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ilabb x Siberia Experience

In the third capsule of our Let Go series, the team ventured 45 minutes north of Wanaka to a true hidden gem of a town called Makarora where we had the privilege to partner with a small family-owned and operated business; Southern Alps Air to take on what they call the ‘Siberia Experience’.

Now, if you're one for getting claustrophobic then it may be best to take a couple of Melatonins before you jump inside the yellow bumblebee-looking 5-seater aircraft they call Buttercup. But in all seriousness, no tablets are needed to enjoy the truly spectacular and unobstructed views of the UNESCO World Heritage scenery of Mt. Aspiring. Everyone had their own window so no need to game plan on how to get into the plane for the best view, every seat is a hot seat!

The next segment of the Siberia Experience is what really got the blood pumping in all of us as we undertook a manoeuvre that mimicked that of a gymnast performing a ribbon floor routine. Our planes one by one took aim into the valley and effortlessly twirled down, almost as if there was a spiral staircase guiding them into land in and amongst the low-lying fog.

With our rucksacks packed and Ohau puffer jackets zipped we took our first steps in Siberia Valley and grabbed contouring charts as if we were all High School Orienteering Champions mapping out the best route to hit all the waterfalls and trails. Our pilot stepped in and guided us across the crystal-clear Siberia Stream and waved us goodbye as once again we were left to caper like a flock of sheep on the valley floor.

Over the course of the next 3 hours, we hiked a combined 13km, drank water straight from waterfalls, shared sammies with like-minded hikers, cooled off with a few swan dives in Siberia Stream itself all whilst having the peaks of the misnamed Mt. Dreadful and Mt. Awful peeking over us. Why these peaks bear these names are unbeknownst to us because they are anything but.

As our time in the valley came to an end we met back at the tarmac and had one final glance at what may just be the most breath taking sights in all of the lands. Our team has nothing but positives to say about the whole Southern Alps Air family and how amazing they were to work with. We cannot recommend them enough for anyone looking to escape reality even if it's just for a few hours. Please visit their website for all the information on this truly epic experience.