The Best New Zealand HELICOPTER TOURS To Book

New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to book a helicopter tour. The breathtaking landscapes, from snow-capped mountains to lush forests, pristine lakes and rugged coastlines provides a unique perspective. Going on a helicopter tour in New Zealand allows you to witness the country’s beauty in a way that only few get to experience. But there are plenty of different helicopter tours in New Zealand. From heli hiking on Franz Josef Glacier to flying over the fiords in Milford Sound, scenic flights to Mount Cook  or over the volcanic landscapes in Rotorua. There is a helicopter tour in New Zealand for everyones preference.

Our complete guide about the best New Zealand helicopter tours gives you a detailed overview and breakdown of all the helicopter tours. This will make it easier for you to pick the right helicopter tour for your preferences! Strap in for an exhilarating journey and book your unforgettable helicopter tour in New Zealand!

Table of Contents

Should I book New Zealand helicopter tours on the South Island or North Island?

Of course this totally depends on what you like to see during your New Zealand helicopter tours. Both islands have a fascinating duality so they offer a different experience and perspective of the country’s landscape. Where the North Island is home to a number of active and dormant volcanoes, helicopter tours here can take you over these volcanic peaks and even allow you to witness geothermal activity up close during a landing.

The South Island on the other hand is dominated by the Southern Alps, a majestic mountain range with peaks like Aoraki/Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand. Helicopter tours over the Southern Alps offer breathtaking views of glaciers, alpine lakes, and rugged terrain. Besides that you can include a glacier landing or even go heli hiking on the glacier! How unique! 

But you can also opt for helicopter tours and scenic flights to explore the stunning fjords of Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound from the air. Home to dramatic cliffs and waterfalls that plunge dramatically into the depths of the pristine waters, a Milford Sound helicopter tour feels as if you’re flying through the pages of a fantasy novel. 

New Zealand Helicopter Tours South Island

Helicopter tours from Mount Cook

Flights to Mount Cook are some of the most popular New Zealand helicopter tours. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the majesty of New Zealand’s highest peak and its breathtaking alpine surroundings. But, choosing the right scenic flight to Mount Cook can be confusing with all the different options and tour operators. So here is a complete breakdown of the best Helicopter and scenic flights to Mount Cook.

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. 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. Check here all the optional helicopter tour lengths: 


Mount Cook ski plane and helicopter tour including glacier landing 

With this tour you will have the best of both worlds! A ski plane flight with glacier landing and then you will switch vehicle and continue the tour by helicopter. This 45 minute tour is great value for money! Because this is one of the most popular New Zealand helicopter tours, seats get booked up quickly. So make sure to secure yours asap!

Book here your 45 minute Mount Cook Ski Plane and Helicopter tour


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

If you want to get the most out of your Mount Cook experience, then this tour is the one for you. During this half day 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 Mount Cook heli hike experience! 

Book here your Mount Cook and Tasman Glacier heli hike experience

New Zealand Helicopter tours from Queenstown 

There are many options for helicopter tours from Queenstown. Plenty of day trip heli tours depart from Queenstown, either going to Mount Cook, Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound or exploring the stunning lakes and peaks around Queenstown. You can even fly to a unique golf hole with the heli at 4,500 feet overlooking the magnificent Wakatipu Basin and majestic Southern Alps! Or what about the world’s first Heli Gin tour? See here all the best Queenstown Helicopter Tours. 

Half-day Helicopter Tour to Milford Sound

This is without a doubt the best way to see Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park. Including two landings, this half-day Helicopter Tour to Milford Sound shows you the wild fiords of Milford Sound and includes a glacier landing on the remote Mt. Tutoko. A truly all inclusive and unforgettable way to experience Milford Sound and see the Southern Alps from the air.

