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The Long White Cloud Tour

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Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

Hi All,
I am sorry to say I did not complete leg #3 today.

Last week I installed a new graphics card, which has been giving me a lot of troubles for the past few days. I thought it would have it fixed by today, but unfortunately, the situation has worsened. The quality of the virtual world that I’d be flying over is still appalling, and not at all good for snapping screenshots.

I will hopefully have fixed my graphics by next weekend, or got a new graphics card, and will be able to continue the tour.

Sorry again for the delay, I hope I still retain your interest.

Pro Member Captain
NoWorries Captain

Hey Cheeky, I've been really busy and somehow missed your first two legs!

It is looking like a great trip so far! My favorite is the mountain picture, the 5th shot of the 2nd leg!

You've really got a beautiful island, and you screenshots are showing it off nicely!

Looking forward to the next leg(s)!

Pro Member Captain
Faucett Captain

Good to see you haven't given up CT, best of luck. We'll be waiting!!! Smile

Radio K.A.O.S.

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

Sorry to let you all down again, but my computer is still at the IT shop being fixed.

I am not too sure whose fault this is, perhaps my own for not following up advice given to me by certain people, or maybe the shop’s fault for taking what seems like a ridiculously long time to sort out a few simple problems.

Anyway, I am dieing to get back to my tour, and I promise you that as soon as possible I will be departing Wellington to continue my Long White Cloud Tour.

I apologies for prolonging the breaks in between each leg and hope that I do not loose your support.


Pro Member Chief Captain
crosscheck9 Chief Captain

You will always have support from us Wink -- Don't worry about the delay; we understand that there are many technical problems that could present themselves to anyone of us, so don't worry about losing your audeince -- We'll be waiting Cool

Have you ever had that feeling, where everything just seems right, and you have no cares in the world..As if heaven smiled down upon you, and told you everything was going to be ok?

Yea, neither have I

Pro Member Chief Captain
99jolegg Chief Captain

crosscheck9 wrote:

You will always have support from us Wink -- Don't worry about the delay; we understand that there are many technical problems that could present themselves to anyone of us, so don't worry about losing your audeince -- We'll be waiting Cool

Thumbs Up!

Click below to support FSF:

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

Once again I am afraid I have nothing to report on.

I have my computer back, although nothing has been fixed. The IT guys say they card seems to be the problem, although the person who sold it to me assures me that it is working fine... so the only piece of advice I can share is 1) do not go to NFC Technology if you live in Auckland, and 2) Do not buy computer components from untrustworthy people you do not know and who do not offer you a guarantee.

Instead of flying my tour this weekend, I spent my time at my local airport doing a bit of planespotting. If you are interested, you can view my collection of photos here:

As for the future of the tour, well, if anyone can find another Geforce FX5600 256mb graphics card, let me know, and all will be as it was in Leg #1, if not, then I have no idea what will happen next.

Pro Member Chief Captain
crosscheck9 Chief Captain

Sorry to hear your having trouble CT -- If its any consolation, rest assured we will still be here when your tour carries on Wink -- As far as finding another 5600, I'll look around for you Wink

Have you ever had that feeling, where everything just seems right, and you have no cares in the world..As if heaven smiled down upon you, and told you everything was going to be ok?

Yea, neither have I

Pro Member Chief Captain
crosscheck9 Chief Captain

Cheeky, I found a well priced GeForce 5600 with available extended warranty if it is faulty. Shipping, however, is not included in the price. I'm not familiar with this particular cards price range, so I can't judge whether its reasonable or not, however you might want to consider it - Good Luck Wink

Have you ever had that feeling, where everything just seems right, and you have no cares in the world..As if heaven smiled down upon you, and told you everything was going to be ok?

Yea, neither have I

Pro Member Captain
Thunderbirdman2 Captain

Kool Cool


Pro Member Chief Captain
VegasFlyer Chief Captain

Hope you fix the problem soon CT Cheers!

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain


Well everyone, after installing yet another graphics card (this time it’s a nVidia FX5600 128m), I am pleased to announce that I am ready to continue my tour after the long delay!

After 3 weeks of no flight simulation, it felt dam good to be back in the pilots seat today, as I flew leg 3 of the Long White Cloud Tour, leaving the North Island and venturing across the Cook Straight, and down the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

I started the ignition, and was thrilled to hear the Carenado C206 engine rumble to life again after sitting dormant on the Wellington International (NZWN) GA apron for so long. I contacted ATC and requested take off from runway 34 so I could fly past the CBD and over the harbour as I departed from the nation’s capital city.

