AIR MILFORD OFFERS AFFORDABLE LOCALS’ FLIGHTS

AIR MILFORD OFFERS AFFORDABLE LOCALS’ FLIGHTS 1500 1438 The Flyer Magazine

AIR MILFORD OFFERS AFFORDABLE
LOCALS’ FLIGHTS

TO BRANCHES STATION

Air Milford has been flying local skies for 22 years with owner Hank Sproull having clocked up almost 50 years in aviation. However, Hank says he’s never encountered ‘head winds’ of the magnitude that the COVID-19 crisis has unleashed.

It’s been back to survival basics. Hank’s son and chief pilot Antony Sproull says they’ve started afresh with the support of local agents and hotels, and courteous landowners like those of Branches Station. “On October 10 we’re again going to call on that support by sharing our spectacular ‘office window’ and flying locals to the iconic Branches Station.”

“We’re being encouraged to explore our own country and we’ve had an amazing response from Kiwis wanting to fly,” says Antony. “However, most local residents have never even visited one of the most beautiful parts of the country, just 10 minutes flight from Queenstown.”

Antony,-with-a-copy-of-'Long-Drops-and-Hard-Knocks',-ready-to-book-passengers-for-the-flight-of-their-lives-into-Branches-Station.

Antony, with a copy of ‘Long Drops and Hard Knocks’, ready to book passengers for the flight of their lives into Branches Station.

The privately-owned, 33,000ha high country sheep station sprawls majestically, beyond the craggy cliff overhangs of one of New Zealand’s most hair-raising canyon roads, the Skippers Road, at the headwaters of the Shotover River. It has its own airstrip so Air Milford has obtained special permission from the owners to fly locals in on return flights. Antony’s hoping families will also take up this once only offer as the perfect Father’s Day gift for Dad with Father’s Day approaching on September 6.

Air Milford’s luxurious Cessna Caravans will operate a 20-minute flight in, taking in the mass grandeur of the station and its surrounds, flying over Lochnagar, the station’s treasured mountain tarn, only accessible through a steep, arduous climb.

“We’ll also fly over Mount Aspiring National Park’s Tindall, Bonar, Rob Roy, Dart and Isobel glaciers,” says Antony, a taste of Air Milford’s successful Milford Sound and Big 5 Glaciers trip that sells for $399 per adult.

Once on the ground there’ll be approximately 45-minutes to explore the station lodges and Wakatipu High School Branches Camp site with great farm-style, homemade scones, jam and cream, coffee and tea.

A Wakatipu High School graduate, Branches Station has a special significance for Antony and is very dear to his heart. He completed the school’s legendary 12-day, Branches Camp, a highly-prized, character-building rite of passage for Year 10 students, back in 1998. He even makes a small cameo appearance in the Branches Charitable Trust’s recently-launched 50th anniversary book, Long Drops and Hard Knocks.

“It’s just such a unique place and I really want to share that specifically with parents and kids who haven’t had this opportunity,” he says.

The Sproulls are hoping as many as 100 locals will take up the offer so space will be ‘first come, first served’. The one-off trip is priced at just $150 per adult with a koha donation for kids. All kids’ koha proceeds will go to the Branches Charitable Trust, which heavily subsidises the camp.

Sunday, October 11, has also been reserved in case of any weather issues.