Up, Up and Away! (Day 110)
Time is a funny thing, sometimes it seems to go far too quickly, especially when we don't what it too - either because we might miss going up, up and away, or when we are up, up and away, it's so brilliant we want to last a lot more time.
At 8:10am we were all packed up apart from having some breakfast, then Tim dropped the bomb shell. “I can’t find the car keys”. We had 15 minutes before we needed to leave, that should be fine, however time seems to play tricks and speed up when you want it to slow down. We looked everywhere…time was ticking…I remained calm…phew, Tim found them. We gobbled up our breakfast and zoomed down to Heliwork, just a few minutes late. Needless to say, we didn’t need to rush. The weather was delaying our flight. Yes – we’d booked a Helicopter flight over the glaciers.
The other people who were on our flight decided not to wait. So a couple of hours later, we had our own personal flight. Wow, Wow, Wow. It was incredible (yes, I know I keep saying that). We were flying over Tasman Glacier, the largest glacier in New Zealand with a depth of over 600m. Mark our pilot was fantastic. As well as zooming through gaps in the mountains, whizzing along like the best fairground ride ever, he also pointing key areas out to us, informing us how in the last 27 years the glacier had retreated considerably and this is getting faster. In 1973 there was no terminal Tasman Lake, and by 2008 it was 7km long. It is estimated that this huge glacier will disappear within 10 to 20 years’ time, so if you want to see this amazing site, may I suggest you go soonish.
We landed on a wide plateau of snow, with huge crevices dropping down deep into the glacier. Apparently a few weeks back, some tourists from a different company’s flight walked right up to them. One slip and that would have been the end of them. To join in with our friends and family in the UK, I did make a snowman – not much to write home about. The snow was too cold and I didn’t have gloves on!
The 45 minutes flew by – again time played tricks on us. What an experience, we both loved every second of it and so pleased that our friend Robin asked us to Mount Cook. Another example of grabbing hold of opportunities that come our way.
The rest of the day was travelling 500km towards Greymouth on the west coast. As the crow flies it would be half that distance. Unfortunately there is no direct route, these great big mountains do tend to get in the way. The scenery, of course, was amazing. Passing Lake Pukaki again with its spectacularly turquoise coloured waters, onto Fairlie for one of their famous pies (sadly no fish or veggie option for me). Near the town of Geraldine we picked up a lovely young couple from Strasbourg who wanted a lift to Peel Forest as they had missed their bus connection. They were walking and hiking all the way down to Bluff (over 460km in distance). Then on through Arthur’s Pass, where we went with Robin a couple of weeks ago, passed Lake Moana, and then we saw a very strange thing by a farm. Loads of shoes, boots, plimsolls, flip flops dangling along a fence. How strange!
We arrived at our next Airbnb and chatted to our lovely hosts Debora and Brian who turn out to be World class shooters with muskets! We meet some incredible people. I am sure there will be more on that tomorrow…