We love traveling because it generates the perfect conditions for having unique experiences. This is what happened in Didac’s trip to New Zealand.
If I met an alien and it asks me to show the Earth in just three weeks I would take it to New Zealand. The reason is that it is a country where you can find active volcanoes, incredible high mountains, sand deserts, jungle, glaciers, fiords, beautiful villages, a mix of cultures… everything! Traveling to New Zealand is like traveling to the five continents.
I traveled to New Zealand and rented a campervan for three weeks. I started in Christchurch, did a round route through the South Island and then crossed the Cook Strait towards the North Island. As you can imagine I cannot explain all my experiences in just one post, so I will explain just one amazing experience that everyone should do at least once in a lifetime: taking an helicopter to a high point of Franz Joseph Glacier and then start an unforgettable hike through the blue ice.
We took the helicopter in Franz Joseph Glacier town, which is in the lowest part of the glacier. Although from here you cannot see the ice, it is quite close and you can get there in two minutes driving. This is a special glacier because it grows thanks to the snow in the highest peaks of New Zealand Alpine mountains and the lowest part is almost at the sea level. However, if you want to enjoy, touch and lick blue ice you should take an heli flight to a high point of the glacier where the air is purer.
Once on the ice we put our crampons in our feet and started our hike through dreamy landscapes guided by two Maori. A glacier has never the same shape, it is continuously moving, creating new caves, new walls, new paths. This constant change makes a trip in a glacier a bit dangerous, this is why you should never go alone but always with a guide who knows how to read and listen to the ice. Like a living creature that can hurt you, you need to respect it. If you do so, then you just need to do one more thing: enjoy!
The two maori guides made us feel like small penguins walking alone the immensity of an ice desert. They were using their axes and picks to open new ways through the ice for us. Every few minutes they stopped and looked for the best path to follow towards the bowels of the Franz Joseph glacier, always looking for the most secure and beautiful experience.
You need to know that being in a glacier is like being in a labyrinth that is going to change the gates and walls when you don’t expect. And this is what happened to us. A rock avalanche fell from the mountain walls and hit the glacier quite close where we were. The guides decided to change the way and we couldn’t come to the helicopter using the same path. New conditions, new decisions, new ways. Maybe this would be the philosophical learning. And sometimes new ways are funnier and this was the case. Look at me:
Natural slides, stairs, rooms, chairs and tables can be found and you can use these presents that Fanz Joseph Glacier gives to you to eat a snack or have fun with your travel partners.
If you have never traveled by helicopter, if you have never hiked in a glacier, if you have never seen blue ice, then you need to know that this is an activity that you will remember for your entire life. And why not doing this in New Zealand, the land of adventure?
Unfortunately this kind of landscape is disappearing from our world. Climate change is making most of the glaciers of the planet to go back and the ice is less white or blue because of the pollutants in the air. Like some islands in the Pacific Ocean, glaciers are in danger and travelers only have two options: to go there now and take care of them for the future generations.