For one of the most jaw dropping experiences that you will ever get to do then gliding at Omarama is a must do.
It all started out well, the briefing and run through by some of the most experienced gliders in the world made any anxiety I had disappear until we got out to the runway. There they were, the two gliders that would be taking up myself and friend to look over the stunning MacKenzie basin. The concept of flight is not new to me, I have flown around the world about five times, the difference being that all of them were powered by a very strong engine.
I am not one to pull out of experiences, so with a creeping fear boiling to the surface I got into the glider, was strapped in and away we went. A plane lifted us off the earth and took us to the appropriate height and then just like that the rope disenageged and we were floating above the earth.
What an incredible feeling, soaring above the beautiful Waitaki Valley and MacKenzie country, just like a bird, with no sound, and nothing to distract (apart from the inevitable drop to earth). It was then that I realised...
I LOVE THIS!
It was just incredible, almost a sense of calm, away from the pressures of every day life, away from the office, mobile phones, away from big cities and fast cars. It was just me and my instructor and a couple of birds in the distance.
That's when my calm must have indicated that I was not being challenged enough and with my permission my instructor decided to do a loop of the glider. I screamed, not a normal scream, but one that comes from deep within you and what came out even surprised me - I spent the next five minutes wondering if I would ever be able to make that noise again.
Then as if the experience wasn't enough, my instructor let me take the stick and fly the glider. With great nervous tension I turned left and right and then not wanting to risk anything further said he could take the controls back 'thanks mate' I need to go home for a drink.
Do it, experience it, love it. Gliding at Omarama is INCREDIBLE!