As my wheels lifted off the tarmac, a feeling of excitement returned, that I had missed greatly while not being able to run the sim. I climbed up to 3000 feet and observed the old freeware photoreal scenery that would soon be replaced by REAL NZ’s latest payware addon, and enjoyed taking in the view as I completed a 360 degree turn, flew back overhead the airport, and turned to a heading of 249 to head towards my next stop, Nelson (NZNS) which was 72 miles away.

I left landfall and ventured across the channel that splits the country in half, and which just happens to be the theme for the NZFF monthly screenshot competition. Within 10 minutes I had reached the tips of the Marlborough Sounds at the very top of the South Island, and decided to go off course a little to explore the beautiful scenic area made possible thanks to the amazing detail of Redbaron Entertainments 20m mesh package.

The path to Nelson which should have only taken me about 20 minutes lasted for another 45 minutes as I explored all the different inlets that make this region such a unique natural playground. If I had had it my way then I would have spent a lot more time here, and I am definitely going to return once I finish the tour, perhaps I’ll take a microlight up for the afternoon or something…

Anyway, as I flew within 30nm of Nelson airport, I was able to pick up ATC yet was finding it hard to navigate using VFR with the low cloud setting in hiding the hilltops of the Bryant Ranges. With my low altitude, flying into a cloud mass might have resulted in a hillside accident, so I swung around hard to the left to avoid any visual or physical obstacles, and no sooner had I passed the ridge, the township of Nelson popped up below me, and I made a smooth descent and touch and go landing.

After rolling along the A320 capable tarmac runway, I pulled up and climbed away from NZ’s “Sunshine Capital” and levelled off at 3000 feet. My next stop Karamea (NZKM), was an airport that was halfway between Nelson, and the next, next airport, Westport, and I thought I might as well visit there as I had never flown in the region ever before on flightsim.

I banked right above the town of Richmond, which looked just as good as photoreal thanks to the brilliant Redbaron landclass package, and set my heading to 252 degrees for the 50 mile trip over the Tasman Mountains. The low cloud was still hanging about, contrasting against the green foothills below and matching the c206’s paint scheme nicely.

As the slopes below me increased, I realised that I would need to climb up to at least 6000 feet to clear the terrain, as the mountain range in front of me was a lot bigger than I had anticipated. Once I reached a safe height, I looked down on the rugged land below me and was very, very impressed with how Redbaron’s Mesh and Topo packages complimented each other to create such a realistic environment.

Soon I could see the sea on the horizon and began my decent into the unmanned airfield, following the Karamea River though a gorge towards the coast. Out my window I could see a gravel runway, and lined up with the ‘19’ end to make my second t&g for the day. I could only spot three or four buildings with autogen on max, and was pleasantly surprised with the peaceful atmosphere the virtual location represented on my screen, and decided that it was definitely worth the 25 minute journey.

I climbed up to 3000 feet again after bouncing back off the ground, ready for a short stint to the town of Westport (NZWS), which was only 39 miles away at a heading of 196 degrees. Using the coastline as a guide, I followed the sea until I could make out a settlement on the shoreline, ready for another touch and go. It was only after tuning into the Unicom to announce I would be landing on runway 4, that I looked at my clock and realised that because of all the time I had spent exploring off-route, I had under estimated the amount of time needed to finish the leg, and unfortunately I had to go to work.

Planning ahead, I decided to make a full stop landing, park up and pause the sim, then finish off the leg once I returned home in the evening, 5 real world hours away…

Last edited by ceetee on Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total
Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain

I made a successful full stop landing at Westport, and parked up on the grass as there were no taxiway or terminal facilities available at this small provincial airport.

I paused the sim and hurriedly changed into my work clothes and dashed off to the supermarket which I work 5 hours on Saturday afternoons, earning money towards my new system needed to run FSX Wink

When I returned, the first thing I did was get back to the computer and cranked up the engine once again, ready to complete leg 3 of my Long White Cloud tour. With over half a tank left of fuel, I taxied across the grass to runway 22, then lowered my flaps and applied full throttle, and took off towards my next destination, Greymouth (NZGM).

The small west coast town- with the rather un-exciting name- was 47 miles away, and sits, as you may have guessed, at the mouth of the River Grey. I climbed up to 3000 feet, and set autopilot on, allowing me to sit back and relax as I followed the coastline south enjoying the wonderful scenic views around me.

