Wanaka, New Zealand

Weather: high of about 70ºF, low of about 50ºF and sunny

After so much rain, we didn't really count on a lovely day, but we jumped on the opportunity when it came.  We hired a plane to show us around the valley.  The weather wasn't so clear that we'd be able to see Mt Cook, but there were plenty of other mountains to be seen.

In case you have been faithfully watching the Wanaka live webcam looking for us, we haven't stepped in front of it lately, but maybe tomorrow on our way out of town...

We had to drive 40 minutes out into the country to pick up the plane because the owner of the company had flown it there when he was too lazy just to drive his car.
We got pretty close to some of the snow covered peaks.  With all the recent rain, they had about a meter of fresh snow in the last few days.
That meter of snow on the peaks translates to a lot of rain on the hillsides, and that caused some flooding and road washouts that we encountered on our way into town.  Here you can see the chocolate brown water from the flooded stream mixing with the deep blue lake water.
Just like every other inch of New Zealand, there was some LOTR filming that the locals had seen.  This bit of sheep paddock was used for some horse chase scene with "hundreds of horses" according to our pilot.  He said the airspace over the paddock was off-limits during filming, but that just made the locals fly low in circles over the area to see what they could see.  A local paper called this the site of the "Flight to the Ford" scene where Arwen is chased by the black riders.
And here's just another typical view of mountains and streams and lakes, yada yada yada.  Actually just after this shot, I started concentrating less on photographs and more on not getting airsick.  I had to tell the pilot to cut out all the steep turns and dives.

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