Taking a flight in a helicopter is something I have wanted to do since I was a little child and just recently I got the chance with a company called Heli Glenorchy. Upon arrival at the Glenorchy International Airport we were greeted by Nick the owner and head pilot. He then introduced us to the pride of their fleet a “Squirrel” helicopter which had what can only be described as the “funkiest' paint job I have ever seen on a helicopter.
We were all loaded in to the Heli and given headphones so Nick could give us some in flight commentary. Nick prepared everything in the front of the cockpit and then we took off. I have flown many times before in planes of all sizes but the feeling taking off in a helicopter is so much different. It's very unusual as the tiniest gust of wind moves the Heli in all sorts of ways. This didn't change the fact that I was like a little kid the whole time.
We took off and cruised over the northern shores of Lake Wakatipu taking in the unbelievable views that the paradise of Glenorchy has to offer. The magnificent braided Dart river that flows into the lake, snow capped mountains like Mt. Earnslaw it's massive ancient glacier which we were lucky enough to flyover. It's sheer size was breathtaking and our knowledgeable guide informed us that a few scenes from The Hobbit had been filmed here under the waterfall running off the bottom of the Glacier, along with the mountain of other films that have used Glenorchy as a location for scenes.
Then we flew across to the other side of the lake for an alpine landing high up on the Humboldt mountains next to a massive cornice. From here you can barely make out the heaving metropolis of Glenorchy but the views are no less beautiful. We had enough time to get out for a walk around in the snow and beer on top of the world. Finally we all shuffled back into the Squirrel and like a scene from an action movie we took off and dropped over the edge of the icy cornice nose first towards the base of the mountain.
Thankfully Nick knows what he is doing and returned all of us in one piece to the airstrip….it was definitely the coolest take off ever though! I'd just like to throw out a thank you to Nick for the awesome flight and the lovely Fi for hosting and looking after us for the evening. An absolute must do when visiting Queenstown!