He looked over at me, saw the uncontrollable grin spread across my face, and said, "happy.". Not as in a question, as there was no doubt about it, but just a statement, a fact, so simple but so powerfully true...

Flying high over Queenstown and surrounds and over to Milford Sound with Heli Tours Queenstown is a day held preciously in my soul. An aerial perspective of Queenstown drills in how perfect the town is - that glacial blue of Lake Wakatipu, lush green meadows giving way to soaring peaks and only interrupted by quiet, winding roads. It really is a place fit for a Queen. 

As we made our way over to Milford Sound, I was breathless with the beauty of the land. The braided rivers had me almost cry out of sheer fascination. I had first learnt about them via the Instagram of one of my favourite photographers, Chris Burkard - I had never expected to see one for myself. They are so beautiful - meandering on their own free will, wildly twisting back and over themselves, sparkling in that cerulean and milky turquoise blue. What intrigues me most is how otherworldly they seem to us, when they are just nature in her default mode. It's like we have tampered with nature so much that her most wild forms seem odd to us. Whilst it means that we can experience intense awe, it is also kind of sad... 

What also moved me right down to my core, was being so thrillingly close to mountainsides and mountaintops. At one point, I was mesmerised staring out down onto the land from the side window, when I glanced out front and saw a peak rising magnificently out of the clouds. It is just crazy how tall these mountains are. It felt as though I was in a secret universe high above the clouds. To me, the mountains are true divinity and it only takes being able see them to bring me true, overwhelming happiness.

And it should go without saying that shooting from a helicopter is damn amazing. For those wary of flying in a chopper, I can tell you that it was smoother than I thought and I'm not sure whether it was just that laid-back Kiwi spirit, but our pilot was extremely calm and controlled and this permeated throughout the entire experience, extinguishing any nerves one might have had. I only hope that I get to do it again one day, with more time, more control and more space.