Okanagan from a helicopter followed by food & wine


Behind the Lens with photographer Dax Justin

Someone, take my pulse, I thought as we flew over the Okanagan on a gorgeous fall day.

My adrenaline was pumping while we were getting treated to an awesome aerial perspective flying on a helicopter – without doors – over Mission Hill winery. The experience allowed me to take some gorgeous photos during the 20-minute flight with Valhalla Helicopters.

Be Curious. Discover #Route97s Okanagan Valley

Watch Valhalla Helicopters #Route97 on YouTube.

I was having my James Bond moment in this door-less helicopter, dangling my legs in the air – except there were no bad guys chasing us. There were only good vibes coming from the scenery a few thousand feet below and photographing from way up here was pure joy.

Okanagan Helicopter Tour
Photo: Dax Justin

I couldn’t help but notice that everyone in the helicopter had big grins as we soared above the autumn colours in shades of reds and golds, with the blue backdrop of Lake Okanagan and the intense green of Mission Hill’s vineyards.

Still vibrating from by my sky-high experience, I was ready to have my feet back on the ground and check out Kelowna’s food scene. We met up with the folks from Okanagan Foodie Tours, giving us some local insights into Kelowna’s vibrant food scene.

Lake Okanagan
Photo: Dax Justin

The two-hour walking tour took us along the shores of Lake Okanagan, past fancy yachts and fishing boats and pretty reflections. Along the way, we sampled food and drink at a couple of pubs, including the aptly named The Train Station Pub and another local favourite, Mexican restaurant, El Taquero.

Delicious Food in the Okanagan
Photo: Dax Justin

El Taquero specializes in Mexican street food, made by Izzy “The Taco Maker,” who hails from Mexico City. Most of Izzy’s recipes are inspired by his own family’s favourites. Each day, there are 14 tacos to choose from on the menu, guacamole and nachos, naturally, plus an array of margaritas and other Mexican-inspired beverages.

Watch Okanagan Foodie Tours #Route97 on YouTube.

Kelowna has a bustling craft brew pub scene, I quickly discovered at The Train Station Pub. It’s a cozy and lively spot with a massive menu, serving up comfort pub foods like burgers and pizzas, but also some Asian bowls and share plates.

As the sun was just starting to get lower in the sky, we made our way to Mission Hill Winery, one of the Okanagan’s most popular and most beautiful wineries. I’d seen it from the helicopter, but was ready to scope it out on foot.

I’d spotted the bell tower from the air, and couldn’t wait to climb up there to shoot the sun setting over the lake and valley.

Watch Mission Hill Family Estate #Route97 on YouTube.

But first we needed to check out Mission Hill’s new offering this fall – its culinary workshop series, catering to girlfriend getaways, anniversary parties and other special occasions, or just anyone interested in food. Workshops run the gamut from food and wine pairings, to classes focusing on international foods, such as Thai, Indian Greek. Sign me up!

Delicious wine in the Okanagan
Photo: Dax Justin

We were ushered into a room with a glass wall and TV screens that looked into the chef's kitchen, giving us a behind-the-scenes view of the chopping, prepping and plating of a multi-course meal. The sound of wine being poured into glasses and clinking of china filled the dimly lit room, creating a special ambiance, and making everyone hungry for the courses to come. 

Watch Okanagan Valley #Route97 on YouTube.

I was getting anxious to capture the sunset from the bell tower, so I ran up to the top, careful to escape before the bells began to peel on the hour.

Looking over the okanagan
Photo: Dax Justin

Looking out from the tower, the golden light cast onto the lake with views over the valley didn’t disappoint. It seemed a perfect way to end a perfect day in the Okanagan. 

If You Go

Check out these #Route97 maps for your next road trip at www.Route97.net

For more on exploring BC, simply search #ExploreBC

About Dax Justin

Dax Justin is a Canadian Explorer  Adventure/Landscape photographer, visual content creator, and destination storyteller based in Alberta, Canada. 

His photographic work focuses on outdoor adventure, landscapes, mountain lifestyle, people and sports. The photography captured on expeditions bring the adventure to a worldwide online audience in real time, expanding brand reach through social media and travel networks including Seekers Media.


Like Our Facebook Page