Best Mount Cook Helicopter Tours in New Zealand Ranked

A Mount Cook helicopter tour is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the majesty of New Zealand’s highest peak and its breathtaking alpine surroundings. It’s an unforgettable experience witnessing the Southern Alps from above. However, choosing the best scenic flight to Mount Cook can be confusing with all the different options and tour operators. That’s why we wrote this complete guide about the best Mount Cook helicopter tours. In this guide, you will get an extensive overview of the best Mount Cook helicopter tours, ranked by the differences, costs, and other important things you need to know about Mount Cook helicopter tours.

Differences between the Mount Cook helicopter tours

You might feel overwhelmed after seeing all the different Mount Cook helicopter rides being advertised. They are also not the cheapest, so you obviously want to make the best choice. I will help you with that in this review guide about the best Mt Cook scenic flights. You will get to know all the differences per tour, which highlights you will see, how long the flight will take and much more.

Here is a quick breakdown to distinguish the different Mount Cook helicopter tours before we dive into the details of all the separate tours. This will help you to understand the important differences per tour so that you can make a considered decision. 

Mount Cook helicopter flight including glacier landing 

All Mount Cook helicopter flights include a snow landing. It depends per tour where you will land. Some of the tours land on Tasman Glacier, others on Fox Glacier along the West Coast. The main difference between all tours is the length and thus the distance you will fly. Logically the longer you fly, the more you will see and the more expensive the tour gets. Click on the links to see the current prices and availability per tour:



🔝Best value for money!

Mount Cook ski plane and helicopter tour including glacier landing 

Tour length: 45 minutes | Rating: 5 stars | Check availability and prices here

This is the most popular Mount Cook Helicopter ride, so make sure to secure your seat if you decide to do this tour! You will experience the best of both worlds during this tour. First, you will soar over Tasman Terminal Lake in a ski plane while you can admire the Tasman Valley and the breathtaking blue glacier lake. When you’re getting closer to the icefields you can see the Hochstetter Icefall and cloud-piercing Aoraki/Mount Cook before landing on the upper snowfields of the Tasman Glacier. Here you will have time to take in the views and capture the ancient ice before switching to the helicopter and continuing your flight. This 45-minute tour is great value for money! Who can say they have flown in a ski plane AND helicopter on the same day, and walked on a glacier as well?! YOU after you’ve secured your seat for this tour here!

This Mount Cook helicopter tour includes:

  • Ski plane flight
  • Helicopter flight
  • Glacier landing
  • Professional guide 
  • Free car parking at the Aoraki Mt. Cook Airport or pickup from your hotel in Aoraki Mount Cook Village

🚁 Scenic flight & Glacier hiking!

Mount Cook ski plane & helicopter flight incl snow landing and glacier hiking 

Tour length: 3 hours | Rating: 4.6 stars | Check availability and prices here

If you want to get the most out of your Mount Cook experience, then this tour is the one for you. During this 3-hour tour, you will not only fly above the breathtaking landscape and have a glacier landing. But you will also embark on a 2 hour Tasman glacier hike with your professional guide! This is the ultimate and most comprehensive Mount Cook heli hike experience.

You can choose between 2 time slots at 8:45 AM and 10:45 AM.

This helicopter tour includes:

  • 2 scenic flights
  • Tour guide
  • Leather boots
  • Woolen socks
  • Crampons
  • Walking pole
  • Waterproof jacket

Key information:

  • The meeting point is inside the terminal of the Mount Cook Airport, at the Mt Cook Glacier Guiding desk
  • This tour is not for people with mobility impairments
  • English speaking guides
  • Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund
  • Bring warm clothing
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat

🔝 Most comprehensive Mt Cook & Franz Josef Scenic Helicopter Ride

Mount Cook and The Glaciers Helicopter Flight

Tour length: 60 minutes | Rating: 5 stars | Check availability and prices here

During this unforgettable experience, you will glide over the glaciers and snowfields of Aoraki/Mount Cook in a helicopter and touch down in the snow. Here you can walk around for about 10 minutes before returning to the warm aircraft. Then you will fly over the Blue Lakes and Tasman Glacier before passing Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier. This is truly the ultimate Glacier Helicopter experience and is huge value for money due to the distance you travel by helicopter. You will see all the incredible highlights of New Zealand in just one flight. And with this particular helicopter flight you actually don’t need to book another one in Franz Josef, because you have already seen the glaciers during this flight! 

