Queenstown scenic flight options to Milford Sound and Mt Cook.
Between Queenstown and Milford sound is one of the wider sections of the Southern Alps. We suggest and guests often comment that the truly breath taking flight from Queenstown to Milford Sound is the high light of the holiday.
Some times it is possible to fly by helicopter when the fixed wing aircraft can not. Helicopters gives you a smoother ride and excellent viewing.
Milford Sound - Helicopters. - The ultimate way to go to Milford Sound, or do any sightseeing in the area, must surely be a Helicopter. A 1.5 hour flight to Milford Sound by helicopter return can include a 1 3/4 hour cruise on the Milford sound.
Milford Sound Helicopters can give you short flights to the key points of interest. Sutherland falls and Mt Tutoko.
Probably the cheapest option for seeing the Glaciers in the National Park by helicopter. Is to first fly to Milford Sound by fixed wing, and take a short helicopter ride from the Milford airport. This option is called a Milford Fly Cruise Heli. There are lots of options available to you that can include other activities. These trips have been designed to make the best use of your time in the area.
It is suggested that if you plan to visit Milford Sound by air. That you organise your visit to the Queenstown area around the Milford trip. As the weather can change very quickly. If the conditions are perfect to fly, then do it then, not the following day.
Fly Cruise and Fly - For people short on time. taking a fixed wing aircraft to Milford Sound is the best option. The flights vary in price according to the time of the day you choose to fly. If you choose to fly either early in the morning or late in the afternoon the prices will be cheaper.
Some flights simply fly directly to Milford Sound and then directly back again. Other companies offer a extended scenic flight that can show you the glaciers and a bit of the western side of the Southern Alps. So if the price offered to you is slightly more expensive. It probably will be because it is a extended flight of 20 minutes or so. Seeing Mt Aspiring is worth it.
We recommend Glenorchy Air, as it is a privately owned company that has the flexibility to fit in with your arrangements, and their route adds an extra 20 minutes of flying time, so that you can see the Skippers Canyon, then Mount Aspiring followed by the Olivine Ice Plateau, all at no extra charge.
The Trilogy trail. - If you enjoyed the Lord of The Rings. Glenorchy Air can show you the filmed locations. Rohan, Edoras, Battle of Pelennor Fields and Arwen's ride to the Ford of Bruinen. Allow 7 hours. This would show you a good cross section of the southern part of the south island.
Christchurch to Queenstown transfers. A option available to you, is to be picked up from Christchurch and flown to Queenstown at the same time doing The 3 Ring Trilogy trail. Certainly a interesting way to see the southern part of the South Island and makes use good use of a expensive fare from Christchurch to Queenstown. Contact Glenorchy Air for prices.
West coast River Safari. A wonderful package by Glenorchy Air, this takes you to the Haast area via Mount Aspiring, landing beside the Waiatoto River . The Heritage Jet takes you up into the National Park. We think this is the best of the jet boat rides in the south. It incorporates surfing on the Tasman Sea, plus a slow quite glide in the West coast rain forest.
From Haast you then fly to Milford Sound over the ‘Red Hills', that look like the surface of the moon, past the Olivine Ice Plateau as you fly down the Pyke valley, over Lake Wilmont and to the right of Lake Alabaster, then you fly out to Martins Bay. From there you you go around the coast and into Milford Sound from the Tasman Sea.
The change in geography from the eastern side of the Alps, to the western side is memorable.
Another useful time saving package is where you can fly out of the Glenorchy township, after you have been on the Dart Safari Jet, to Milford Sound for another boat ride.
Bus Cruise and Fly - This is the most popular way of seeing the Mt Aspiring National Park. Depart from Queenstown early in the morning by bus for Te Anau. This takes two hours. After a brief coffee and tea break, the bus continues on for another two hours drive to Milford Sound. This will be one of the most scenic drives you are ever likely to see. There are 3 main scenic stops on the way into the Sound. The bus driver will give a interesting talk on our native plant and animal life as you go.
When you get to the Sound. You will be put on the larger of the boats that are at the wharf.
We recommend you use Realjourneys for the Coach Nature Cruise and Fly option. We suggest this as it is slower and you will see more on the sound. It also departs half an hour later in the morning from Queenstown, at 7.30 am.
There is a slight disadvantage if you plan your whole day around a Fly Cruise and Fly trip. This being the weather could change and you may not be able to fly back to Queenstown. In that case you would be bused back, making for a long day.
All flights are weather dependant. We suggest that you wait until you arrive here to organize these, except over the Xmas and New Year period. Milford can be heavily booked over that period.
Mount Cook - a scenic helicopter flight around our tallest mountain, is spectacular you will see the three main Glaciers, Tasman, Fox and Franz Joseph. A Heli Hike option is available to you.Franz Josef Glacier, found in the stunning Westland National Park, is one of the most spectacular glaciers in this region. Combine an awesome scenic helicopter flight over the glacier with a unique guided walk amongst the ice caves, pinnacles and seracs of this pristine, alpine environment. You'll see the extraordinary colours of the ice-flow from above and then up close, on an unforgettable guided walk.
The Helicopter Line offers the Heli Hike trip in conjunction with Franz Josef Glacier Guides.
We understand the cheaper of the fixed wing options are available from the Tekapo Air Field. If you are travelling on the west coast, you can fly from Fox or Franz Joseph townships.
Flights are basically on demand.
If you are unable to fly over the glaciers from the west coast or Lake Tekapo because of the weather don’t despair, there are other options available to you when you get to Queenstown.There is a wonderful 2-½ hour round trip with Glenorchy Air flying from Queenstown up to and around Mount Cook . If you wish, the pilot will land at Fox for you to do a helicopter flight, with a glacier landing.
Although it is interesting to walk to the base of the Glaciers, you really don't get an idea of their size until you either do a guided walk onto them. Or as you can see fly over them. If the weather is bad when you are in the Mount Cook region. Don't worry you can do a guided Heli-walk from Queenstown that includes a gourmet picnic lunch and take in some views that very few people see. Just ask us about the Earnslaw heli hike.