For a moment I lost myself. I lost myself in the light rays streaming over the mountains. I lost myself in the never-ending layers of beauty. I lost myself in a place I had never seen before, at least not from the air. I lost myself in mountain peaks and hidden lakes. I lost myself in thoughts about how powerful our world is and how one occupies such a small but mighty space on the planet.
This was all happening in my head as I was trying to process our flight to and from Milford Sound. What a busy mind I had that morning, shooting some unreal landscapes, watching Robbie have the time of his life and remembering to savour the moment.
It was Saturday morning and I woke Robbie up with breakfast at an ungodly hour for a weekend and told him he needed to get dressed. Imagine, coffee shoved in your nose at 630am and no clue where you were going. I had been trying to surprise him for a while but due to work commitments, a day never worked, until now. Dressed and out the door at 7.10am heading to the airport. But what? Are we going on holiday? I don’t have a bag were along the lines of conversation. We pulled up to the Heli Tours hanger and the penny dropped, as did his jaw and the most excitable eyes were all I could see. Robbie had never been in a helicopter before and I so wanted him to experience Milford from the air.
We walked into the base and met our pilot Ben, who is possibly one of the kindest humans I’ve ever met. His knowledge during the flight made it extra special, naming all the peaks and just great local facts about the area made the flight so interesting, much more than just a scenic flight.
So, we take off just us and two hikers on board who were on route to hike part of the Milford track. We flew over the back of Coronet Peak and Ben Lomond, out towards Glenorchy and over to Milford Sound. It was pretty freeking beautiful. The mountains looked insane, the lake was as blue and anything and due to snowmelt, alpine lakes and waterfalls all came into view. I was freaking out. Most probably know how much of a mountain lover I am, and I just can’t control my excitement when seeing this incredible land from the air. I should have probably apologised for the amount of time I screamed wow, oh my god, look at that down my mic for everyone to hear.
Coming into Milford Sound is possibly one of the best views I have ever seen. Through layers of mountains, I could see the ocean and Mitre Peak standing tall. We were flying beside mountains that towered so high I couldn’t see their peak from my seat. We rounded the corner and the runway was in sight, Ben expertly landed on a Heli Pad with Mitre Peak right behind us. It was such a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the sunlight was just about ready to peak over the mountains and I couldn’t believe that we were stood here, in one of my favorite places in the world when one hour ago we were sipping tea in bed.
After dropping the hikers off and having an impromptu photoshoot in front of the Heli, courtesy of our now photographer Pilot Ben we set back off to Queenstown. This time, I got to ride Shotgun and man was it worth it. I kept turning around for little glimpses of Robbie’s smiling face and watching his eyes light up with the views unfolding below. We flew over Gertrude Saddle and lake Marian, flew close to the remains of some glacial activity and then back toward Glenorchy. As we flew over the dart river (I think, don’t quote me) The Routeburn track came into view and my oh did it blow my socks off. I’ve been on the Routeburn for a day walk but seeing it from above just justified in my mind how incredible this country is and the network of backcountry huts that are available to us.
About 15 minutes later after battling a little air pocket of wind familiar sights came back into view. We flew over The Shotover River, Arthurs Point and headed straight for The Remarkable’s where the airport sits right underneath. As we came into land, I took one last look at Robbie’s beaming face and my heart could of damn near exploded.
What an incredible adventure morning we had and one I’m so happy I got to share with you!
Thank you, Heli Tours Queenstown, for one of if not the most magical morning of our lives.