This helicopter tour includes:

  • Pick up and drop off from your hotel in Mount Cook Village
  • 55 minutes scenic helicopter flight time 
  • 10 minutes snow landing

Key information:

Right before you book you should know the following things:

  • This tour is not wheelchair accessible
  • English speaking guides 
  • Wear warm clothing and suitable footwear due to cold temperatures
  • Subject to favorable weather conditions. If the tour is canceled due to poor weather, you will be given the option of an alternative date or a full refund

🚁 Best Mount Cook flight from Queenstown

Mt Cook Helicopter Tour and Ultimate Alpine Experience

Tour length: approximately 12 hours | Rating: 5 stars | Check availability and prices here

Are you looking for a Mount Cook Helicopter ride from Queenstown? Then this fully guided day trip from Queenstown combines all the key highlights of Mt Cook National Park. It’s huge value for money with a scenic helicopter flight and a ski plane including an alpine snow landing on the Tasman Glacier! 

You will get picked up from your hotel in Queenstown by car and depart towards Mount Cook National Park by helicopter while seeing amazing aerial views of the Lindis Pass, Omarama Cliffs and Lake Pukaki along the way. When you arrive at Mount Cook Airport you will change the helicopter for a ski plane for the ultimate glacier experience of Aoraki/Mount Cook! This amazing adventure includes an alpine landing on the Tasman Glacier where you can explore the ice fields. When you get back to Mount Cook Airport you will be brought to Mt Cook village where you’ll have 2.5 hours of free time to enjoy the Mt Cook walks or other optional activities.

This helicopter tour includes:

  • Pick up and drop off from your hotel in Queenstown 
  • Ultimate Alpine Experience Scenic Flights & Glacier Landing
  • Snacks and Bottled water 

Key information:

Right before you book you should know the following things:

  • This tour is not wheelchair accessible
  • English speaking guides 
  • Operates in all weather conditions, so dress appropriately
  • Due to uneven surfaces, this tour is not recommended for those with walking disabilities or using a wheelchair
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time

🔝 Epic Mount Cook Helicopter tour and Glacier hiking

Tasman Glacier Helicopter Ride and Hike from Queenstown

Tour length: 3 or 6 hours | Rating: 5 stars | Check availability and prices here

Treat yourself to the most unique experience you can do in New Zealand. Walking on New Zealand’s biggest glacier! There are different options available, depending if you book this 6 hour heli hike tour from Queenstown or this 3 hour Tasman Glacier heli hike tour from Mount Cook Airport. Both tours include 2 scenic flights and of course the opportunity to explore some of the most remote places in New Zealand. There is no other way to explore these ice caves and see remarkable landscapes in any other way.

The 6 hour heli hike tour from Queenstown includes the following:

  • One-hour fixed-wing plane from Queenstown to Franz Josef or Tasman Glacier
  • 15-minute helicopter flight to a landing point high on the glacier
  • Two hours hike on the glacier with experienced guides that will take you into a deep part of the glacier exploring the ice formations 
  • Hiking boots and crampons
  • Pick-up from Queenstown Central accommodation

The 3 hour Tasman Glacier heli hike from Mount Cook Airport includes the following:

  • 2 scenic flights with spectacular helicopter views 
  • 2 hours hike on the glacier with your experienced guide to explore the amazing ice formations
  • Leather hiking boots, crampons, walking pole, waterproof jacket 

Why should you book a Mount Cook helicopter tour?

