It was a last minute decision, a snap reaction to the most basic of marketing tools: a sign board placed by the side of the road reading: “Scenic Flights” We decided to drop by just before they closed and inquire about the flight over Wineglass Bay. They were using small propeller planes to take people on a 30min to 2h ride above the sea and the mountains in Tasmania’s East coast. We could choose to go North or South and also how long we wanted to stay in the air. We couldn’t drive past without signing up for the next day.
The weather was perfect, crisp and sunny, the idyllic towns genuine and the wildlife very accessible making us feel as if we were in an open air zoo: echidnas, kangaroos, wombats, all by the side of the road, in the fields, in the gardens of our hotel. We grew increasingly aware of the risks cars pose to wildlife when we started to count the road casualties with more than one hand.
We were supposed to take off early morning but the plane had an “issue” and they were not sure when or how it would get fixed and when it would do, whether the wind would be conducive to flying. Because the plane is quite small and flimsy if the wind picks up it is not safe to fly. Suddenly, the strangely familiar laid back atmosphere of South East Asia crept in – where we actually going to take-off? By that time we were really excited so the prospect of our flight being cancelled felt like doom. Without mobile phone signal we were left with the good old ways of doing things “we will come back later to check out on the status”.
There was plenty to see in the Freycinet area so we set off to explore the lonesome beaches and bays we were supposed to be seeing from the air. They did not disappoint. White powder sand, perfectly blue and crisp waves, untamed bushes and peace. It was too cold, even in January, to dip in but the view was nonetheless breath taking.
With our lungs filled with pure fresh air we came back to check out the status. It seemed that the plane had been fixed and provided the weather would not get stronger we would be taking off after lunch. With some more time to spare discovering the area we went back to the entrance of the National Park and enjoyed lunch under the sun facing a beautiful bay flanked by rocks which reminded me of Costa Brava in my beloved country. By that point we were not only childishly impatient to be air borne and close to throwing a tantrum but also curious to see how the postcard perfect beaches and bays we had seen from the ground looked like from the sky.
We finally took off and, as we soared above the perfect contrast of blue and white at Friendly Beach we quickly realized the wait had been absolutely worth it. The view from above was mesmerising. A series of bays, mountains and cliffs that were mostly untouched and uninhabited. Wineglass Bay was exquisite, Freycinet National Park an expanse of forest and hills and the ocean in a gradient of blues covering from the darkest navy blue to the turquoise green. We were excited and very pleased we had waited for the plane to be fixed. What a sight!
The pilot gave us all sorts of explanations but, from the back of the plane, I was barely listening instead taking in the beauty and the happiness I was experiencing at that moment. A lighthouse here, a hidden bay there, a national park on the right, a sailing boat… I always had something for flying. Flights and planes have been at the core of major changes in my life. When I moved to Dubai, to Johannesburg, to Singapore, when I broke my arm and had to get an operation in South Africa, when I had a tough week and was coming home… they say that the altitude and pressure make people prone to crying, I certainly have had my fair share in planes and my preference for Rom-Com movies does not help!