Up until our trip to New Zealand, I had never seen snow. We came close during one trip to Tasmania – many years ago – but it didn’t start snowing until we were boarding our plane to return to Queensland. I nearly yeeted myself off the plane when I heard the news. So, I was very excited for the day we were taking a helicopter ride to see both the Fox Glacier and the Franz Josef Glacier. This was two firsts for me … helicopters and snow!
Alas, I was also starting to come down with a cold. What was I expecting? Even though I was wearing a mask and constantly washing my hands, I had been travelling in a new country with a whole range of unfamiliar germs. I just put it down to sinus and ignored the symptoms. We were among the first tourists to fly that morning, and my breakfast coffee was helping me feel fine and dandy.
The flight up to the glaciers was utterly magical. I never realised how sparkly snow was; my family well tell you of my love of all things shiny. As soon as we were able to get onto the glacier, I took off my gloves and felt the snow. Then I tasted some, because that’s how I roll (SCIENCE!). It did taste different to chipped ice, for those interested (The snow was pure white, not yellow). We were given ten minutes to take photos, but I was discouraged from trying making snow angels. I’d get the helicopter all soggy, and it had a full day ahead.
We had saved up for two years to afford the helicopter flight, and it was worth every penny. It was even worth the pain in my ears as we swooped back to the helipad. I thought the pain was normal, but later I came to realise it was a sign of swelling and mucus stuffed into every crevice in my head.
Since we had taken such an early flight, it gave us the rest of the day to drive to Te Anu, our next stop. The drive over the mountains and down into south Fjordland. As the day passed, I began to feel very unwell. I was pleased to get to Te Anu and crawl into bed. My husband went out and found a pharmacy, and came back with various cold and flu medications, and Chinese takeaway. He bought me chicken and corn soup! The man is an angel.