This epic scenic flight takes in the rugged and dramatic scenery of three of New Zealand’s most spectacular National Parks. All located within the UNESCO South Westland World Heritage Area.
This flight departs from Wanaka. It includes the Fox, Franz & Tasman Glaciers, New Zealand’s highest peak – Mount Cook (Aoraki), Mount Aspiring (Tititea) and the spectacular sights of Milford Sound (Piopiotahi).
This is the ultimate bucket list scenic flight – window seats guaranteed!
This is an incredible opportunity at an amazing price. Plus, when you fly with Southern Alps Air you are flying with a locally owned, kiwi business.
We provide window seats for everyone and personal commentary from our experienced pilots. All our scenic flights depart from Wanaka Airport. This is an easy 10 min drive from Wanaka or 50 mins over the scenic Crown Range from Queenstown.
Departing Wanaka Airport the first leg of the scenic epic takes you up and over Lake Hawea and along the Hunter Valley and Landsborough Wilderness Area. On the way you will have amazing views of the Southern Alps mountain range. This also includes the remote rainforested valleys of Aspiring National Park.
As you fly closer to Aoraki / Mt.Cook National Park you will spot the unusual blue waters of Lake Pukaki. This is caused by ground down rock particles created by the glaciers surrounding the lake. Lake Pukaki is fed by the waters which flow from the mighty Tasman Glacier – the largest glacier in the Southern Hemisphere! The best way to appreciate the full length of this glacier is from the air. Sights of huge crevasses and pristine blue ice will fill your window view.
Now the peak of Aoraki/Mt. Cook comes into view! At 12,346ft it is the highest mountain peak in New Zealand and was the training ground for Sir Edmund Hillary. It remains a challenging climb for mountaineers and its distinctive peak is awe inspiring. You will have close up views of the mountain from the plane.
From here your pilot will navigate the plane further towards the West Coast of New Zealand and the legendary Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. These West Coast Glaciers are world famous as they are two of the world’s few accessible glaciers. Flowing almost down to sea level their névé (or snowfield) are located at around 2,500 metres high. The glaciers are estimated to be moving at up to 15m per year.
From your window seat you will have incredible views of both glaciers and the surrounding mountains, with views out towards the ocean. Heading south the Scenic Epic takes you on to the attractive pyramidal peak of Mt Aspiring/Titea. At 3033m Mt Aspiring is often called “The Matterhorn of the South” and is located within the Mt Aspiring National Park. This forms part of Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand’s World Heritage Area. It is an area of remote wilderness, clear braided rivers and unspoilt rainforest. Here you will be also able to see the Bonar Glacier and the Voltar Glacier which are snow covered throughout the year
Fly across the backbone of the Southern Alps into Fiordland National Park which also forms part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Area – Te Waipounamu. Recognised as one of the most scenic landscapes in the world, you will view glaciers, mountain peaks, hidden valleys, kilometres of temperate rainforest, waterfalls and rivers on the way to Milford Sound. A scenic flight in this area should be on everyone’s bucket list! It is a glimpse at a pristine landscape that does not exist elsewhere.
You will have literally hundreds of photo opportunities but your pilot will remind you to save space for one of the most famous views in the word – Mitre Peak and Milford Sound. The scale and grandeur of Milford Sound is best appreciated from the air as mile high cliffs drop dramatically into the waters of the fiord. Often called the 8th Wonder of the World and originally named Piopiotahi by Maori, it was an important area for hunting and fishing.
Milford Sound is an area carved by weather and water (it receives up to 7 metres of rainfall a year) and you will see numerous waterfalls such as the Stirling and Bowen Falls which cascade down the sheer, steep cliffs. The sea is also close by and gives you spectacular views of the coastline.
The Scenic Epic flight continues as your pilot skilfully navigates back to Wanaka across both National Parks, pointing out scene of interest and telling stories of this wild area. You will cross over the Hollyford Valley in Fiordland National Park – a densely forested area and home to many native species of birds. You may also spot glimpses of the Dart River and the Shotover river close to Queenstown. The Shotover was the site of New New Zealand’s Gold Rush and hopeful prospectors still look for gold here. As you return to Wanaka you will fly past Lake Wanaka and get great views of the township from the air.
On arrival safely back at our base you will have spent 3 hours in the air, viewing 4 of New Zealand’s top sights – Aoraki / Mt Cook, Fox & Franz Glaciers, Mt Aspiring / Titea and Milford Sound.
This is the ultimate bucket list scenic flight with window seats guaranteed!
The flight duration is 3 hours. In this time you will see 4 of New Zealand’s most famous sights – Aoraki / Mt Cook – New Zealand’s highest mountain, The Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers, Mt Aspiring / Titea and Milford Sound.
It is better from Wanaka because you will have a longer flight time, giving you MORE views, MORE glaciers (over 100) and MORE photo opportunities. Plus – Wanaka is a great place with fantastic cafés, a relaxed local vibe and a wonderful lakeside walking track. We recommend you take the day here, enjoy the scenic drive over the Crown Range from Queenstown, experience a scenic flight with Souther Alps Air and then kick back in Wanaka afterwards.
Yes – we also offer individual scenic flights to Wanaka & Mt Aspiring, Milford Sound Scenic Flights, Mt Cook & the West Coast Glaciers. But only Southern Alps Air’s Scenic Epic combines everything into one unforgettable trip, departing from Wanaka.