Kai ora!! Thats Maori for welcome by the way not some sort of orange juice. We have just left the south island today and the last place we visited was Kaikoura. Theres plenty to do and see there, like swimming with dolphins, seals and whale watching. But if your a bit more adventurous you can pilot a plane! Guess what we did?
We were handed a choice of tours, by our driver Nemo, which can all be carried out in Kaikoura. We decided we would do an experience that I'm sure not a lot of people will ever get a chance to do - pilot a plane. We were dropped off at Kaikoura airport at about 12:30pm and Nemo said goodbye to us, fearing he would never see us again. After a brief intro to all of the controls and techniques to flying a plane, we signed our lives away to our instructor. There was a lot to remember and to be honest neither of us could remember a thing he had said once we were in the plane.
Each of us had to go up in turn and Shell went first. I watched on nervously as she climbed into the drivers side. As she isnt quite a pilot yet she never took off so our instructor had the controls to start. Once she was airbourne though she took the controls and chose the coastal flight plan over the hills flight plan. I went up second and chose the hills flight plan just to be different.
It was a totally unique experience, never thought we would ever get chance to do it but we are really glad that we did it! You actually do fly the thing once its airbourne, our instructor was pretty cool and just said "have a play with the controls", we practised nose dives and pulling up on the console which made you go light headed and also made your stomach feel weird! We also did a few turns which at first were really slow turns as we were pretty scared because all you can see is the ground! But after a while we got used to it and managed to pull off a few 360s which was awesome! Bit of turbulence especially over the hills because of the thermal winds, you got quite a time up there 25minutes of pure flying so definately worth the money.
After we headed back to the hostel and a nice hour walk to Kaikoura lookout, originally we were going to do it on bikes but shells was too big for her, bless her. So we had a very long walk to it in some pretty intense heat! The view was worth it though it looked amazing once we got up there, Shell decided to lie down for a bit of sunbathing to recouperate.
The next day we got up early and made our way by tour bus to the airport at Picton for our flight to Wellington. We were the only two brave enough to fly over on a tiny private plane from the bus, the rest got the boat - puffs. Well we just thought seeing as we had already flew a plane it would be no worries! We boarded the plane - all 12 of us and headed across the water. It was the scariest plane journey of our lives! Seeing as it was a tiny plane, any wind almost made us nose dive all over the place. I still have scratch marks on my legs from Shells nails digging in, I am sure Ill have scars there.
We are off to do the big one tomorrow - The Lord of the rings tour!! Apparently we get to dress up and see some of the scenes from the movie, can't wait!! Hopefully your surviving the freaky weather - heard all about it here x x x Dan and Shell x x x