Flying over Wanaka

January 10th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

It was the final day of my 10 days in the Lakes District and I had had such a great time. Apart from just the company of friends, I’d seen Milford Sound, walked about Lake Hayes, explored Arrowtown, seen in the New Year from the Earnslaw, walked to the base of the Rob Roy Glacier, kayaked to one island, done some wine tastings and swum in an island lake at the top of another island.

All I had left to do on Tuesday was get to Christchurch. Then I got a text from Bill D saying “Are you still in ? Would you fancy a heli flight around the basin this morning and maybe drop into Tarras for breakfast?”

This is not one of those questions you need to spend a long time thinking about. A quick negotiation saw my departure time delayed and Tea Party Girl and I headed out to Wanaka Airport very very excited.

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The chopper has room for five including the pilot. It was so smooth that even when flying at pretty high speeds, you hardly noticed it inside.

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Going up anywhere in a helicopter can be an amazing experience. But to do it around the Wanaka basin was extraordinary. The sights are legion, and from high up you see the entire basin, while lower down at 100 metres or so you get some great aerial views of activity below.

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This is Ruby Island, where we kayayed to for a picnic lunch.

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Some of Lake Wanaka.

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And Mou Wahu Island, where the lake or pool we swam in is visible.

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Another shot from the air.

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And a great view shot by TPG.

After around 45 minutes in the air we landed. It was the perfect ending to a great 11 days in the Lakes District. An incredibly generous and appreciated offer from Bill. An experience hard to beat.

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We then had a five hour drive to Christchurch. As one can see, the car was slightly weighed down by no less than three bikes and a kayak!

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Lake Pukaki with Aoraki Mt Cook in the background. I’d almost forgotten how magnificent it is to drive through Central Otago. At almost every stage you have either valleys or mountains or lakes or all three. Just stunning scenery. I think I may do an RV holiday around the South Island in 2014. It would be great to be able to just stop for the night at so many of these incredible locations.

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8 Responses to “Flying over Wanaka”

  1. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    Looks like you had a great holiday DPF. Central Otago is a magnificent part of NZ. I haven’t spent enough time down there

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  2. Vinick (213 comments) says:

    “I think I may do an RV holiday around the South Island in 2014. It would be great to be able to just stop for the night at so many of these incredible locations.”

    A splendid idea. Would be wonderful if you could tie it in with the election in the same way you’ve done once or twice before. We never really get to see much coverage of the more rural South Island seats (Waimakariri, Rangitata, Selwyn, Waitaki, Clutha/Southland, West Coast Tasman). Not many marginals in that list, but you could mix it up with some time in Chch.

    [DPF: I'd be keen to but two challenges. The first is the guy who donated our blogmobile is now dead. So have to find a donor or a sponsor. The second is I am pretty busy with my work activities during election campaigns and doing polling and blogging during a campaign is difficult enough, without also travelling around. But could manage it if I plan well enough in advance]

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  3. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Nice.

    Allow at least 2 weeks for any sort of lap of the Sth Island in a Camper Van!

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  4. Dean Papa (616 comments) says:

    five in the confined space of small helicopter, with DPF piloting, potentially a very toxic environment!

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  5. Hiro Protagonist (16 comments) says:

    DPF sez: “Lake Pukaki with Aoraki Mt Cook in the background. I’d almost forgotten how magnificent it is to drive through Central Otago”. Central Otago certainly is magnificent – however Lake Pukaki is in the Mackenzie basin, which is in Canterbury.

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  6. Steve (North Shore) (4,318 comments) says:

    RRM @ 10.34
    ‘Allow at least two weeks..’ Not enough time by a long way. We did the Sth Island in 2002, had a Kea Camper for 17 days and missed so much. You need 2 months.
    I will be back in a few years after we have been to Alaska in june 2014.

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  7. pq (728 comments) says:

    yes very excellent farrar, we in Otago are the boss of tourism

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  8. hj (5,677 comments) says:

    Lake Pukaki (Mt Cook) is iin Canterbury.

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