Heli Hiking Wanaka
We are Hubi and Petra from Germany and fell in love with the country on our first New Zealand trip in 1998. At that time we already knew that we would come back – 21 years later! We entrusted Michael Nees with the planning of our four-week trip – beginning the month of December 2019 to the start of January 2020. What we felt might not be possible, ended up exceeding our expectations. Michael did an excellent job again! Thanks a lot!!
Already when planning our trip, it was clear: A Heli-Hike Tour is at the top of our list. We had already pre-booked the Alpine Lake Tour in Wanaka from Germany. Of course the weather had to play along. Because of strong winds, we could not start the tour on the day we originally booked. We actually had to wait two more days until the right moment for our dream to come true. We were staying in the beautiful Burn Cottage Retreat in Cromwell for three days, so there was plenty of time to wait for the perfect day. Thanks to Michael Nees and Eco Wanaka Tours, it was no problem to reschedule the tour.
Start of a ‘Dream Day’ in Wanaka
On Saturday 21.12.2019 we started our dream day! The weather was perfect! On the one hour drive from Cromwell to Wanaka, we enjoyed the morning mood – blue sky and bright sunshine. We arrived in Wanaka a little too early. Therefore, we had some time left to enjoy the morning sun at the lakeshore while waiting for our guide.
At 8.45 am we met our guide Chris from Eco Wanaka Adventures. A very nice guy with a mischievous smile. He gave us a warm welcome. Packing our backpacks into the jeep, we headed off to the helipad in the Mount Aspiring National Park. On the way to the helipad, Chris told us that he had already worked as a mountain guide outside New Zealand – especially in Kathmandu. We chatted a little bit about our previous trip to New Zealand, before arriving at the Helipad after about 20 minutes.
There it was – the helicopter that was gonna take us to the top of the world! After a short briefing by the helicopter pilot, we took off and had an incredible panoramic view over the Matukituki river valley – to the mountain massif of Mount Aspiring unfolding before us. (Video from the helicopter)
After a 5 minute flight we landed in the middle of Red Tussock grass on the shore of Emerald Lake – so beautiful with its turquoise, crystal clear water.
Starting our Alpine lake heli hiking tour
Now we started our hike with a climb over steep slopes and ridges. What a great experience in an incredibly beautiful landscape. In between, Chris checked traps for possums and weasels. These predators are a real plague in New Zealand. They cause great damage to birds and plants. There are about 70 million possums in New Zealand! Chris supplied the traps with tuna and eggs. The tuna attracts the possums and while trying to eat the eggs, they get trapped.
At noon we had coffee, tea, muffins and scones – all in front of the most beautiful panorama one can imagine.
And as if that wasn’t overwhelming enough, Chris conjured up a Gandalf hat and stick out of his backpack. Being big fans of the Lord of the Rings movies, we were of course totally thrilled and couldn’t wait to pose with these props.
Saint Claus surprise in Wanaka mountains
But that’s not all: As it was the 21st of December, Chris reached deep into his backpack again. a bright Santa Claus costume appeared. We slipped into the costume and Chris took Christmas photos for our loved ones at home.
After our hunger and thirst was satisfied, we continued hiking through the beautiful landscape. It was just fantastic to enjoy the silence. Also it was so special to soak up the overwhelming atmosphere of being on top of the world.
After about 4 hours Chris, contacted the helicopter pilot and arranged a place to pick us up. So we set off to the meeting point. On the way, we stopped at a mountain lake where Chris refilled our water bottles with crystal clear, ice-cold water. Just delicious!
An unforgettable holiday experience
The helicopter appeared to pick us up from paradise. On our way back, we made a stopover at a spectacular viewpoint. We can hardly describe the feeling as our helicopter flew over a mountain ridge and Lake Wanaka appeared before us – just fantastic. Having arrived at the viewpoint, we could enjoy a breathtaking 360 degree Panorama view – simply fantastic. After 10 minutes we had an awesome helicopter flight back to to the helipad.
Summary on our Alpine Lake Heli Hiking Wanaka
We can only say that we had an awesome and unforgettable day – one which we will certainly never forget. Surely every visitor to New Zealand should not to miss out on such an adventure.