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The family is finally here!

I had been excited for my family to arrive all the way through Australia and the day was finally there!  We got the text they had arrived and made our way down to the car to meet them.  My mom and sister were already upstairs at the hostel and everyone was hugs and smiles when we ran into each other.   For us it felt like were finally getting off the travel path for a few minutes to relax with family and it was a much needed break!   I’m not really one to get home sick but I was happier to see my family in this instance than almost any other in my life.

We made our way up to the rental house and got settled in.  Ashley and I were in the downstairs room.  Having been on the road for a while and staying in small and sometimes run down places, we got to our room and we were both ecstatic!  The room felt like a mansion to us and we even had a couch in our room! (we never even sat on it…)   We were both so excited for our family to be there and also very excited to have a nice place to stay for the next week.   We spent the rest of the day checking out Queenstown with the family and then picking up some food for dinner at the store.   Home cooked meals!!  Heck yeah!  We spent the night relaxing at the house which was perched nicely above Queentown.  There was a perfect view of the mountains on one side, city in the middle, and lake on the other.

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On our first day together we had discussed the activities we could do in Queenstown.  Queenstown is basically the adventure capital of the world.   There are so many activities to pick from here you would need weeks or months to even attempt them all.   One of the things Ashley and I had looked into was a helicopter tour.   Neither of us had ever been on one and we had specifically picked Queenstown as the place we wanted to give it a shot.   You can take a helicopter tour a lot of different places but usually it’s just a quick flight down the beach or around an island.   We wanted it to be something unique and interesting.

The family was on board to do the helicopter tour so we had called and booked it the day prior.   They had a spot open the next day and the weather was supposed to be nice so we decided to do the helicopter tour early so we didn’t miss it due to bad weather.

We arrived at the airport area and found the helicopter operator.  We had a short wait and then the helicopters came roaring into the landing pads that were placed unnecessarily close the hanger.   A couple groups exited the helicopters and the pilots weren’t far behind.  The left the rotors going while they were refueling it and the pilots took a short break.   Before long we were introduced to our pilot who seemed older and a pretty happy guy so that was a good start.

We jumped into the helicopter and we were quickly headed off for our 45 minute round trip flight to a glacier!   As we crossed over the airport there was a huge amount of air traffic for such a small airport.  There were helicopters and small private planes crossing every which way.   We made our way over the mountains with Queenstown out the left hand side.  We eventually found the glacier we were landing on and the pilot set down with instructions not to go behind the helicopter.    Everyone hopped out and we had about 10 to 15 minutes (felt like 30 seconds) to take photos on the glacier.   He left the rotors running again the whole time we were there.

After our quick pit stop we were headed back to the helicopter.  I was riding shotgun on the way to the glacier and Ashley and my sister rode shotgun on the way back.     The whole experience was absolutely stunning.  The helicopter was really cool to ride in and the experience of landing on the glacier was truly epic!   Everyone was all smiles the whole time and this was easily one of the biggest highlights of our entire round the world trip.

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