There was no doubt that the weather was getting noticeably colder the further south we traveled. We headed on our way to Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers where our aim was to do a glacier hike.
On our way down the coast we stopped off at a town called Hokitika for a look around. This was a lovely town with lots of little craft stores, cool shops and cafés. To warm ourselves from the chilly weather we got a hot chocolate from a fantastic café called Stella’s on the Main Street. Every hot chocolate we had gotten so far on the trip was better than the last and this was no exception. I have to say though that Stella’s hot chocolate had to be the nicest in the whole of New Zealand, the marshmallows melted at such a rate that it gave the chocolate a yummy bubblegum flavour.
Although we stayed in Franz Joseph, the heli-hike we did was on Fox Glacier, about 25 minutes further down the coast. We gave ourselves plenty time to get down there as we wanted to visit Lake Matheson, one of the most beautiful lakes in NewZealand, known for its incredible reflection of the surrounding snow topped mountains. After a short walk we arrived at the lake, and were grateful if the calm weather as we admired the stunning reflections in the still water.
Fox Glacier heli-hike was an amazing experience which included a helicopter ride up to the glacier and a trek around on the ice. We were kitted out with waterproof jackets, hats and special hiking boots on which crampons were fitted when we arrived on the glacier. The journey up to the ice was brilliant and we saw some amazing views out of the helicopter. After we landed, we strapped on the crampons and followed our guide around on the surface of the glacier, learning about its history and checking out ice caverns and streams of clear ice cold water that seemed to spring out of nowhere. One of the most enjoyable parts of the ice trek was when we entered a cave at one end, sat on our bums and literally skid down through the tunnel and out the other end – an ice slide of sorts!
The helicopter picked us up at the end of our day and we were returned to the base of the mountain. Feeling a bit chilly after our day on the glacier we opted for a hot chocolate from Nève, a café in Fox Glacier. Although not as nice as the hot chocolate from Stella’s in Hokitika, it was still very welcome. Keeping with the ‘ice theme’ we went the the Ice Bar that evening in Franz Joseph for a few GnTs to relax after our adventurous day.