A bird's eye view


Salt Air runs 20 minute scenic helicopter rides from a small landing pad on the beach at Paihia. The helicopter does not look any more substantial than the can of diet coke I have just finished! It is a small 4 seater helicopter with perspex windows and the pilot's controls look like they have been stolen from a Nintendo set.

Fitted with life jackets and safety briefing complete we head off, fortunately the other two passengers are a couple and want to sit together, leaving me the front seat and best views.


We fly out over the bay, home to 144 islands, most of which are uninhabited and uninhabitable, a few have private properties and one island is privately owned. We fly out to the hole in the rock, before turning back to Paihia.

Apparently no-one has tried to fly a heli through the hole in the rock, we will not change those statistics today!

Flying back to base I ask, with perfect timing, where Eagle's Nest is, at that exact moment we are flying by the retreat that is to be my home for the night.