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Adrian's adventure

Adrian Williams and I were members of the Peterborough Aero Club in the UK during the early 1970's, long before I became an instructor.  We had taken part in many fly outs to the continent from Peterborough and when I started instructing from Kaitaia in New Zealand he was keen to come for an adventure.  The intention was that I would help him validate his licence then he would take the aircraft away for a few days.


The Piper Warrior 2 operated by the Kaitaia Aero Club at the time of Adrian's visit.

Having spent a day studying the New Zealand differences - Mandatory Broadcasting Zones, low flying etc. we faxed his validating documentation to the CAA.

They responded very quickly and by 10:00 the following morning he had the validation document and was ready to go.

During the evening he invited Dan Goldsberry and myself to join him - we did not need asking twice!

Great Barrier

The first stop was Great Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf, East of Auckland.  This is fairly remote and at the time did not have cell phone coverage and the power was switched off during the evenings.  At one time it had a Pidgeon postal service.

We lunched at the cafe near the aerodrome then pressed on to Rotorua

Lady Knox Geyser

Rotorua is in the Thermal region of the North Island and included in the thermal attractions is the Lady Knox Geyser which is activated every morning by pouring soap powder into it

Waka at night

Maori themed evenings are very popular

White Island

We then set off to Nelson on the North of the South Island.  On the way we had a look at the White Island Volcano.

Base jeg at Nelson
RJD at Nelson

Nelson Aerodrome

Amongst other attractions Nelson has a street comprising quaint period properties.

From Nelson the intention was to fly to Milford Sound, then to Queenstown.  However as we got to Haast we had a couple of problems.  We had filed a flight plan and were required to radio in every half an hour or search and rescue action would be started.  We tried but could not make contact.  We climbed to 8000' to improve radio range but could neither make contact with Christchurch nor another aircraft to get a relay.  We tried the mobile but there was no cell coverage.  We landed at Haast and ran to the Pub where there was a payphone to telephone Christchurch.  Perhaps this event was guidance from the almighty because by the time we had drunk our coffee and eaten our cakes the weathere closed in and we had to abandon flying for that day - and as it turns out the next.  There was a motel on the aerodrome and luckily for us they had a vacancy for 2 nights.
Adrian & Dan at Haast

Adrian (left) and Dan (right) at Haast aerodrome.

As there was cloud & rain in the morning we thought we would take a bus to Wanaka to see the aircraft museum but fouund that we would be unable to get a bus back the same day.  The motel manageress kindly offered us the use of her car for the day so off we went.  The long and winding road through Haast pass was often in cloud and drizzle so our no fly decision was reinforced.  We had a pleasant day in Wanaka.

Haast to Wanaka road

Haast pass

                    Lake Wanaka
Lake Wanaka


     Wanaka trees in Autumn
Wanaka Trees

Adrian was on a tight schedule so the next morning we had to start for home.  We followed the west coast landing at Westport then to Farewell spit crossing the Cook Straight to Hawera to refuel.  There were some spectacular sights on the way.


Mount Cook

                                       Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier

okaritolagoon.jpg    Okarito Lagoon
Farewell Spit

   Farewell Spit                                                 

                   Hawera Aero Club - South coast of the North Island
Harewa Aero Club




                          90 Mile Beach, Kaitaia


                        Home in time for a sundowner!

Unfortunately I have lost contact with Adrian but Dan has written the following about the trip:

"If you are a pilot or know one who loves to fly, one of the best ways to see the natural beauty of New Zealand is to hopscotch from grass strip to small airfield from the top of the North Island to almost the bottom of the South Island.

I had the pleasure of doing this with a pilot from England who wanted to fly New Zealand on his holiday and his former flight instructor, John.  We stopped at little airfields on the edge of some of the best places to visit and got a ride into town for a meal and accommodation and then off to the next destination in the morning.  Some days we stopped at more than one place either for fuel or because what we wanted to see was best seen from the air (eye level with glaciers on the West coast of the South Island). Even though we could have stayed longer at some of  the places there was so much to see that we kept moving.  The hundreds of photos I took will provide memories forever."

Want to talk?  John Nicholls   flyitnz@gmail.com or telephone Land line: +64 (0) 9 406 1974  mobile +64 (0) 27-359 4869 Skype:Flyitnz