Difficult decisions have to be made as the weather forecast down south is not of the best and it is a very long way for our plucky little float plane. After talking with a friendly and conservative pilot from the area we conclude that our safest and most reliable way of getting to Wanaka is to skip the last leg of the Safari to Invercargill and travel more or less direct. This will allow us to bypass the bad weather to the south and save literally hours of flying in uncertain conditions.
We followed the route of the Safari up to Twizel with a bit of turbulence past the Mackenzie Pass. It is an incredibly scenic area from the air (as well as from ground level). Most impressive. The auto gyros were at Omarama when we arrived and we had lunch with them and a long chat with Chris from Southern Soaring who was hugely helpful in telling us about crossing the Lindis Pass and what we might expect there.
Chris suggested that Lake Benmore might be sufficiently sheltered for a float landing so we headed there. The lakes are a fantastic colour and adequately sheltered for a float landing although there was no way we could beach the craft. Perhaps in Wanaka.
After refueling at Omarama we lugged our way through the Lindis and got up to over 6000 feet. Quite scary really. It was near the edge of my tolerance for turbulence and luckily did not last too long. The engine did however get well over the recommended 90 degrees so we need to make it work on each outing and see if we get water in the oil at the next change.
Wanaka is something of an anti climax in some ways and I think we are both pretty pleased to be here.