Glacier Hiking

Today was the day of our “splurge” activity: we paid $149 each for an all-day glacier hike on Fox Glacier. Activities in NZ tend to be pretty expensive ($200 for a tandem skydive, for example; and it’s all over in about a minute) so we decided we could do just one expensive activity. When we were planning to go to Milford Sound, we thought we’d take a scenic cruise, but that has since been nixed from the itinerary so we decided instead to do a glacier hike. It’s pricey, yes; but we felt it offered the most bang for our buck, since it was an all-day experience. There are only two companies running glacier hikes: one for Franz Josef and one for Fox Glacier. Our friend’s dad recommended Franz Josef Glacier Guides, based on a great half-day hike he had done. However, the tours were slightly cheaper on Fox, so we settled on Fox Glacier Guiding. It took about seven hours from departure to return, and four and a half hours were spent on the ice. Everything was included: waterproof jackets, hats, mittens, thick socks, hiking boots, crampons for walking on ice, backpacks (but not lunch!) Our guide was excellent, which always helps. It is possible to drive to a nearby carpark and simply walk to a viewing platform, but I would recommend taking the tour. It’s so different from anything I have ever done and it’s impossible to appreciate the scale until you’re actually walking on the glacier.

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