Southern Alps from the air

The best way to see the 3,754m high Mt Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain, is to fly past it. Which I’ve done rather a lot of times flying into Queenstown but never as close as on an hour long scenic flight from Franz Josef Glacier.dsc_0601Was very lucky with the weather, this was one of only five days they’d flown in January, down 60% on last year. There was a base of cloud covering the mountains up to The Divide but thankfully plenty to see above it and it had a few gaps to the glaciers below.dsc_0522-scenic-flight

From the air it’s easier to grasp the hugeness of the glacier fed rivers and the amount of debris they carry.dsc_0546 dsc_0539

There were also some rather lovely lakes and turquoise blue waters out to sea.dsc_0537 dsc_0536 dsc_0738

The clouds parted perfectly for a brief glimpse of a glacier below.dsc_0564 dsc_0572

There were plenty more to come though, around 140 in this area, with surreal white sheets of snow and ice peppered with cracks.dsc_0575 dsc_0584

We flew by Mt Cook, Mt Tasman and other assorted mountains.dsc_0617 dsc_0622 dsc_0637 dsc_0640 dsc_0645dsc_0648dsc_0649It was apparent when we crossed The Divide as the landscape changed completely, far less snow, with Mt Cook village and Lakes Hooker, Mueller and Tasman visible below.dsc_0653 dsc_0657

A flash of blue caught my eye, somewhat out of place amongst all the rock and snow.dsc_0714 dsc_0715

More glaciers and mountains as we headed back across The Divide and toward Franz Josef.dsc_0650 dsc_0664

Author: jontycrane

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