Flying over the Bay of Islands.
What a view.
There is no doubt that New Zealand is a spectacularly beautiful country. Now, take a flight over the Bay of Islands and you'll be blown away.
There is no doubt that New Zealand is a spectacularly beautiful country. Most people see its beauty by road or sea, but another wonderful way to see it is, of course, by air. So much of what you will see from a Salt Air plane is inaccessible by road.
Salt Air, operating out of Haruru Falls Airfield in Paihia, has scenic flights around the Bay of Islands, or will charter flights to any other destination in New Zealand. They fly a Cessna 207 and a Cessna 172, and for their ground operations, have two four-wheel drives.
A five-hour trip begins with a flight along the west coast on Northland, where you see lots of bushy hills, orchards, deep harbours and 90 Mile Beach, which is classified as a public road. You may also see herds of wild horses whose ancestors escaped 50 years ago from farmers' paddocks, and now run freely through the sand dunes.
In about an hour, you will land on the 1800-hectare property owned by sisters Anne-Marie Nilsson and Emily Tyler. They will take you on a three-hour four-wheel drive tour, driving to Cape Reinga Lighthouse at Tapotupotu Bay for morning or afternoon tea. This is where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea, creating the Columbia Bank maelstrom, where waves can rise to 10m. It is almost the northern most part of New Zealand the nearby Surville Cliffs are actually further north by a whisker.
Tereingawarua is a place of great spiritual significance to the Maori people and Anne-Marie and Emily relate the story of the role it plays.
Next stop is around the corner at Tapotoputo Bay, where you take morning or afternoon tea and a swim, if you fancy.
The last stop is the Te Paki quicksand stream with its giant dunes, where sandboarding is a popular pastime. The area that forms Te Paki Farm Park, 23,000 hectares, is made up of a great diversity of landforms and is an ecologically important region. The land and water are home to many scrub and native birds and waterfowl, the very rare flax snail, green gecko and fern bird. The world's only prostrate pittosporum grows there, along with two extremely rare varieties of hibiscus and a prolific tea-tree, which blooms in varying shades of pink. The baked red clay and ironstone soil is ideal for plants that will grow nowhere else.
On the return flight, you will go over Parengarenga Harbour, where you will see sharks, Great Exhibition Bay, Houhora Harbour, the Cavalli Islands and the 150 islands making up the Bay of Islands.
Paihia, 3 and a half hours' drive north of Auckland.
Salt Air operates out of Paihia, and a five-hour Cape Reinga and Northland tour, including flights, four-wheel driving and morning tea, costs $240 per person.Qantas flies daily to Auckland. Return economy airfares start at $549 from the east coast, $749 from Adelaide and $949 from Perth.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
Salt Air Box 293, Paihia, Bay of Islands, NZ
Ph: 0011 64 9 402 8338
Fax: 0011 64 9 402 8302
For a safe and healthy journey, talk to the travel doctor
: 1300 658 844 or visit traveldoctor.com.au