Book here your half day helicopter tour to Milford Sound from Queenstown


Mt Cook Helicopter Tour and Ultimate Alpine Experience

This fully guided scenic helicopter flight and a ski plane trip from Queenstown combines all the key highlights of Mt Cook National Park. You will depart from Queenstown to Mount Cook National Park by helicopter and see amazing aerial views of the Lindis Pass, Omarama Cliffs and Lake Pukaki along the way. When arrived at Mount Cook Airport you will change the helicopter for a ski plane for the ultimate glacier experience of Aoraki/Mount Cook! This amazing scenic adventure includes an alpine landing on the Tasman Glacier. Its huge value for money and some of the best selling New Zealand helicopter tours. Therefore make sure to book this tour in advance so you won’t miss out on this spectacular journey!

Secure here your seat for the Mt Cook helicopter tour from Queenstown


Lord of the Rings and Glacier Helicopter Tour

During this LOTR helicopter tour from Queenstown you will fly over beautiful Queenstown and see the LOTR places including Isengard, Amon Hen, Lothlorien, the Misty Mountains and the Redhorn Pass. You will also see the mountain range from the opening scene of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’ which is truly spectacular. Furthermore this helicopter flight includes two landings from which one is on a glacier. A must do for LOTR fans!

Book here your LOTR helicopter tour from Queenstown


Tasman Glacier Heli Hike Tour from Queenstown

Always dreamed about hiking on a glacier? In New Zealand it’s possible! This epic heli hike tour to Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s longest glacier, is a once in a lifetime experience. First you will fly in a fixed-wing plane from Queenstown to Franz Josef or Tasman Glacier where you will switch to a helicopter. With this helicopter you will fly up to a landing point high on the glacier, where you’ll go hiking on snow and ice. Wearing crampons, you’ll explore caves and see remarkable landscapes inaccessible any other way. Truly an unforgettable way to experience the glaciers and mountains of New Zealand. 

Book here your Tasman Glacier heli hike tour from Queenstown


Private Champagne Picnic and Helicopter Tour 

For a truly romantic experience in Queenstown, this private Champagne Picnic on Cecil Peak and Helicopter Tour is the best pick. You will depart from Queenstown and fly over Lake Wakatipu for some incredible views of the Southern Alps. Then you will land on a scenic plateau on Cecil Peak overlooking Queenstown and the Wakatipu Basin. Here you will enjoy your champagne picnic including a platter of local meats, cheeses, salad, fruit and a selection of beverages for as long as you desire.

Book here your romantic private Champagne picnic & helicopter tour from Queenstown


Doubtful Experience Private Helicopter Charter from Queenstown

For an extraordinary helicopter flight look no further than this private helicopter charter to Doubtful Sound including lunch. The fiords of Doubtful Sound are three times longer and ten times larger than Milford Sound and are much more remote. Therefore this private helicopter tour is a one of a kind including gourmet lunch and wine in remote alpine wilderness. Perfect for a romantic experience or special occasion.

Book here your Doubtful experience in a private helicopter from Queenstown


Heli- snowmobiling adventure from Queenstown

Experience New Zealand’s only heli-snowmobiling tour from Queenstown! This thrilling 2,5 hour adventure first takes you on a scenic helicopter ride to the remote Garvie Plateau. Access to this exclusive location is only available by scenic helicopter flight, so you won’t see any other people around. You will then hop on your snowmobile to explore the backcountry while enjoying the incredible views of the Southern Alps and Mt. Cook. Your highly skilled guide will adapt the snowmobile ride to varying levels of ability, to ensure everyone’s comfort and safety. 

Book here your heli snowmobiling adventure from Queenstown


45-minute Alpine Scenic Helicopter Flight

For the ones short in time this 45 minute alpine helicopter flight is the best option. During this alpine helicopter flight you will see the best of Queenstown surroundings but it doesn’t take hours of your day. It includes not only an epic alpine snow landing, but will also show you breathtaking aerial views of Queenstown, Skippers Canyon and the Wakatipu Basin. The route depends on the day’s snow conditions, but with year round snow on one of the region’s peaks, snow landings will happen for sure. 

Book here your 45 minute Alpine scenic helicopter flight from Queenstown


6-hour Helicopter Gin Tour

Gin lovers attention please! In Queenstown you can book the world’s first Heli Gin tour! This heli tour is a gin-tasting experience that includes a mix of tastings, scenery, fun & education. You will begin your tour with a helicopter flight above Queenstown with a landing on top of the Crown Range. Here you will enjoy your first gin & tonic for the day before flying down the Cardrona Valley where you will learn about the distillation process and of course continue with a private gin tasting. Then you will switch vehicle to a premium Mercedes van to go to The Winery in Arrowtown. Here you can select an array of gin paddles & kick back with a shared grazing board.