Within 20 minutes, it was time to descend again as the rooftops of Greymouth became visible below me, and to my surprise, the area did not look as dull as its name suggests, but rather pretty in it’s isolated surroundings.

With no manned ATC system, I was allowed to choose what runway to land at, and picked runway 19 as it made the most logical sense for my flight path. In just a few seconds, I performed a quick landing, touching down a little to far down the tarmac than I would have liked, and needed to pull up sharply in order to make it to my final destination today, Hokitika (NZHK).

Nearing the end of the leg, the coastal town of Hokitika was only 18 miles away, so I saw no need to climb up very high for the 15 minute flight. Instead, I just cruised along at 1500 feet, following state highway 6 (The entire NZ road and rail network is included as part of the Redbaron topo addon) for the next 19 miles.

I soon reached my Hokitika area photoreal scenery boundary (part of the old Godzone package), which was the reason that I had decided to include this location on my tour, and before making a full stop landing on runway 31, I explored the area around the Kokatahi River for a while.

While the photoreal was impressive, the reason I had wanted to fly over it was to see how well it merged in with the Redbaron landclass. As I predicted, the landclass was so accurately colored, that I could hardly tell there was in fact a boundary between the photo texture and updated landclass.

After a very enjoyable flight, I parked up and switched off the engines for a final time today, completing the third and most enjoyable so far, leg of the tour. I am sorry for the long delay between flights, but I hope what I have shared with you today has captured your attention again.

Thanks for reading, I must go to bed now as it is 1:08am now!

Last edited by ceetee on Sun Sep 10, 2006 2:23 am, edited 1 time in total
Pro Member Chief Captain
crosscheck9 Chief Captain

Your on FIRE CT!! Laughing

Have you ever had that feeling, where everything just seems right, and you have no cares in the world..As if heaven smiled down upon you, and told you everything was going to be ok?

Yea, neither have I

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain


To make up for the long break between Leg 2 and 3, I decided that I would spend my afternoon completing Leg 4 of the Long White Cloud tour.

Back at Hokitika (NZHK), I started up the Stationair ready to start my next flight, spanning the width of the country, leaving this small west coast town and heading across the Southern Alps mountain range to the east coast city of Timaru (NZTU), 96 miles away.

I seemed to be the only aircraft at the airdrome, and with no manned ATC system, I choose runway 2 for take off, and began my climb up to 7000 feet to clear the mountain tops in front of me.

As I ascended, I peered down at the lush green wetlands below me. This region of the west coast is famous for its large amount of rainfull, and it looked beautifully recreated in the simulator thanks to the Godzone photoreal textures I had installed.

After 10 minutes I was high enough to level off and cruise above the rocky peaks, which began to turn more and more white colored, as I flew on at 151 degrees, towards the snowcapped highlands. This time, I felt no need to go exploring off route as the mountain-scape surrounding me was absoulty stunning in every direction that I looked in. This area was definitely where the Redbaron 20m mesh really comes into it’s own, and although New Zealand has a wide range of landscapes, the central South Island is always the most extreme and most fun to fly over.

They say ‘time flies when your having fun’ and it certainly did for me, because the terrain below me started to smooth out below me, molding itself into foothills, and I began descending down to 5500 feet towards the sea on the other side of the country.

I managed to pick up NZTU on the radio once I was with 30 miles of the Richard Pearce Airport (named after a local farmer who is known to be NZ’s first man to fly, and believed to have done so before the Wright Brothers), and choose runway 18 to land on as a emerged out of the Ben McLeod Range above the Canterbury Plains.

With the sun low in the sky, I arrived over the Timaru district photoreal scenery-which is where I took the preview screenshot of ZK-RBE at the top of the page- and made my way towards the city, keeping at an altitude of 2000 feet, before passing over the airport and doing a flyby of the town.

The sky was turning a fantastic purple colour as I banked onto finals and then bounced down to a full stop landing, 1 hour and 6 minutes after departing Hokitika. I taxied to the one story terminal and filled up my 40% full tanks, which didn’t really need topping up yet, but I saw it as an excuse to visit the quaint little airfield addon, from where the South Canterbury Virtual Aero Club operate from.

No sooner than I had stopped, it was time to bring the engine to life again, and switch on the lights as I rolled across the grass to runway 11, ready to take off to Lake Tekapo (NZTL). This small airport was another custom airport built by Robin Corn (the same designer who created the NZTU and all the REAL NZ scenery), nestled in the centre of the mountains which was 25 minutes away back in the direction I had just come from. I had visited Tekapo on holiday a few years ago, and to this day, I still personally think that it is the most beautiful place on the whole of planet earth, thanks to the sheer purity and serenity of its location.

