We had missed out on taking a flight to Franz Joseph on two occasions, and so, when the opportunity arose to fly to Milford Sound and back, we jumped at it.
Flying out over Queenstown, itself, is wonderful, because it is such a pretty area, but once we got away from Queenstown is when the adventure really began. Initially, we pointed out every glimpse of snow that we saw (given this is summer), but then we came upon the glacier, and our jaws dropped. We had seen them before in other countries, and we have walked on the Athabascar (sp?) Glacier in Canada, but the thrill and majesty of them never seems to go away! Plus, as we rose alongside and up above the glacier, the cracks and fissures viewed sideways looked as though we were looking at stalactites and stalagmites, except they were made of blue ice. We made three landings, of which one was on a glacier, where we were surrounded by ice, and another where there were wonderful views of lakes. The vegetation that survives in these harsh conditions is fascinating. And then we flew to Milford Sound and flew around it so that we could see it from different vantages, and finally landed and looked down at it. Although we visited Milford Sound the “normal” way a couple of days later, this was a unique experience.
Queenstown Helicopters is a class operation, from Hamish, a young man who picked us up at the hotel, to the receptionist at the airport who agreed to make some calls for me for my travel the next day (so that I could get on the chopper), to the pilot, who was friendly, obliging, informative, and who obviously enjoyed what he does and wants others to share it.
Five stars in my book
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