The last stop of this Gin Tour is a tasting at the Gin Garden by Broken Heart in Arthurs Point. You’ll indulge in a guided tasting of their premium gins before heading back to Queenstown in the Van. 

Book here your helicopter Gin tour from Queenstown


Golf and Helicopter Flight Queenstown

Golf lovers pay attention! Always wanted to take your golf to a higher level? Well, you can do that literally with this Golf & Helicopter flight experience. You will get transported by Heli to play golf at New Zealand’s most picturesque golf hole at 4,500 feet. With 180-degree views overlooking the magnificent Wakatipu Basin and majestic Southern Alps, this is a hole-in-one of a lifetime to experience one of the world’s most unique golf holes.

Book here your Golf & Helicopter flight experience


New Zealand Helicopter tours from Franz Josef 

A Franz Josef Heli Hike tour is one of the unique and thrilling experiences you can do on the South Island of New Zealand. Hiking on Franz Josef Glacier is a bucket list adventure and only allowed and possible with a guided tour. But there are quite a few different options and tour operators to choose from for your Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike. So to save you time, here’s a breakdown of all the different Franz Josef Heli Hike tours.

Franz Josef Glacier Guided Heli-Hike

This tour provided by Franz Josef Glacier Guides is the most popular one and a true bestseller! Therefore you should book your guided heli hike tour in Franz Josef in advance to secure your spot. During this 4 hour tour you can explore the ice with your guide and gain insight into the geological forces at play. The scenic helicopter flight above the Southern Alps with views on Mount Cook is a breathtaking start, but the glacier hike is the true highlight. You will be for 2 hours and 15 minutes on the ice exploring and the group is limited to 11 people to ensure personalized attention from your expert guide.

→ Book here your 4 hour guided heli hike experience from Franz Josef


Franz Josef & Fox Glacier Helicopter Flight with Glacier landing

This aerial tour with a helicopter landing on the snowfields of Franz Josef Glacier shows you the best of this incredible landscape in a 40 minute tour. Your professional pilot will provide fascinating commentary while you soar over the Southern Alps and the Murchison Glacier valley. You will see Franz Josef Glaciers & Fox Glaciers by air before the helicopter will land for 10 minutes on the ancient ice of the glacier.

→ Book here your 40 minute scenic helicopter flight including glacier landing


New Zealand Helicopter tours from Milford Sound

Milford Sound is renowned for its dramatic natural beauty with towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and lush rainforests. Scenic flights over Milford Sound offer a unique perspective of this natural wonder and allow you to capture panoramic views that are simply impossible to witness from the ground. 

Fiordland Ultimate Helicopter Tour (Private Charter)

This private helicopter tour from Queenstown Airport to Fiordland is the ultimate experience. Enjoy incredible views over Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound, as well as lesser-known parts of Fiordland. Your guide will give interesting information through the personal headsets during the flight and make a landing somewhere remote for a delicious lunch of local food and wine. The perfect experience for those who seek a private tour with family or a romantic getaway. 

Book here your Private Helicopter Charter to Fiordland NP 


Milford Sound helicopter flight departing from Milford Sound 

This 20 minute scenic helicopter flight departs from Milford Sound and is the perfect way to see the impressive landscape of Milford Sound from the air. Track west through Milford Sound and climb alongside Bowen Falls and Mitre Peak for some great views of the fiords and its towering peaks.

Book here your 20 minute helicopter flight from Milford Sound


Helicopter tours from Kaikoura

The coastal town of Kaikoura is a unique blend of marine wildlife and breathtaking landscapes with the Southern Alps as backdrop. Going on a helicopter tour from Kaikoura is truly unique experience as you can do here something which you can’t do anywhere else in New Zealand! A Kaikoura whale watching flight! Find here all you need to know before booking.