I climbed up to 6000 feet and headed at 274 degrees towards the setting sun that created a very peaceful atmosphere over the twilight landscape below.

The evening flight across the Hunter Hills may only have been a short hop, but the amazing scenery made it feel ever so realistic and I truly recommend you try taking this hop for yourselves (NZTU-NZTL) if you are using the Redbaron mesh.

In the distance, I could see mountains parting, giving way to a glacier fed lake, which I knew was my next destination. I radioed the Tekapo Unicom and announced I would be making a touch and go landing, and with no other traffic around, I descended down towards runway 18. Again, I had some photoreal scenery installed for the region which looked magnificent, even in the fading light.

After rolling along the strip for a few seconds, I accelerated skywards for the last time today, climbing up above the countries second biggest lake, which thanks to the Redbaron freeware NZ landclass and waterclass package looked just as I remember it from real life- clear and blue.

Instead of flying the standard route to my final stop for today, Mount Cook Village (NZMC), which at a straight heading of 294 was only 19 nm from Tekepo, I decided to be adventures, and headed west up the Cass Glacier, climbing up to 8000 feet to get a good view of the blissful surroundings.

Once I was high above the mountain peaks again, I spotted the countries highest peak, Mount Cook, to my right but then I had to turn away towards it’s lower slopes to make a landing on it’s the at the village settlement base. After turning back eastwards, I found a valley and descended down to 3000 feet until I had a visual on the custom built addon airport. I radioed the traffic frequency and chose to land on runway 31 which faced away from the mountain, and touched down only 21 minutes after leaving Tekapo.

I parked up at the small wooden terminal and switched off the engines, ecstatically happy with how well the flight went, and glad that the low evening sun had provided me with such a memorable flight experience for leg #4 of the Long White Cloud Tour.

Thanks for following my travels once again,
I hope you look forward to the final leg #5 next week as much as I am!

Pro Member Chief Captain
ceetee Chief Captain


Well here we are at long last, time to complete the 5th and final leg of the Long White Cloud tour, making my way to the very final airport, Milford Sound, in the deep south of the country.

I set the time of day to dawn as I loaded up my flight at Mount Cook Village (NZMC) today. As I taxied to the runway, light snow showered down upon me, and I climbed up away from the beautiful little airport nestled right in the centre of the mountains.

Turning to a heading of 165 degrees, I followed the shoreline of Lake Pukaki eastbound, towards my next destination, Omarama (NZOA), which was still 44nm away. Just like Lake Tekapo, the glacier fed lake had a light turquoise glow to it, which contrasted brilliantly with the white snow covered mountains that where just beginning to reveal themselves in the early morning light.

I reached the end of the lake, and was flying over the town of Twizel when I picked up the Unicom for Omarama, a town I had never even heard of before this tour, but decided to visit the location as it was nearby. I choose to land on runway 27 and touched down 31 minutes after leaving Mount Cook.

Making a brief roll along the dirt strip, I pulled up again and had to climb steeply to clear the Hawkdun Range Mountains, as I turned to a heading of 222 degrees towards Wanaka (NZWF), the airport famous for hosting the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest airshow each two years. REAL NZ sell a payware addon for this airport which includes both normal airport scenery, and the ‘Warbirds over Wanaka’ airshow scenery which I am yet to buy, but after reading the recent review on AVsim, I will be sure to add it to my collection soon.

The powdery white snow on the ground below soon fazed into brown hillsides, which then in turn merged into the Godzone Wanaka photoreal addon I had installed, and it wasn’t long before I had competed the 34 mile hop, and descended over the shores of Lake Wanaka, 25 minutes late.

While I was trying to decrease my altitude, my Cessna 206 was pitching up way too much even though it was trimmed out perfectly, so I decided to make an unscheduled full stop landing on runway 11 to re-calibrate my joystick. I made an awkward touchdown, and sat parked at the side of the runway sorting my joystick settings out. I soon had everything back to normal, but was kicking myself because I didn’t have the REAL NZ package installed. What a perfect opportunity this would have been to view it!

Anyway, I taxied back to runway 11, and took off smoothly climbing up over the photoreal scenery towards my next destination, Alexandra (NZLX), which was 29 miles south east from Wanaka. If I had followed the straight GPS line, then I would have left the photoreal almost immediately, so I turned off route (not for the first time on this tour), banking north eastwards to explore the area covered by the Godzone addon I had previously mentioned.

