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Our West Coast adventure was about to continue but first a little more about our fine hosts. Robert Long and his wife Catherine and their family have been living at Gorge River for many years. The only access is by long walk of many days or by plane dropping into their airstrip. They are self sufficient and lovely hosts. We had tea and home made cakes that remind me of when I was growing up on the high country farm.
After tea we went down to the river so Dick could throw his rod in. For 82 he was like a little kid, running into the tide throwing out his line and running back waiting for the Kawai to take the bait. I started fishing but then simply was mesmermised by the serene beauty of the place and soon packed up my gear for a lovely stroll with my partner Wayne. We walked to the other end of the airstrip, the only piece of flat land there, and we looked south, just sea and rocks as far as the eye I could see. I could imagine the Paua and Crayfish minding thier own business in the clear torquoise ocean.
Time to go, so we hoped back in the planes and proceeded to take off and started up the coast, north towards the Haast Pass. We snuck up over the Cascade River and turned inland up the Waiatoto River.
From here we were cruising straight towards the Mountain of Aspiring. Thinking about how the early explorers managed to climb all around these parts all that time ago makes me feel humble to be flying only 1 hour from Wanaka to this remote environment.
We turn left through Pearson's Pass which takes us into the eastern branch of the Matukituki River and then we hop over into my old Farmland, Minaret Station. We fly down one of the Valleys towards Lake Wanaka which opens out in a surreal lakescape of pure magic.
I turn to Dick and say, "It simply does not get any better than this"! We cruise down the lake together taking photos of each other as the two planes quietly wieve their way back to the quiet civilisation of Lake Wanaka township. This scenic flight is the best thing about Wanaka, watching the famous Mou Wahou Island slip by, we see the fish dart from the emerald shallows into the deep of the blue lake.
Shortly Wanaka appears and before long we glide back to earth. Dick and I can't stop grinning, we know we have witnessed something that will remain one of the best things we have ever done in Wanaka. Even though we live here!
We jump out and get a photo in the front of the plane. The images still blazened onto our memories like bright fresh flashes of colour and wonder..."Go again"? Dick enquires,