Friday 25th March - Franz Josef

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March 24th 2011
Published: March 25th 2011
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Set off at around 09:00, I was busy catching up with my Blog .The previous evening I had difficulties downloading my photographs.
Despite all the forecasts it is a blue sky and the sun is shining although a little chilly in the morning.
It is a straight run along the coastal road highway 6 to Franz Josef of about 177 km and should take us around 3 hours.

We have just had a cup of coffee/tea before setting off, so it is not long before we start to feel hungry. We pull in at a small ex-Mining Town called Ross. Its claim to fame is that the largest gold nugget in NZ was found there, named the “Honorable Roddy”. The restaurant where we had breakfast was called Roddy Nugget Café and Bar. We get a huge breakfast that neither of us can finish, we even got fried onions –with breakfast!?

We reach the campsite at around 13;00 and check-in. We find out that we can get a helicopter ride over the Glacier at around 15:00. With the forecast for the weather to close in, we decide to take the flight. Today. This will also free up another day, so instead of staying two days in Franz Josef we will head off to Queenstown tomorrow.

We have a couple of hours to kill, we have a beer and sit outside in the sunshine.

We are picked up at three and taken to the helicopter. It is parked next to the guy’s house on a wooden plinth next to his allotment. It is a 4 seat McDonald Douglas. It is a lot different than the Super Puma’s that I have been in before. You really get a real sense of flying. We are sat up front next to the pilot and get some great views of the glacier. I take photographs whilst Di shot a video.
The flight lasted for about 30 minutes and we landed on the glacier at 6000feet and had a walk around for a while

We got a lift back to the campsite and spent the rest of the day chilling. The sun disappeared and it clouded over, but still no rain. Tomorrow we head for Queenstown. We may spend 3 days there and have one full day coach trip to Millford Sound - At least that is the plan!

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