A flight in a Tiger Moth from a by-gone era sounded far too good an opportunity to pass up.
On a recent visit to the South Island of New Zealand and in between climbing in the Southern Alps, I did just that, accompanied by my adventurous son, TomO…
And TomO, being a bit of a military buff, relished the opportunity to chase his father around the skies over Wanaka, while Mum, Janet, watched from a vantage point on the lake foreshore below.
The Tiger Moths are owned and operated by Peter Hendriks at Classic Flights, Wanaka.
Peter, along with his flying partner, Andy Hailey, who recently left the RAF after trading a seat in the supersonic Euro-fighter for something just a bit slower, expertly piloted the aircraft.
It even had me reminiscing over my own flying days, another time when Janet and I flew the length and breadth of Australia in our own aircraft, a Piper Arrow.
TomO and I kitted up in the flight room, donning flying gear of the Tiger Moth era, including a silk scarf, and with the smell of aviation fuel in our nostrils took to the blue skies over Wanaka.
Anyway, why don’t you just jump on board with us and join the flight…don’t forget to strap yourself in, we don’t want you falling out when we do a loop!
And how good is that smile on TomO’s face!
If you want to see some fantastic New Zealand scenery, take in a couple of the sights of where Lord of the Rings was filmed, and you’re a bit of an adrenalin junkie, than a jet boat ride up the Matukituki River is the thing for you…
I was supposed to be heading to New Zealand’s west coast for another week of climbing in the Southern Alps, however with weather forecast to be less than favourable we decided to postpone our departure by two days.
Mind you, the weather around Wanaka has been perfect during our stay and we’ve been making the most of it!
After a short drive through grazing lands just outside of Wanaka we arrived at our departure point for the trip up the river.
Strewth, what a great ride it was!
Our guide expertly pointed the boat through the various water channels on the braided river, which was still flowing quite fast due to all the recent rain. Yes, the same rain I experienced whilst on the Bonar Glacier trying to climb Mt Aspiring last week.
After about half-an-hour we hopped out of the boat and took a nature walk, marvelling at the giant beech tree forests. These trees are very old and quite spectacular.
And the view of Avalanche Glacier was breathtaking.
Back on the boat we made our way towards Lake Wanaka, stopping at one of the spots where Lord of the Rings was filmed.
This scene was filmed in the Matukituki Valley.
I must confess to being a big fan of the series, and as I walked out of Mt Aspiring a week ago, down the valley and through the forest it truly felt like I was in “middle-earth”.
After bidding our guides farewell, Janet and I relaxed by the shores of Lake Wanaka, while TomO went for a swim…
Crikey, what a great day in a beautiful part of the world – and how good is that ice-cream!
Climbing mountains is one way to get your head in the clouds and tomorrow I will be travelling to the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island for another week of adventure in the mountains.
I climbed this breath-taking area last September and I am looking forward to being there again…
And I am certainly hoping for better weather than the blizzard conditions I experienced last week whilst climbing Mt Aspiring and neighbouring peaks.
Crikey, I could go on about how good it was, and it is fair to say TomO still has a smile as big as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but why don’t I just let the photo’s do the talking…