciers in the entire world which fall into a rainforest zone (the other is in Patagonia), which makes these glaciers very special to New Zealand and gives them World Heritage status.

My partner's cousin works the desk for heli-tours and was able to schedule us in for a scenic flight and an ATV tour run by Across Country Quad Bikes the next day.

My first time on a helicopter - I was buzzing with adrenaline and couldn't recommend more! We were lucky to fly during a small window of time when the clouds had cleared for a bluebird flight.

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Shortly after, the clouds rolled in and lingered at the base of the mountains... not great conditions for flying, but completely acceptable for some quad-biking!

The tour operator and owner is a Franz Josef local whose family has been in the area for 6 generations. She's completely charming and had some great intel to share on the region (like why the rocks are pink, paradise ducks' romance, and the Maori legend of the Franz Josef glacier).

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