I spent 15 minutes on my little detour, but soon arrived back at the landclass boundary and spotted a tarmac runway out of the corner of my eye. I aimed for it, and told the Unicom that I’d be making my touch and go on runway 14, then made a steep dive down from my altitude of 4000 feet to touch the tarmac at Alexandra, a town known for having some of the most varied temperatures in the country- very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter, thanks to the bowl shaped valley it sits in.

Within a few seconds, I pulled up again and began climbing up to 8500 feet, to clear “The Remarkables” that sat in front of me, blocking me off from my next destination, Queenstown (NZQN), the town nicknamed The Adventure Capital of the World, because of all the extreme sports that are based around there.

I was taking a screenshot, when all of a sudden the engine cut out, and I realized that I had hit the engine auto-shutdown key by accident. It gave me a scare, but I managed to get it going again, and continue my climb up to clear the mountain tops, and get a good clear signal from Queenstown tower, who instructed me to make my landing on runway 5.

I descended down above Lake Wakatipu, and entered the airport pattern, 30 miles after leaving Alexandra. Once again, I happened to have some brilliant freeware scenery installed for the area, which included the airport and photoreal ground textures, but didn’t have time to make a full stop landing, after loosing time from my joystick incident at Wanaka, and then my photoreal exploring detour.

After the 20 minute hop, I was cleared to land by the first ATC voice I had heard since leaving Nelson, and made a touch and go on the runway which I had visited in real life a few years ago in an Air New Zealand 737.

I had plenty of tarmac to roll along before I had to pull up again, and made the most of the Queenstown photoreal by exploring off route again, checking out the effects of turbulence generated from the brown Harris Mountains, and the view of the Shotover River, famous for it’s high adrenaline jet boat rides that I had been on when in my real life visit.

I flew back overhead the airport to begin my final hop to the 24th and final airport on my flightplan, Milford Sound (NZMF). I then ventured out across the lake again and, following it’s shoreline straight into the centre of the Fiordland region, at the very bottom left hand corner of the country.

The mountains began to get higher and whiter again, and I found myself climbing above the Fiordland National Park home to another world famous tourist hotspot, the Milford Track.

I cruised along above the peaks heading at 277 degrees for a good 30 minutes before the Tasman Sea coastline became visible on the horizon, and I descended down over Lake McKerrow to meet the country’s western coastline. The terrain here was so extreme with huge cliff faces and giant mountains as far as the eye could see that I just wanted to fly off and explore, but I was now only a few miles from the mouth of Milford Sound, and I prepared my self for a tricky approach for runway 11.

As I reached the sound, I banked sharply to make my descent through the narrow mountain pass, and was amazed by the breathtaking terrain. I passed by Lion Rock which recently claimed the lives of a plane full of sightseers when their Air Fiordland Cessna 207 crashed into it.

With full flaps, I made a pretty rough landing, and had to brake hard to come to a full stop on the short runway. I then switched to spot view as I taxied to the parking apron and was amazed at the view behind me. It was just like I remember when I visited the Sound on a coach tour from Queenstown, and I was meant to have made the return trip via light aircraft, but had to go back on the coach because of bad weather.

I parked up and switched off the engines for a final time, over 1000 kilometers from Kerikeri, where I had started from last month. It is a shame that the tour has come to an end, but still feel happy because I can’t wait to get back to exploring the wonderful scenery that Redbaron Entertainment have created for my simulator.

So to sum it all up, from what I have seen, I have been bloody impressed.

No other scenery addon I have ever reviewed creates such a realistic and dramatic environment on such a large scale, and if I had to choose only one addon I was allowed to install for fs2004, it would definitely be RBE’s mesh and topo addon. If you don’t have it already, then I highly recommend you go and buy it now. It will give you hours and hours of unique entertainment that is unparalleled in the sim world.

Thanks for following,
Comments are welcome! Very Happy

Pro Member Captain
SpiderWings Captain

I've really enjoyed following The Long White Cloud Tour, reading your narrative and viewing the great screenshots.

I just recently completed an epic tour of my own via the flight simulator.... a trip to all the countries of the world which took several years to complete.

While I flew through New Zealand with the default FS2004 scenery, I got some feedback that some great scenery add-ons for the country were in the works. I had coupled flight sim with another hobby, Geocaching, to add a bit of direction to my journey through the various countries, logging virtual visits to at least one geocache in each.

Now I want to revisit NZ and duplicate the flights on The Long White Cloud Tour. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.

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