Kaikoura Helicopters Grand Alpine Helicopter Tour

This 90 minute helicopter tour from Kaikoura showcases the rugged Kaikōura coastline and towering mountains. You will fly past peaks that rise above 8000ft so you can soak in the magnificent views of the East Coast of the South Island and Pacific Ocean. Then you will make a snow landing before passing along the Kaikoura ranges and Puhi Peaks Station back to the departure point. 

Book here your Kaikoura Grand Alpine Helicopter tour


Kaikoura whale watching flight 

Get a truly unique perspective on whales during this scenic whale watching flight from Kaikoura. During this 40 minute aerial flight you can take in the breathtaking views of the world’s largest marine mammals including stunning panoramic views of the South Island’s rugged east coast. Search for sperm whales, dolphins and have a better chance at seeing baleen whales. The huge advantage of this whale watching flight is that you can admire them without the crowds of other people and other boats. Also, when the whales are feeding further off shore or holding their breath for longer than expected, you can easily get there and hover in the helicopter.

Book here your Kaikoura whale watching flight

New Zealand Helicopter Tours North Island

Helicopter tours from Rotorua  

Mount Tarawera and Orakei Korako “Thermal Explorer” helicopter flight 

This 3 hour tour is some of the longest New Zealand helicopter tours. It shows you the best of what the North Island has to offer. Soak in in the spectacular aerial views of the Tarawera Falls, bubbling geothermal reserves, crater lakes and much more. Fly over the worlds largest hot spring, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, and Wai O Tapu, which is known to be one of New Zealand most colorful Geothermal park. You will then fly to Mt Tarawera and land on top of the volcano! Take in the spectacular views of the craters and domes formed by the 1886 eruption. Then you will fly to the hidden valley of Orakei Korako and make another landing to explore this geothermal wonderland including hot springs and magnificent geysers. Without a doubt the most all inclusive helicopter tour of the North Island New Zealand. 

Book here your Mount Tarawera and Orakei Korako “Thermal Explorer” helicopter flight 


Tarawera Falls Volcanic Heli Hike 

This 6 hour helicopter tour shows you all the amazing highlights of New Zealand’s North Island. You will depart from Rotorua and fly to Mount Tarawera while soaking in the spectacular aerial views of the stunning crater lakes, the renowned Tarawera Falls and vibrant Waimangu and Wai-O-Tapu. Then you will make a landing on Mount Tarawera and explore this otherworldly landscape by foot. You can book this tour by selecting 6D in the menu when clicking this link


Eruption Trail Tour and Volcanic Landing (40 or 60 Minutes) 

For a shorter version I highly recommend this 40 or 60 minute helicopter tour including a landing on Mount Tarawera. Here you can admire the volcanic views before making your way back to Rotorua over the crater lakes, Tarawera Falls and vibrant Waimangu and Wai-O-Tapu. Select 3B for the ‘Eruption Trail and Volcanic Landing 40 minute tour’ or 3C for the ‘Volcanic Adventure 60 minute tour’.

Book here the 40 or 60 minute helicopter tour to My Tarawera incl geothermal wonders

Volcanic Scenic Flight by Floatplane

Although these scenic flights are with a floatplane and not a helicopter, I still wanted to include them in this list. The floatplane tours from Rotorua are slightly cheaper but don’t include a landing on Mount Tarawera or at Orakei Korako. If you want a great alternative to a New Zealand helicopter tour, then booking this floatplane tour is a fantastic budget friendly option! There are different flight lengths possible, starting at 8 minutes up to 2 hours and 15 minutes. 

Book here your Volcanic Scenic Flight by Floatplane


Scenic flights from Auckland – Waiheke Island 

Auckland City & Hauraki Gulf Scenic Flight

During this 45-minute scenic flight you will soar along Waiheke Island’s spectacular coastline, beaches and vineyards. Take in the iconic urban Auckland skyline and landmarks while your pilot explains about the sights. Peak into the crater of Rangitoto volcano as you fly only 500 feet (152 meters) above its summit.

