With acute attention to detail, this tour visits interesting destinations as you fly north to explore the Southern Alps, snowcaps and glaciers, and braided riverbeds feeding both the West and East coast regions. You’ll enjoy time in the Abel Tasman National Park with golden beaches, excellent bush walks, and abundant marine life.
Your base remains at Geordie Hill. As well as one night scheduled away in Stewart Island, (as with the 8 day Fiordland Explorer tour) this tour includes two further nights away in the northern township of Motueka, situated near the Abel Tasman National Park.
9am – you will be met by your personal host and instructor at Queenstown Airport. After your briefing, you fly to Geordie Hill Station – Flyinn’s base. Here your host will have prepared morning coffee and hot scones to welcome you to the Station. You’ll meet our staff, familiarise yourself with your accommodation, as well as your aircraft and the local area. During this time we continue the process for Validation of foreign PPL and issue of NZ Certificate. Weather permitting it is possible to explore beyond the local region and to get a sneak peak of one of the destinations on your itinerary.
Evening: settle into your surroundings before joining your hosts at the Geordie Hill Homestead for the first of many shared evenings. Enjoy a pre-dinner drink, accompanied by excellent cuisine, selected wines, and great Kiwi company.
Fly to the world famous Milford Sound via Te Anau, the Wilmott Pass and the Milford Track. Here spectacular, deep fiords and rainforest running up onto weathered peaks abound. Many high mountain tarns and lakes feed waterfalls, which fall vertically hundreds of feet into the fiords below. Land at Milford Sound. Take a walk and view the Bowen falls, and absorb the magnificent atmosphere. Fly to Big Bay, and land on the vast beach (depending on tide). Lunch at Milford or enjoy Elsie’s date loaf at Big Bay. Fly back to Geordie Hill via Aspiring National Park and lakes Wanaka and Hawea. Mt Aspiring is known as the “Matterhorn” of the South, and is flanked by pristine glaciers.
Fly to Stewart Island. Land at the immaculately kept Mandeville Airfield and visit Croydon Aircraft Company where vintage aircraft are restored, and an interesting and rare collection is kept. Enjoy morning coffee, or light lunch at ‘The Moth’ café.There is the option to fly a Tiger Moth here. Fly further south over green Southland countryside, and Foveaux Strait to land at Stewart Island. Settle into your accommodation and take a short bush walk or a walk through the township and along the beach. Perhaps visit the Department of Conservation museum. In the evening enjoy fresh local seafood at either the Hotel Restaurant or Church Hill Café. Relax and enjoy the quiet pace of island life.
Fishing Excursion: Morning boat trip with local island fisherman. Enjoy viewing marine life which can include blue penguins, seals and molymawks (of the albatross family). Learn some of the history of the area.Try your hand at fishing for Blue Cod – the local staple – a sweet, succulent, white flesh fish.Visit the nature reserve of Ulva Island to enjoy the native bush, which is alive with native birdsong. In the afternoon fly back to Geordie Hill via the very beautiful Catlins coastline. Here there are numerous deserted beaches and cliffs, plus farm and forest land. Be sure to deliver your catch of the day to your host when you get home, so a delicious appetiser can be prepared for dinner.
A day out in the city of Dunedin: Built around a natural harbour, and on the back of a gold-rush, Dunedin was one of the first cities to be established in New Zealand. It offers interesting architecture, a highly regarded historic museum, botanic gardens, excellent shopping, and also some marine life.Various tracks south east from Geordie Hill take you over mountain ranges and wide river valleys.View an open cast gold mine from above, and track up the Dunedin harbour and over the city. Or track over rock lands or follow lake Marhingarangi to approach from the south. Enjoy either being guided, or spend some free time exploring. Today is when you get your slice of real Kiwi city life.
Explore the dramatic Glenorchy region and experience the Dart River Jet Boat excursion. This day can begin by flying to one or more interesting, local airstrips. St Bathans is a possibility, and here you will land on a farm top-dressing strip and walk a short distance into the old gold mining town still much in its original state. Visit the historic hotel and enjoy morning coffee before retracing your steps to the aircraft and continuing to the Glenorchy Airstrip. You’ll have time for a brief lunch before joining the Dart River Jet river and mountain experience. The jet boat is a New Zealand invention able to travel in very shallow or swift flowing water. The spectacular scenery in this region is popular with the film industry. Return to Geordie Hill via scenic Shotover or Motutapu River valleys. Or climb in a northerly direction to catch the magnificent views down river valleys as you descend eastwards over Wanaka. And as you make your way back to Geordie Hill, you will now recognise the surrounding countryside, and feel like you are on your way home.
Mt Cook Region and Glacier, en route to Motueka: Explore this most dramatic area with its razor sharp ridges and steep sided valleys, carved from years of glacial activity. View the ice fields that supply cascading glaciers, which in turn feed a variety of lakes and river systems. At over 12,000′ Mt Cook and surrounds are made all the more spectacular because only 20 nm to the West is the shoreline of the Tasman Sea. Land at Mt Cook Airfield and spend some time in the village.Visit the interesting museum of mountain climbing in the region, and view a tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary – a Kiwi and the first man to climb Mt Everest. There is also an option here to join a Mt Cook ski plane flight up onto the Tasman Glacier.
