Graeme Sinclair visits Taranaki
2nd March 2013Graeme Sinclair from the TradeZone Gone Fishin Show visited Precision Helicopters on Saturday morning for a fly around New Plymouth. He was visiting Taranaki for the kayaking fishing competition. As only right for a celebrity of Graeme's status, Matt, PHL's Chief Pilot and CEO, was the pilot (not that any other pilot got a look in!)
Matt wrote the following description of the trip:
The flight was scheduled for one o'clock in the afternoon but Graeme's a bit of an early riser and turned up around 7am! He likes the morning light for filming because there's more contrast of shadows which brings out the contours of the terrain.
We decided to head up the mountain first while it was calm. As we flew south west towards the mountain, we flew over the McKee oil fields and prime dairy country on the ring plane of the mountain. We then entered into the Egmont National Park. I pointed out to Graeme that Taranaki was the land of milk and honey, floating on a sea of oil and gas!
We headed up through the Rimu forest of the park checking out pristine trout streams. The National Park is a real time capsule; like visiting New Zealand 300 years ago. DoC do their best to not let non native animals into the park and as a result, it looks a picture.
We climbed up the south west side of the mountain into the Ahukawakawa Swamp. The mountain cedar forest on the south west side have been carved by constant battering of the sou'wester. We then checked out the northern loop walkway, over Bells Falls, and then onto the summit via Fanthams Peak. Sir Edmund Hilary often used to visit Taranaki and enjoyed climbing Mt Taranaki on the Fanthams Peak Route. There is a step named after him below Fantham's Peak.
We circled to the summit to find a group of about twenty people who had gone up the hard way! They all gave a big wave as if they knew Graeme was on board. Sandee, Graeme's wife was in the back and had instructions to take lots of photos but she was too busy hanging on as there were no doors on the helicopter! It didn't phase Bruce, the cameraman, or Graeme, who both got some stunning video footage.
From the summit we descended down the Stoney River that has carved an amazing and huge escarpment down the side of the mountain. We then flew over the Pouakai ranges, Taranaki's second oldest volcano and then on to Kaitake, the third oldest volcano. Finally we flow down to the Paritutu volcano - the oldest of them all!
The coast line was a buzz from Oakura through to Urenui. Dozens of kayak fishermen and plenty of boats on a glistening sea. Graeme got some great footage and Sandee may have started taking photos around this point as she got her faculties back together!
We couldn't have staged a better show for Graeme - it appeared that everyman and his dog were out fishing!
We cruised the water front of New Plymouth and landed back at Urenui for a break. After a quick reset of the camera gear, away we went again up to Matapeka Falls (aka Jurassic Falls) En route we flew the Hutawai wet land disturbing pigs sleeping in the wallows. The sun had just made it into the waterfall and it was spectacular. The waterfall is the ninth wonder of the world and was one of Tom Cruise's favourite places to visit in Taranaki.
We then headed up to Mokau River and checked out Mangatoi Station - an abandoned mining village and sheep station. Mangatoi has seen a new lease of life with over 400 breeding cows and 700 bee hives harvesting Manuka Honey. This sleeping giant is slowly waking up after being abandoned from 1930 through to the 1970s.
The Mokau River is known for its white bait and Graeme was keen to come back during the season for a fish and a pig hunt.
We flew back along the northwest coast and came across about a hundred fisherman perched on isolated fishing ledges all the way home. It was high tide and they were hauling them in!
The trip was sponsored by Venture Taranaki and Precision Helicopters Ltd. Graeme and Sandee thoroughly enjoyed the experience and are keen to come back.
As Graeme was getting into his car, he said he was looking for some memento for his man cave. So I crawled up into the attic and gave him some time expired tail rotor blades off an AS350 Squirrel we once had - he was stoked! Graeme responded in turn by giving me a copy of his latest book "Life on Wheels".
I found Graeme a real Kiwi bloke and a great ambassador for the promotion of our outdoor way of life. I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with him and Sandee.
Thanks for lunch Graeme and we'll see you again in Taranaki sometime soon!
You can read more about Graeme and Sandee's trip and information about the Kayak Classic Competition here.
Graeme's flight was part sponsored by Venture Taranaki