Steve's Antarctica Trip travel blog

Approaching Fox Glacier in a Eurocopter Squirrel helicopter

Looking up Fox Glacier neve and other tourists

Into the unknown - an ice tunnel

A blue ice tunnel

Helicopter transport


Got on a glacier trip. Many others had been waiting days and extending their stay in the area. The guides reckon we got the best day of the month to do a heli-hike. After the weather yesterday and the rain overnight it was unexpected to wake up to bright sunlight, only 6mm of rain overnight against an annual total of 5m. The weather man had front after rainy front coming thru - they blame Australia for the warm water.

The chopper ride up the glacier was brief, probably only 5 minutes and the did a quick loop over some higher up ice and across the front of a waterfall, it was hard to gauge the size of the mountain, we were about 2500ft up. They landed us on the ice glacier, reasonably hard packed under foot. They gave us crampons which made our footings more solid. As it had snowed over the past few days some of their trails had been snowed over, so our guide, Cornelia, had to use a pick to cut new steps for us. Where we were, possibly three quarters of the way up to the neve, where the glacier forms, the pressure ridges going up and down were generally 2m but may have dropped down 5m in some places, not at all flat. Overall the sizes of the features were enormous. The guide found us an ice tunnel and a big blue ice cave. Overall we only ventured 500m from the

helipad in a 2 hour walk. The weather closed in a bit as we raced back to the heliport in about 15 minutes. The cloud stayed high enough to get the choppers in and it did snow, fairly large and heavy chunks for a little while. Back down the bottom of the hill the weather was fine and sunny and you could look back up the valley to the clouds and think of how the weather and sunshine had closed in for the next shift of tourists.

Fox Glacier to Queenstown

Drove out of the Fox Glacier township in the rain. It continued until I crossed the alps of the south island and then it was fine. Many large lakes with not a boat on them. What a waste. At least here in Queenstown they have an old America's Cup yacht for the tourists but still aren't making much use of the lakes up here. Plenty of aluminium boats with jet drives on trailers though, don't know where they use them either.

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