Our Noble Steed
Yesterday my work team had a surprise afternoon trip supplied as a prize from one of our key vendors. We had to sell a certain (and significant) amount of their product within a two month period earlier in the year, which we achieved. The weather was potentially a bit dodgy but the call was made to GO, so at 12pm Thursday all 10 of us piled into a minivan to head out to a helicopter site at the Airport.
Because there were 10 of us we went in two choppers, I went in the red one above, and was quite nervous as I get terribly travel sick, and had only been in one once when I was very small. Managed to nab the front seat to take photos, but not sure if it helped for the motion issues!
The Pilots seat and lots of dials and buttons
Five of us squeezed into the chopper and sat there for a while as it warmed up, strapped in tight with headphones on as it was REALLY noisy. The first chopper took off and we followed. It was a very cool overcast day but hardly any wind.
Chopper #1 leads the way
We were heading north to the winery district for wine tasting and a long boozy lunch. Even though it was low visibility due to the low cloud, we flew at 1000ft and got great views of the Canterbury Plains and scenery.
Waimakiriri River – its a braided river and you can clearly see where the name comes from
Do farmers know they make these pretty patterns?
So many shades of green
The first flight took about 20 minutes and the first half was a bit wobbly and I felt quite ill quite quickly. Eventually it levelled out a bit and the view was so entrancing that it distracted me from not feeling well, and I started to feel better.
We stopped in Waipara Springs Winery for wine tasting, the two choppers landed in what looked like a tiny paddock next to the carpark but both fitted in easily. Its a bit scary and wobbly coming straight down tho!
Half an hour for wine tasting (the Pinot Gris was the winner) then back into the choppers to head to Pegasus Bay Winery, which is both an award winning winery and restaurant. One of the places I had always wanted to eat at but couldn’t really afford.
Ham Hock terrine and Pickles
After the flurry of drinks orders food started arriving, it was an interesting setup where we had Breads to start, then two entree’s, three mains and two desserts. We got big platters to share which was nice so we got to taste everything!
Canterbury Lamb, Pomegranate seeds and Bulgur Wheat salad
The mains were beef, lamb and fish and were all perfectly cooked and quite delicious with sides of salad and garlicky potatoes.
Gingerbread, Caramel Icecream and Macerated fruits
Almond pudding, cherries and honey tuille
Everything was extremely tasty and by the end I was quite full. Much wine was drunk (and several bottles purchased to take home) and many interesting discussions happened up and down the table. Service was impeccable and the winery site is lovely, set up on a ridge and landscaped with lovely gardens, with a pool with ducks and swans, and a creek and waterfall.
Eventually tummies were full and wallets were empty and it was time to head back to town, so we climbed carefully back into our helicopters and headed for home.
The other chopper came up alongside on the way home
Fortunately we had a smooth ride home (I had only had one glass of wine) and it was now familiar and a bit more enjoyable. Our pilot was very pleasant and pointed out many landmarks and told us interesting things about being a chopper pilot.
It was a surprising and pleasant afternoon, and a treat the like of which I have never had, and am not likely to again. Flying up high with a big bubble of windscreen made taking photos really easy and it was a fascinating viewpoint. If it wasn’t SO EXPENSIVE I would hire one on a sunny day to get to see the mountains as well :)
Of course there are LOADS of photos but these ones tell the story the best, hope you enjoy a different viewpoint on the world from up in the air :)