I love living in the tropics, I really do. Getting to scuba dive every week, or swim in waterfalls after I finish work will literally never get old. But there are things I miss. Having non-frizzy hair almost constantly happens to be one. Snow is definitely another.
So after nearly 5 years avoiding winter I wanted to chase the snow in New Zealand.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) there hadn’t been much heavy snowfall in our few days in the south island. The snow line was quite high up on the mountain and I didn’t really have the shoes – or fitness – to clamber up.
We had also been denied a birds eye view of the mountains thanks to some pretty horrendous weather on our landing in to Queenstown. Did you know it had been voted the most beautiful airport landings in the world? We did, but were extremely grateful to everyone who reminded us of the fact when they found out we’d landed in terrible weather. Cheers
So, yeah. We found ourselves in Wanaka craving some mountain vistas, with one of us being a self confessed scenic flight and helicopter addict. After a couple of glasses of wine it didn’t take much persuasion for us to dial the number on one of the thousands of leaflets we’d collected and book ourselves on a heli flight for the next morning.
After much careful deliberation (*cough*) it was decided that we’d go with Aspiring Helicopters. This is purely based on the fact that my favourite Kiwi Blogger Liz Carlson has recommended them. The power of blogging you guys!
The morning dawned bright and cloudless. After a slight detour to take pictures of a tree we made the beautiful drive out of Wanaka and towards the Aspiring Helicopters office at the base of the famous treble Cone ski fields. We were greeted by the receptionist, who also happened to be our pilot. I’m not sure if his name was Tom or Tim because of his extremely strong kiwi accent, but he was lovely all the same.
Our pre flight briefing was brief and then Mikey earned himself some future husband brownie points by letting me sit in the front seat – hurrah! A few switches were flicked and then we were away, soaring up and over the valley towards the snow covered peaks above.
I was pretty much unable to keep excited squeaks inside, especially as Tom/Tim was able to fly us close to the ground below. So close in fact that we could make out rabbit tracks in the fresh powder.
The helicopter rose up until we were level with the tops of the mountains and then we turned and went over, the ground seemingly falling away beneath us. My stomach dropped with the ground, but the corners of my mouth turned up. It was like being on a funfair ride. Only, y’know, in the sky and with way better scenery.
We’d chosen a flight with the option of an alpine landing. Because, snow! Thankfully we’d disregarded the instructions of Aspiring Helicopters to bring gloves (how would I operate my camera?). I mean, it was only -15 with wind chill degrees at the landing site…
As we walked around admiring the view of Wanaka and the Mt Aspiring national park I couldn’t help but once again think how New Zealand just bloody well shows off at times with it’s natural beauty. And how cold my fingers were.
I may also have looked up job opportunities and accommodation in Wanaka later on. Can you believe people actually get to live here?
After what would have felt like a very brief moment on our own personal mountain had we not been genuinely concerned about frostbite it was time to hop back aboard. Gazing at the spectacle below us and with grins as wide as our faces it was agreed that the flight had been worth every penny.
Mountain views beyond belief and a chance to feel like we’d conquered our own private mountain with none of the required hiking? Flying high with Aspiring Helicopters, the perfect way to wake up in Wanaka!
Need to Know:
- We paid $170 for a 20 minute flight with alpine landing. Obviously many more options are available!
- It really is cold at the top, so don’t be idiots like us and actually take some gloves!
- To get out there it’s a very easy drive from Wanaka, it took us around 10 minutes.
- Can someone please find out if the pilots’s name is Tim or Tom? Thanks.