The short and simple answer to this question is of course that it is a bucket list experience for many! Flying over the majestic Southern Alps with Aoraki Mount Cook as a highlight will leave you in awe of the incredible beauty of this pristine alpine region. It is an unforgettable experience and in all honesty… If you’re coming to New Zealand without booking a scenic flight, you have really missed out on something unique. And even for smaller budgets there are shorter, more affordable helicopter tours available. 

But to get a bit more in-depth and to convince you even more (if you aren’t already!) to book a Mount Cook helicopter flight, here are the reasons: 

  • Breathtaking scenery: Mount Cook and the surrounding Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park boast some of the most stunning and dramatic landscapes in the world. A helicopter tour provides a bird’s-eye view of the snow-capped peaks, glaciers, alpine lakes, and rugged terrain, offering a unique and unparalleled perspective of this natural wonder. 
  • Glacier experience: The opportunity to fly over, and land on a glacier is a highlight of many Mount Cook helicopter tours. Seeing the expansive Tasman Glacier from above and stepping out onto the ancient ice is a unique experience. Therefore I highly recommend including a snow landing when booking your tour. 
  • Time efficient: Helicopter tours are an efficient way to experience the beauty of Mount Cook and its surroundings in a short amount of time. With a helicopter you can cover a vast area and see numerous landmarks, saving you time and energy compared to other forms of exploration.
  • Available for all ages: Helicopter tours are suitable for a wide range of travelers, from families with children to older individuals. The tours are generally accessible to most people, no matter their physical abilities.

More helicopter tours in New Zealand

Booking a helicopter tour in New Zealand is truly a memorable experience. The sheer thrill of flying in a helicopter over New Zealand’s stunning landscapes creates lasting memories that you’ll treasure for a lifetime. Most of the scenic flights in New Zealand are very reasonably priced considering what you get in return. So if you are visiting New Zealand, I would highly, highly recommend booking one of the incredible scenic flights. Whether it is in Queenstown, Franz Josef, Milford Sound of Mount Cook!

Read here our other guides about:

Best Franz Josef heli hiking tours

12 best Queenstown helicopter tours

6 best scenic flights in Milford Sound

20 best helicopter tours in New Zealand, North & South Island


Where to stay after your Mount Cook Helicopter ride 

In Mount Cook National Park are only a few accommodations available. In fact, there are only 7 lodging options in Mt Cook National Park and they book up super fast! Especially in the summer months. Therefore it is highly recommended to book your accommodation far in advance to secure a room. Here are our recommendations for staying in Mount Cook National Park

The Hermitage Hotel Mt Cook

The Hermitage is an iconic hotel in Mount Cook National Park and is one of the most famous hotels in New Zealand. And that’s because it has some of the very best views in the whole country. You will have stunning views on Aoraki Mt Cook from every angle. So because of this and the great quality and hospitality, The Hermitage is always fully booked. Especially in high season. So if you want to secure a room at The Hermitage, you have to book weeks, if not months, in advance. 

Check here the availability and rates for the Hermitage Hotel

Hermitage Mount Cook room view

Aoraki Court Motel

Another great hotel in Mount Cook village is Aoraki Court Motel. This modern accommodation features great views of the surrounding mountains. All rooms have a patio with mountain views and a fridge with kitchenware. With an average of 9.3 on Booking you know this accommodation is a great choice, so book fast!

→ Check here the availability and rates for Aoraki Court Motel

Aoraki Court Motel room view
Aoraki Court Motel

Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Lodge

The best value-for-money hotel in Mt Cook National Park is Alpine Lodge. With stunning views on the mountain range and a communal dining area you can prepare your own food and relax at the lounge area with warming fireplace. 

→ Check here availability and rates for Alpine Lodge in Mt Cook NP

Aoraki Mount Cook Alpine Lodge

If all accommodations in Mount Cook National Park are fully booked, then don’t worry, because you can stay in the nearby town of Twizel. This small town is a 45-minute drive from Mount Cook NP and has more accommodation options and facilities than Mt Cook village. We stayed here for a few nights to explore the different hikes at Mount Cook and were happy to have plenty of restaurant options nearby in Twizel. Check here all Twizel accommodations, availability and prices.

