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Author: Katamarino

Round the World – New Zealand 2, Part 6

Round the World – New Zealand 2, Part 6

It had been a great pleasure to see more of New Zealand from the air; but, you miss a lot when travelling by aircraft as it’s not practical to just pull over and stop! The complete lack of tourists (caused by New Zealand’s borders being slammed shut) meant that the cost of car and camper van rental was at an all time low, so I acquired a small camper van for a few weeks in order to explore some of…

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Round the World – New Zealand 2, Part 5

Round the World – New Zealand 2, Part 5

There are a few small airports in the Nelson region which I had not previously visited; and some which I had, but were worth a return visit. The first new airport was Motueka, just up the coast from Nelson and home to a busy flight training center, an aero club, and plenty of private owners. Apparently the field had become busier since the latest managers of Nelson airport started to introduce policies and inflated fees that seemed designed to drive…

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Round the World – New Zealand 2, Part 4

Round the World – New Zealand 2, Part 4

I had to head back to Auckland to finalise some paperwork for the aircraft. This was a bit inconvenient, but at least New Zealand is not too huge a country to fly the length of, and the trip could be completed in just a few hours. I took an “Uber” out to Air Milford, where I chatted for a while with Ant and the others about the current weather conditions. It was blowing hard from the west, condition which cause…

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Round the World – New Zealand 2, Part 3

Round the World – New Zealand 2, Part 3

My next destination was to be the city of Queenstown. New Zealand’s main city, Auckland, was currently under a travel ban, and I was therefore expecting Queenstown to be fairly quiet; my suspicions turned out to be correct. I still had plenty of fuel on board after my flight down from the North Island, so I set straight off from Nelson, on a direct track to Queenstown. The terrain south of Nelson rapidly becomes mountainous. On this morning, there was…

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Round the World – New Zealand 2, Part 2

Round the World – New Zealand 2, Part 2

A few days later, it was time to head out of Auckland towards New Zealand’s South Island. First, though, I’d spend a few nights with a friend in Rotorua, as well as visiting the “Hobbiton” filming location from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. The good weather was back, and the sun beat down on me as I pulled Planey out of the hangar and closed the doors behind us. Even late winter in North Island New Zealand…

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Round the World – New Zealand 2, Part 1

Round the World – New Zealand 2, Part 1

It felt very strange to be standing on the street in Auckland, not wearing a mask, free to go on with my day. I jumped on a bus back out to the international airport to go and collect my rental car; given the lack of tourists, some truly excellent deals had been available. Half way to the airport, the bus broke down. Things were off to a typical 2020 start. After collecting my car, I headed straight to the airport….

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Dakotas part 5 – Bismark, ND to Pittsburgh, PA

Dakotas part 5 – Bismark, ND to Pittsburgh, PA

The next morning Juvy was up for the sunrise, getting some great photographs as the day dawned. We walked over to the nearby Fort Buford historic site, which we had been camping next to, to take a look around. Fort Buford State Historic Site is the preserved remnants of a frontier plains military post. The fort was built in 1866 and became a major supply depot for military field operations. Features still existing on the site include a stone powder…

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Dakotas part 4 – Yellowstone, WY to Bismark, ND

Dakotas part 4 – Yellowstone, WY to Bismark, ND

The following morning we spent a little time in Cody, before moving on. We started off with breakfast at the Hotel Irma, a Buffalo Bill themed establishment in the center of town. The food was tasty in and enormous quantities! The commitment to the theme was impressive, with even the waiting staff being decked out in old time wild west clothing. We feasted on pancakes, bacon, and other American goodies to get our day off to a solid start. Before…

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Dakotas part 3 – Spearfish, SD to Yellowstone, WY

Dakotas part 3 – Spearfish, SD to Yellowstone, WY

The night in Spearfish was cold and damp. Thank goodness for good tents and sleeping bags. By the next morning, however, the weather had improved and the sun was starting to show itself. We took off VFR out of Spearfish and headed west across Wyoming. Regrettably, most of the photos from this section have also gone missing, although one does remain; it records the radio navigation beacon that we found on the IFR charts with an interesting name. Our destination…

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Dakotas part 2 – Mitchell, SD to Spearfish, SD

Dakotas part 2 – Mitchell, SD to Spearfish, SD

It was a peaceful night next to Lake Mitchell. At this time of year in South Dakota nighttime temperatures were nice and cool, ideal for camping. After packing up the site, we drove back out to the Mitchell airport and returned the crew car with a full tank of gas. It really is a great service that so many airports offer, a loaner car to get around after you’ve arrived! Our flight today would take us 200 miles west across…

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