The four larger ones sat seated beside each other in the back row; the two smaller frames sat beside the helicopter pilot. I was in the back. Claire was in the front.

The motor was gunned and the rotors grunted into spin; we lifted off the tarmac to be carried across the glacially-fed braided Tasman River to Tasman Point. The view was to die for. And when the pilot announced that we would be doing a quick sharp bank due to getting out of the way of an aircraft flight path, the steepness flung us all forward to test the buckle restraints and there were a couple who thought they were … going to be departing this earth.

I think it’s all part and parcel of the flight so as to get more bang for your buck. That, or the pilot has watched ‘Apolocolypse Now’ repeatedly! We disembarked to our awaiting chariots that were transported before us. We had already pedaled seven odd kms from the camp ground to the airport so the altitude topped off what was in store.

Especially when you could see the distance to be ridden, way off in the distance!

It was a mixture of biking terrain – rough shingle to gravel road to smooth shingle to dirt and not in any particular order. However, when you lifted your head and take in the surrounding, it was astonishing to write the least. We are at peace when out doing this sort of stuff. How can you not be when unplugged and in the same sentence, connected.

We followed the eastern shore of Lake Pukaki playing cat and mouse with the other party of cyclists sharing the chopper. Sometimes it was the hare and the tortoise as we were carrying all our worldly possessions. They weren’t, having theirs transported ahead by arrangement. We were tougher!

The colour of grey water evaporated into a deep blue mediterranean colour, it was beautiful. The valley opened up and the legs did their job. We rounded the top end and parked up outside the tourist salmon shop to purchase a re-hydration drink, a packet of sea-salt chips and a rasberry lemonade ice block to quench the hot dusted saddle sore bodies.

We knew we stunk from grime, sun block, insect repellent and sweat however, we believe the sense of smell helps one to remember the experience when reflecting back on what was.

So too does the smell of lavender soap after you have peeled off the apparel to stand butt naked under a shower washing.

Minding with care the bits that weren’t happy sitting all day!

Ya gotta love this country.