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Helicopter Trip—11/08/2021 To Kahurangi National Park and then Awaroa

Ten Probus members departed at 10.00am on two helicopters from Nelson Airport for a trip over to Kahurangi National Park. From the Airport we tracked over Rabbit Island, Mapua, Motueka, over the top of Brooklyn across the Takaka Hill and Upper Takaka and then tracked up past the Devils Range and the Anotoki Range with all the peaks covered with a good layer of snow. Absolutely breathtaking with the blue sky above. We then tracked over the Colosseum Ridge to Boulder Lake (985M). We flew over the lake to the outlet to see a very impressive waterfall falling into the Boulder River which eventually joins the Aorere River near Bainham.

We then landed on the Lake Shore and exited the helicopter. We walked to the Boulder Lake Hut and had a look around. We thought the hut was a bit rustic until we saw the original hut tucked away behind the current hut. It was a tin shed, no insulation, a corrugated iron fireplace and chimney and four basic beds with saggy wire-netting to sleep on.

After a half hour we departed Boulder Lake and had a good view of Mt Olympus, it featured in the Lord of The Rings Trilogy. We tracked across the upper Aorere Valley over the start of the Heaphy Track, then over the Wakamarama Range heading to the coast. We flew around the Kahurangi Point Light House then landed at the lighthouse keepers house, now a DOC Hut. We had a very nice picnic lunch served on the sunny veranda followed by a very pleasant walk to the beach. With the white sands and the large grove of Nikau Palms you could think you were in Hawaii.

After about an hour on the ground we departed for Takaka Airport to refuel. We traveled up the coast passed the mouth of the Anatori River and followed Cowin Road until the mouth of the Paturau River where the road turns inland and follows the edge of the Whanganui Inlet and comes out at Pakawau. We passed the entrance to Whanganui Inlet tracked up to Wharariki Beach with a great view of the Archway Islands, then across the base of Farewell Spit to Puponga. We followed the western coastline of Golden Bay, flying over Pakawau, Collingwood, Parapara and Patons Rock to Takaka Airport. The helicopters each had a hot refuel with engine running and passengers still on board, five minutes for each helicopter.

We then departed for Awaroa Bay in the Able Tasman National Park. We tracked around the edge of Golden Bay with excellent views of Pohara Beach, Tarakohe and Tata beach, over the headland and across Wainui Inlet and onto Totaranui Beach and on to Awaroa Airstrip where we landed.

We went for a stroll along a well-defined track and onto Awaroa Beach, the stretch of beach that we bought on Trademe to keep it in the public domain. We returned to the helicopters for a welcome cold drink and some group photos, then boarded the helicopters for flight back to Nelson Airport.

We followed the Abel Tasman National Park coastline back to Marahau, passing Tonga Bay, Mosquito Bay (a Probus trip last year), Bark Bay, Torrent Bay, the Anchorage, and past Adel Island. From Marahau around the coast to Kaiteriteri, Stephens Bay, past the Motueka river mouth, Port Motueka, Jackett Island and Kina Peninsula and cliffs. Saw some awesome houses build on the cliff top, some very flashy “Miami Vice” type homes and other large modern low-profile homes blending well into the environment. We completed the flight back to the airport over Ruby Bay, Mapua and Rabbit Island and landed back at Nelson Airport around 3.00 pm.

A very enjoyable day far all, Helicopters New Zealand were excellent hosts and gave a great commentary throughout the journey. The provided an excellent lunch and refreshments and we never felt rushed to move on over the whole trip..         Article by John D’Rose                      Photo’s by Stan Friend