How to get around in New Zealand 

To experience New Zealand to the fullest and at your own pace, renting a carcampervan or motorhome is the best way to get around. Whether you rent a car or campervan depends on your preference and budget. If you love camping, being outdoors all day and you don’t mind a smaller living space, then renting a camper van is the way to go. It also gives you the freedom to sleep at some of the most beautiful camping spots, but for some of them you’ll have to make a reservation and plan your trip accordingly. The same goes for a motorhome which is bigger than a campervan and fits about 4-6 people. Here’s what you need to know about renting a car, camper van or motorhome in New Zealand. 

Car rental New Zealand

Renting a car in New Zealand is the easiest and cheapest rental vehicle available. It will get you to all the best destinations with ease and gives you the freedom to stop for a break wherever you want. However, you should keep in mind that some roads in New Zealand are still gravel or that you have to cross shallow rivers to some destinations in National Parks. Therefore we recommend a mini SUV or SUV model to have enough clearance for this kind of roads. 

The best place to book your rental car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare different car models, prices, companies and terms and conditions. Make sure to secure the booking of your rental car as soon as possible to have the lowest price possible. Prices go up the closer you get to the pickup date.


Campervan rental in New Zealand

Traveling around in a campervan is one of the most popular ways for a road trip in New Zealand. With a bed, small kitchen and seating area you will have all the (basic) needs on four wheels. A campervan allows you to camp at plenty of beautiful places, sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee. It will give you a true feeling of freedom and fully connects you with nature.

We recommend to book your campervan with Travellers Autobarn. They have a wide range of Station wagons, 2-berth campervans & 3-5 berth campervans to hire for all budgets. All Travellers Autobarn campervan hires in New Zealand come with free unlimited kilometers, a 10% discount to premium campgrounds, 24/7 roadside assistance & long-term rental discounts. Check the availability and prices today to secure your campervan for a New Zealand dream road trip!

More New Zealand travel guides

I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about the best Mount Cook helicopter tours. We have many more New Zealand travel guides, so make sure to check them out for more tips and to plan your ultimate New Zealand road trip!

South Island New Zealand guides

35 best photo spots on the South Island of New Zealand

20 best day hikes on South Island New Zealand – The Ultimate Guide


30 best things to do in Queenstown – The Ultimate Guide

22 best photo spots in Queenstown – The Ultimate Guide

20 best Queenstown restaurants – The Complete Guide

16 best hikes in Queenstown – The Ultimate Guide

12 best helicopter tours Queenstown – The Complete Guide

10 best wine tours in Queenstown – The Complete Guide


22 best things to do in Wanaka – The Ultimate Guide

15 best walks in Wanaka – The Complete Guide

Where to stay in Wanaka – The Complete Guide

Mount Cook National Park

20 best things to do in Mount Cook National Park

10 best places to stay in Mount Cook National Park

12 best Mt Cook walks – The Ultimate Guide

Hooker Valley track – The Complete Guide

Sealy Tarns track – The Complete Guide


20 best things to do in Glenorchy – The Ultimate Guide

Glenorchy walkway & lagoon track – The Complete Guide

Earnslaw Burn glacier valley and waterfalls – The Complete Guide

Fiordland National Park

20 best things to do in Milford Sound – The Ultimate Guide

Lake Marian Track – The Complete Guide

Milford Sound Cruise – The Complete Guide

Key Summit track – The Complete Guide

Gertrude Saddle hike – The Complete Guide

Franz Josef Glacier Country

Best Franz Josef heli hike tours –  All You Need to Know

15 best walks in Franz Josef – The Ultimate Guide

Lake Matheson walk – The Complete Guide

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One Comment

  1. Marjoleine says:

    Hi ILse, what a stunning journey you made in New Zealand. Your blog is very helpful with great tips👍. Thanks for sharing 👊

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