Stood atop the Franz Josef Glacier this is the view of the Minarets Mountain range. I believe we might have landed on either the Geikie or Chamberlin Snowfield. Either way we are looking south east towards New Zealand’s Southern Alps mountain range. This photo is a reminder to also capture a few camera phone photos in important spots so you have the GPS location to look back on at a later date.
A minute or two after we got out of our helicopter this second one came flying in. We were stood on Franz Josef Glacier. You can see the Tasman Sea to the left behind the helicopter. We were stood over 2000 metres above sea level. Back in 2013 I had booked a helicopter flight to this glacier. Staying in near back Fox Glacier township. The weather had other plans. It rained for a week. So much so it washed out a bridge on the west coast north of where we were. Needless to say my 2013 flight was cancelled. I’d been back up and down the South Island’s West Coast two or three times in the last 10 years. Finally in December 2022 I was able to get a clear day and got to land on a glacier.
The Crown Range Road is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular drives. Taken from the Crown Range Summit in July (mid winter). At 1076 metres above sea level the pass is the highest sealed road in New Zealand. As you can see it had snowed recently. The carpark was a bit of an ice rink but at least the road had been cleared and salted. From here we are looking south west along the very twisty road towards Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. The snow topped mountain on the left is Ben Cruachan. Part of the Remarkables Skifield and mountain range.
Just three miles south from the summit of The Nuns Veil mountain we touched down on the snow. Stepping out of the chopper into a foot of fresh show was increabile. From this viewpoint we had great views looking across at Tasman Lake and Mount Cook on the other side of the valley. Until recently I had never been in a helicopter and it was a fantastic experience. It was like being in a small plane that moved more like a roller coaster.