Continue north via the West Coast and watch as snow caps and glaciers give way to bush clad mountains and valley farm land. An alternate en route destination is Hokitka, where you may visit the excellent cheese café, and view local greenstone carving. The west coast route can lead you to the very tip of the South Island and Farewell Spit, which curves protectively into the Tasman Bay. Follow the coast line south to land at Motueka where you will stay for two nights. Alternately choose a path through the foothills of the Southern Alps. This exciting route passes the headwaters of many magnificent river valleys, giving spectacular views of their braided nature, the valley systems and surrounding farmland. Again, snow caps and glacial moraine give way to gentler slopes, open valleys, and the Canterbury plains to the east.
On the East Coast there is a possible option to land at Christchurch Airport and visit the Antarctic Centre. This tells the story of past exploration and expeditions to The South Pole, as well as current research projects. Continue north west via fertile rolling farmland, to high country and mountain passes, until you see the Tasman Bay coast line and track to you destination, Motueka.
Land at Motueka where you will stay for two nights. Accommodation is a well-appointed motel or lodge. You will be shown the township, after which you can settle into your accommodation. This evening is kept completely free. A chance to relax, and enjoy your choice of dining.
Day in the Abel Tasman National Park. This park offers a wonderful escape into New Zealand native beach forest. Water Taxi can deliver you along a well -defined walking track where you may walk to a wonderful bush café serving cold drinks and lunch. Take your time and enjoy the golden sand beaches and clear blue water. An alternate is to join a kayaking group and see the park this way. Often dolphins and seals can be viewed from the kayak or water taxi.
At the end of your day, freshen up and enjoy dinner out at one of the excellent restaurants in the vicinity.
Marlborough Sounds and Kaikoura en route to Geordie Hill. Fly East and slightly north over the Tasman Bay to find the beginning of the Marlborough Sounds.This is a region of islands, many of which are farmed, and others are bush clad.Most offer numerous sheltered bays for boating and fishing, and holiday homes can be seen dotted about their shores.
Land at Omaka Airport by Blenheim to visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.This center is home to a captivating display of WWI aircraft, memorabilia and enacted stories.Crafted by the same special effects team from ‘Lord of the Rings” this display is like no other.Equally interesting to those who are not aviation followers – this is a museum not to be missed.
Fly south along the East Coast via Kaikoura – the feeding territory for sperm whales. These may be spotted from the plane, and often large pods of dolphins also.
Further South is the possibility of a stop in Christchurch or Ashburton to stretch your legs and enjoy a break, before continuing over the completely flat Canterbury plains, to foothills and mountain passes, high country valleys and finally the Lindis Pass. By now you will recognise this as the last northerly pass before your descent into Geordie Hill and home.Here your cottage, and a welcome dinner with Jo at the homestead will await you.
Strip Flying Day: There are many airstrips, of varying degrees of complexity to hone your skills on. Today offers a chance to try some of these while enjoying visits to local destinations. Among the local strips, Tarras township and coffee shop is at the foot of what Flyinn calls “Tarras International”.
To the west, Makarora airstrip is nestled near the gateway to the west coast and mountains. Further west, arrive at Haast and the west coast. Or track down lake Wanaka to Minaret Station airstrip, then through ‘the neck’ to Lake Hawea and the Dingleburn Station airstrip. Today you will get to explore the local valleys, meet some local people, enjoy excellent country cafes as well as spend an exciting day flying.
Farm Experience: Join the Geordie Hill Station program and watch shepherds shifting stock with their dogs. Learn more about our farming systems, and the infrastructure required for this to work. Join the staff for morning tea.
Explore Central Otago and Upper Clutha by car. (Use of a station vehicle – car or 4wd is included).
Local attractions include: gliding at world renowned Omarama. Enjoying the local boutique shops at Tarras, offering vintage crafts, country homewares, and fine merino wool clothing. Visit a museum to Shrek the famous merino sheep and have a break at a popular country café. Visit local vineyards in the Tarras, Cromwell, Bannockburn, Gibbston Valley or Wanaka areas. Or visit the townships of Cromwell and/ or Wanaka. Spend the day hiking around Wanaka, or to the Rob Roy Glacier in Mt Aspiring National Park. Or drive to Makarora on the Haast Pass road and visit the outstanding blue pools. Another option can be to simply remain at Geordie Hill and enjoy a quiet day at the Station.
The last day of your tour can also be full of surprises …. so if at all possible keep this day free!
If during your time with us, weather has caused a postponement to any destination, today is our chance to go there. Or, use the morning to see a little more of Geordie Hill and station life. Perhaps do some extra strip flying and test your skills on one or two more challenging local strips. Today we provide you with a detailed flight log and invoice. Once all plans have been accomplished, we say farewell to Geordie Hill and fly to Queenstown.
You will have the most flexibility with this day if you are able to stay the night in Queenstown. The next best option is to book your flight from Queenstown as late in the day as possible.