Book here your scenic flight from Waiheke Island to Auckland City

Wine and Food Tasting on Waiheke Island with scenic flights

Board a plane in Auckland and enjoy an extended scenic flight to Waiheke Island. Take in the stunning views of the beautiful scenery and landmarks along the way. At Waiheke Island you will indulge in a fabulous 3-course meal and premium wine tasting overlooking the vineyards and views of Auckland from the highest point on the Island. Your driver will show you the beautiful island while driving back to the ferry terminal, on your way back to downtown Auckland. The perfect day trip to explore Waiheke Island and feast on delicious food and wine. 

Book here your Wine and Food Tasting on Waiheke Island with scenic flights

Helicopter tour from Wellington

Bay of Many Coves Helicopter Tour with 3-Course Lunch from Wellington

This 3 hour helicopter tour from Wellington takes you across the the Cook Strait to the Marlborough Sounds where you will touch down and enjoy lunch in an award winning restaurant. 

The beautiful scenic flight from Wellington showcases the cluster of picturesque bays, inlets and islands called Marlborough Sounds which is home to a very luxury hotel that can only be accessed by boat or helicopter. While you approach Marlborough Sounds, you can take in the breathtaking views with the Southern Alps looming in the background. Once you’ve touched down at The Bay of Many Coves Luxury Resort, you will indulge in a fine dine 3-course lunch, nestled in a cove surrounded by untouched native bush. It’s a perfect secluded and romantic experience. 

Book here your Bay of Many Coves Helicopter Tour with 3-Course Lunch from Wellington

Scenic flights from Lake Taupo

Scenic flight in a floatplane to Tongariro National Park

During this 1 hour flight in a seaplane you will see all the highlights of Taupo and Tongariro National Park. You will see Mount Pihanga, the Blue and Emerald Lakes and the massive summit of Mount Ruapehu, towering nearly 10,000 feet above sea level. Then you will pass Mount Ngauruhoe and gaze down into its immense center. Continuing onward, soar over Mount Tongariro, viewing the Red Crater, the Blue Lake, and ancient lava flows, before you return to Lake Taupo to land on the water.

Book here you scenic flight in a floatplane to Tongariro National Park

Huka Falls & Maori Rock Carvings Helicopter Scenic Flight

See a unique perspective of Lake Taupo and the Huka Falls. You’ll pass all the highlights of Taupo including Huka Falls, Maori rock carvings, the Craters of the Moon and Wairakei geothermal areas.

Book here your Huka Falls & Maori Rock Carvings Helicopter Scenic Flight

Why should you book helicopter tour in New Zealand?

The short and simple answer on this question is that New Zealand helicopter tours or a scenic flight are a very unique experience. It’s bucket list thing to do for many people and gives a unique and unparalleled perspective of the snow-capped peaks, glaciers, alpine lakes, and overall stunning landscapes of New Zealand. 

Next tot that, flying in a helicopter is a very efficient way to experience the beauty of New Zealand. You will cover a vast area and see numerous landmarks, saving you time and energy compared to other forms of exploration. And last but not least, helicopter tours are suitable for a wide range of travelers, from families with children to older individuals.

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 personally recommend a mini SUV or SUV model to have enough clearance for these 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 pick up date.


Campervan rental in New Zealand

Traveling around in a campervan is one of the most popular ways for a roadtrip 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 you give you a true feeling of freedom and connects you with nature.

We personally recommend to book your campervan with Travellers Autobarn. They have a wide range of Stationwagons, 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, 10% discount to premium campgrounds, 24/7 road side assistance & long term rental discounts. Check the availability and prices today to secure your campervan for a New Zealand dream roadtrip!

More New Zealand travel guides

I hope you enjoyed this complete guide about the best New Zealand 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 travel 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

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

North Island travel guides

20 best photo spots North Island New Zealand

Best things to do in Coromandel – The Complete Guide

15 best things to do in Taupo – The Ultimate Guide

25 best things to do in Rotorua – The Complete Guide

Best things to do in Whangarei – The Ultimate Guide

12 best things to do in Hawkes Bay – The Ultimate Guide

Best things to do in New Plymouth Taranaki – The Ultimate Guide

7 best KeriKeri waterfalls – The Complete Guide

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