THE gasps and cheers of children could be heard in the skies.
It was the sound of about 30 Southland children living with illnesses on a journey to the clouds for this year’s Koru Care Southland trip last weekend.
While the organisation would normally take children to Australia’s Gold Coast and Disneyland, in the United States, Covid-19 meant it had to change its destination this year.
Instead, the children took a one-hour scenic tour over the mountains, valleys and lakes of Te Anau and Queenstown on Saturday.
Koru Care Southland committee member Pauline Gillan, who worked at Southland Hospital with the children on board, said the whole experience was “just wonderful”.
“We thought, there’s nowhere better than our own backyard.
“A lot of the families had not been on a plane before, and children who would not be able to cope with going overseas or overnight on holiday [came along] which was great.”
With many of the children in wheelchairs and all with compromised health, it was a very special experience for all involved.
“We met with all the children for a couple of hours beforehand for them to see children with similar illnesses and to share that moment with each other.”
For the first time, parents and caregivers were also able to take to the skies.
“This was a lovely chance for them both to experience it and it’s something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”
Mickey and Minnie Mouse made an appearance while children had their faces painted and tucked into food given by various Southland organisations.
Koru Care Southland was incredibly grateful to Air New Zealand and the staff on board for making it such a successful day out.