Flying over Wanaka

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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