March 26, 2005
Jody writes:

See our Fox Glacier photos.
See our Milford Sound photos.

Amy and I treated ourselves to a heli-hike at the Fox Glacier - the cheaper option meant more walking and lesser scenery, so like a couple of snobs we flew to where the ice was pure.

It was the first time we'd been in a helicopter and the experience was strange at first. It felt more like being in a lift than in a plane. I've never been a bad flyer, but I'll admit that a sense of impending doom stuck with me for the journey to the top of the mountain - especially when the craft banked at mad angles. The crazy logistics of how a helicopter actually works doesn't really pass ones mind until you first take off in one. Then the realisation hits you that the only thing keeping the tin box you're in airbourne is a bunch of silly spinning blades.

At least if the engines failed in a plane the craft could glide until the pilot found a giant mattress to crash land on, but a helicopter experiencing engine failure would just drop straight out of the sky like a sparrow having a heart attack. Initial thoughts aside, the flight was fast, scenic and a real kick.

The glacier itself was as you'd imagine - a vast stretch of blue/white ice, supporting hills, caves, tunnels, streams and ponds. The area was beautiful and at points terrifying - we walked alongside deep drops onto steely-hard ice, or worse still, chasms filled with ice-cold water that plunged so deep into the glacier that it appeared bottomless.

It was a great experience and we're glad we flew to the top of the mountain, rather than climbing - we had a tough enough job keeping our balance on slight hills, so climbing would have been a nightmare.

After Fox we took the bus to the small town of Wanaka, which was also beautiful (are you noticing a theme yet?). While there we visited a kooky little place called the Paradiso Cinema - legend has it that the locals clubbed together to build a cinema but had run out of cash when it came to furnishing the place, so they were forced to fit the interior with second-hand armchairs, sofas, lazy-boys and even a Morris Minor. Amy and I opted for a knackered old sofa. The experience was like watching a film in someone's living room (with 100 other people, also slouched in loungers). The food was bloody great there too - cookies as big as yer 'ead. See a photo I took of the Paradiso cinema.

The weather was terrible when we went to Milford Sound yesterday. The place is arguably said to be the most beautiful place in New Zealand, but all we saw was fog on our two-hour boat trip. At first I thought the weather was a blessing in disguise - the rainfall had given life to a number of waterfalls that are normally dry, but no, it was too bloody foggy to see anything. You win some, you lose some - at least it wasn't raining when we were slipping about on the glacier.

We're currently in Queenstown (again, beautiful), but fly back to Auckland tomorrow for a week of panic-buying and Spanish revision before we head to South America on April 4.

posted at 4:23 PM | link


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Jody and Amy have finished their 10 month adventure around the world, that began Nov 2, 2004, and ended Sep 2, 2005. They're back home in London now, doing normal things, like going to work and drinking tap water. You can see a map of what was their planned route, but we didn't quite follow it.
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