Helicopters, fixed-wing or float planes offer scenic flights, fly fishing and heli-ski packages, air taxi services and charter flights in many locations. Fly over White Island, an active offshore volcano, or spot whales and dolphins! Admire New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki Mount Cook, or book a glacier flight-seeing trip. Omarama in Mackenzie is known for its optimal gliding conditions. Some clubs offer flights with a qualified instructor. Your clients can also give tandem paragliding in Queenstown a go. A tranquil option is a hot air balloon flight – the Canterbury Plains, Hawke’s Bay and the Waikato are especially renowned for this relaxing pastime.
No visit to New Zealand is complete without a flight-seeing experience. Taking to the air is essential to get a true perspective on the magnificent scale of awe-inspiring landscapes.
Flight-seeing is an essential aspect of any visit to New Zealand. In the North Island, flight-seeing offers a unique view of iconic geothermal features such as the volcanoes of the Ruapehu region, Mount Tarawera near Rotorua or the spectacular volcanic activity of White Island in the Bay of Plenty. It is also an excellent way to get a sense of the Bay of Islands – the sight of dozens of islands scattered like jewels across the sparkling water is breathtaking – or to visit the islands of the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland City.
In the South Island, the full majesty of the Southern Alps is revealed on a flight-seeing expedition that skims across glaciers and skirts around massive mountain peaks. New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Mount Cook, in the Mackenzie region, is a must-see from the air, and Wanaka, Queenstown, Te Anau and Milford Sound are also bases for spectacular alpine flight-seeing expeditions. In Southland, visitors can catch a flight that whisks them south to land on a Stewart Island beach.
There are numerous ways to combine the thrill and convenience of a helicopter flight with other popular activities. Heli skiing adventures deliver skiers and snowboarders deep into the mountains in search of untracked powder, heli-fishing with an expert guide takes participants to remote streams and lakes in search of trout, heli-hiking is a good way for your clients to experience the deepest wilderness and still be back in the comfort of their hotel for dinner, and heli-dining means a high-speed transfer to a Waiheke Island winery or luxurious rural lodge for a sumptuous meal.
In addition to scenic flight-seeing tours, many operators also offer straightforward transfers by helicopter or fixed-wing plane. Charter flights are an option worth considering, particularly if your clients are short on time. The drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound is 291 kilometres and takes about five hours. The same journey by air takes about half an hour – crossing directly over Lake Wakatipu and the Greenstone Valley. Numerous air charter services operate out of Auckland, offering highly convenient transfers to the Bay of Islands and other popular destinations. Chartered flights are also an alternative way of crossing the Cook Strait between North and South Islands, or getting from the mainland to offshore islands such as Waiheke Island from Auckland or to Stewart Island from Southland.