I’ve never flown in a helicopter before – and on my South Island trip, I managed to fly in not one, but TWO helicopters.
The first was a spontaneous helicopter flight with Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters, in which we soared high above Mount Larkin (The Remarkables), a mountain range and skifield on the southeastern shore of Lake Wakatipu.
The best part about the flight was our pilot, Alfie. After researching on the website post-trip, I realized that this guy is legit. As in, a legend when it comes to aerial filming. He nonchalantly told us mid-flight (through our crackly helicopter headphones): “Have you guys seen the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films? I flew some of the actors like Andy Serkis over these ranges. I did all the aerial shots for the films. We basically flew with a camera attached to this helicopter.”
YES, the very same helicopter that our group of four was sitting in. I tried not to geek out too much in that moment, but DAMN, that is cool. Again, every 1 of 2 people you meet in New Zealand is generally connected to LOTR in some way, shape, or form. It’s such a small place. Not once do I ever take anything for granted, because it’s that incredible.
We ooh-ed and ahh-ed at some of the beautiful snowcapped mountains that we flew over – we were even lucky enough to land in some snow, despite it being pretty snowless (at least that’s what the overall mountain ranges seemed to be).
We ran around the big patch of snow, took selfies, panoramas, jumped for joy, and tried to take in every detail and outline of the gigantic mountains that towered above us. The Remarkables were, for lack of better word, quite remarkable indeed. The Coronet and Cecil Peaks were off in the distance. 5,000 feet later atop snow, we had secured amazing photos to make anyone envious.
Not to mention that the helicopter company was running a special that day, so we paid an AMAZING price for all that we saw. Yeah, it was a good day.