Day 199 on the Road
Southern Alps Scenic Flight with Air Safaris
Today we’re in Lake Tekapo taking a super scenic flight of the Southern Alps! If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities, fly on over to our awesome YouTube Channel!
Today we’re going to do the Grand Traverse over the highest mountains the longest glaciers and the most epic New Zealand scenery.
It’s a super clear day here at Lake Tekapo which can only be a good thing cos today we’re going Air Safaris for a scenic flight over the Southern Alps.
We’re gonna be taking a 50 minute flight from Lake Tekapo going over the lake and into the backbone of the South island which is the mountain range called the Southern Alps right in the heart of that is Aoraki Mt cook the highest mountain in New Zealand.
So while we’re waiting for our flight we’re watching the pilots really take good care of the planes and then we are introduced to our pilot called Leon and we get into a really well designed plane where all the seats are a window seat that’s ideal and all the windows are super wide they even bend out a little as well so you can fit your camera between your face and the window.
Our pilot is going to give us commentaries throughout our entire flight and first up the pilot is introducing us a little bit to the area that we are flying above at the moment which is Lake Tekapo we’re seeing the power station which is an entirely sustainable power station that feeds power to a big part of the region, as well as to Lake Tekapo itself which is this stunning beautiful turquoise blue lake which is absolutely iconic in this area we’ve spent a lot of time on the shores of Lake tekapo in the last couple of days to take heaps of pictures of this beautiful lake and we’re stoked to be able to see it for all its glory the most prominent feature of Lake Tekapo is its bright blue turquoise colour and the reason why it has this colour is because of all the sediment which is rock flour which comes down from all the glaciers which we’ve spent the last few weeks visiting.
Lake Tekapo is in the heart of the Mackenzie District which is a huge farming are for New Zealand. New Zealand’s number one industry is farming and you can see it from here. Almost everything that we can see area actually farmland.
But this is the more tame scenery that we’re gonna be seeing during our flight before we move onto the beautiful rugged peaks of the Southern Alps.
We’re now following the Godley River into the Southern Alps and it’s only from above that you can appreciate the amazing braided patterns of the river. this whole valley is about 4km wide. However, these rivers start to get smaller and smaller as we move into the more icy regions of the Southern Alps.
At first, the mountains just have a dusting of snow but soon enough we get into the real snowy peaks where we are surrounded by huge glaciers some of New Zealand’s largest glaciers are right here in the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. The first glacier that Leon is pointing out to us is the Murchison Glacier which is about 16km long it’s super huge but nowhere near as huge as the Tasman Glacier which is actually the longest glacier in New Zealand at around 23km.
With all this super extreme scenery we are all glued to the windows of the plane just behind our cameras cos this is absolutely amazing. the scenery is pretty much what everyone comes to new Zealand for just to see this extreme environments that features in loads of different films like the Lord of the Rings but it’s right here in front of our own eyes.
We are now crossing The Divide which is the separation between the east coast and the west coast of the South Island. And from there we can see an massive separation between the weather and the environment of both areas. the West Coast is known for having more rainforest and a bit more of a rainy kind of weather while the east coast is a bit of a drier area with some beautiful farm lands and a lot of sunshine.
And from above we can see that difference very striking right in front of our eyes.
But beyond the glaciers and the beautiful snowy peak the crown jewel of the Southern Alps is Mt Cook. It is New Zealand’s tallest mountain standing at 3724m above sea level and no flight around the Southern Alps would be complete without checking it out.
Our pilot is truly giving us heaps of insights about everything that we are seeing during this flight. He has a wealth of knowledge about every single geological feature of the Southern Alps and it’s really impressive to learn so much during such a short flight.
It’s kind of hard to realise that when our pilot is turning back and start making our way back to the Lake Tekapo area. We really want to keep on flying around the Southern Alps forever the views are absolutely fantastic.
The good thing though is that we’re actually taking a different route on the way back this time following the Hooker Valley on our way out of the Southern Alps.
We get to see more of the beautiful Mackenzie Basin which sort of covers the area of Twizel, Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook National Park.
This means more beautiful vibrant lakes, more lush farmland, and more awesome photo opportunities by this point my SD card on my camera is literally on fire.
As we’re coming into landing back at the Lake Tekapo Airport Robin and I just can’t help but talk about how awesome this flight was. I feel like we’ve spent most of the time up in the air as we’ve been around the Aoraki Mt Cook area but really that is the best way to see this awesome scenery.
And this concludes our time in the beautiful Lake Tekapo area we really loved it we really loved spending so much time around the Southern Alps flying above it and tomorrow we’re going to be leaving making our way to the little township of Fairlie but we are not gonna be leaving Lake Tekapo without checking out it’s most iconic building it’s the Church of the Good Shepherd and it is probably the most photographed building in New Zealand.
So it’s amazing how you can actually understand the geograph… urgh… So it’s amazing how you can understand the geography [laughing]. So it’s amazing how you can understand the geography of the place so much better when you are looking from above.
I know I couldn’t say it. Geological geological. So it’s amazing how you can see the argh…
Ok start again. I don’t even want to say this sentence anymore. Stupid.
So it’s amazing how you can understand the geological features. robin you ruined it.
We can see all kind of like the geolo geo…
Geologic… geological features
So we can see all the geologic argh!