10 Best Helicopter Tours in New Zealand© Volcanic Air - Destination Rotorua
10 Best Helicopter Tours in New Zealand

10 Best Helicopter Tours in New Zealand

© Volcanic Air – Destination Rotorua

Amazing Places to Take a Helicopter Flight in New Zealand

You came to New Zealand to see the mind-blowing landscapes, right? To see mighty mountains, glacier-carved valleys, pristine coastline, wild and wonderful forest, ferocious volcanoes and dramatic lakes. Taking a helicopter flight in New Zealand is not only a way to make the most of the landscapes that you’ve travelled so far to see, but it’s also unlike any other flying experience. What’s more, on helicopter tours, you’ll be able to land where no plane or even hiker could get to. So what are the best helicopter tours in New Zealand?

Check out the list of helicopter tour locations below and pick from a range of varied scenery and experiences across the country. Whether you prefer volcanoes, lakes, coastline or snowy mountains, there is a helicopter tour in New Zealand waiting to take you for the flight of a lifetime.

1. Fox Glacier

We don’t know what’s more spectacular to see from a helicopter: the ice giant of Fox Glacier itself or the magnificent valley it has carved over thousands of years? Luckily on a Fox Glacier helicopter tour, you get to see both! This stunning glacier environment will keep your camera busy for the whole flight. What’s more, many helicopter tours give you the opportunity to stand on the glacier with a glacier landing. Check out more ways to experience Fox in our 5 Fox Glacier Must-Dos.

Location: Fox Glacier, West Coast, South Island. Book your flight with Fox Glacier Guiding (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), Alpine Adventure Centre (on Viator and Tripadvisor), Glacier Helicopters (on Viator and Tripadvisor) or The Helicopter Line (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

Pixabay© Pixabay

2. Queenstown

When the mountains are calling, which happens a lot in Queenstown, hop on a helicopter and see them in all their glory! Queenstown is surrounded by magnificent mountain views from The Remarkables to the Fiordland National Park to the Mt Aspiring National Park. There are amazing helicopter flights in every direction, so good luck trying to decide! Helicopter tours depart from the Queenstown Airport. Find out more about amazing experiences in Queenstown here.

Location: Queenstown, Otago, South Island. Book your flight with The Helicopter Line (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or Glacier Southern Lakes (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

© Over The Top Helicopters - Tourism NZ

3. Milford Sound

Why not take a helicopter tour in an area of New Zealand often described as the most scenic part of New Zealand? See the dramatic landscapes of fiords, glacier-carved valleys, mountains and lush forest on a flight over this UNESCO World Heritage Area. Flights to Milford Sound depart from Milford Sound Airport, Queenstown Airport and Te Anau. Check out more Milford Sound Must-Dos here.

Location: Milford Sound, Southland, South Island. Flights depart from Milford Sound with Milford Sound Scenic Flights (on Viator and Tripadvisor), Te Anau with Te Anau Helicopter Services (on Viator and Tripadvisor), Wanaka with Siberia Experience (on Viator and Tripadvisor), and Queenstown with Over The Top Helicopters (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

10 Best Helicopter Tours in New Zealand© Rob Suisted - Tourism New Zealand

4. Bay of Islands

Imagine seeing 144 islands among stunning blue waters. Taking a helicopter flight from Paihia, Kerikeri or even Auckland can make it happen! The Bay of Islands is as dreamy and paradise-like as it sounds and seeing it from the sky is nothing short of mind-blowing. There are helicopter tours flying to The Hole in the Rock, Cape Reinga and even landing on a secluded island. Check out more ways to experiences the Bay of Islands in 10 Must-Dos in the Bay of Islands.

Location: Bay of Islands, Northland, North Island. Book your flight with Salt Air (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

 Ronnie Macdonald on Flickr© Ronnie Macdonald on Flickr

5. Aoraki Mt Cook National Park

In the land of New Zealand’s highest mountains and longest glaciers, Aoraki Mt Cook is a sensational environment to fly over. There’s no other way to see all the highlights of Aoraki Mt Cook, such as the Tasman Glacier, Hooker Valley, Tasman Glacial Lake and Mt Cook itself, than by taking a scenic flight. Helicopter flights depart from the Mt Cook Airport and Glentanner Airport. Check out more things to do in the park at 5 Aoraki Mt Cook Must-Dos.

Location: Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, Canterbury, South Island. Book your flight with Inflight Experiences (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Rotorua

Rotorua is famous for its geothermal valleys and volcanic activity. Among the vibrant landscapes of colourful lakes and steaming earth lies Mt Tarawera, known for having one of New Zealand’s largest eruptions in recent history. The eruption has shaped this mighty mountain of fiery red rocks. Landing on top of Mt Tarawera not only allows you to immerse in the other-worldly landscapes but soak in amazing views of the surrounding Rotorua region.

Location: Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, North Island. Book your flight with Volcanic Air (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

Rotorua NZ© Volcanic Air - Destination Rotorua

7. Lake Taupo

Fly above the world’s second-largest volcano, Lake Taupo. The ancient volcanic crater is New Zealand’s largest lake, which you can only begin to comprehend once you see it from above. You have plenty of options for helicopter flights in Lake Taupo, from flights over the amazing Huka Falls to flights over the Central North Island volcanoes of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro. Check out other activities you can’t miss in the area in 10 Taupo Must-Dos

Location: Taupo, Waikato, North Island. Book your flight with Inflight Experiences (on Viator and Tripadvisor) of Taupo’s Sea Plane (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

Inflight Experiences© Inflight Experiences

8. Abel Tasman National Park

The Abel Tasman National Park is New Zealand’s little piece of paradise with golden sand beach after golden sand beach. While the park is a popular sight from land, nothing compares to the magnificent views you can get from the air. Helicopter flights depart from Nelson Airport and Motueka Airport. Find out more ways to experience Abel Tasman in our 10 Amazing Things to Do in the Abel Tasman National Park.

Location: Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson Tasman, South Island. Book your flight with Helicopters Nelson (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

9. Auckland

Auckland has to be one of the most fascinating cities to see from the sky. The urban metropolis built on a volcano-dotted thin piece of land surrounded by water provides plenty to look at from a bird’s eye view. Not only that, the surrounding islands of the Hauraki Gulf are another stunning feature from the sky.

Location: Auckland Central, Auckland, North Island. Book your flight with Heletranz (on Viator and Tripadvisor) or Auckland Seaplanes (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

 Craig on Wikipedia© Craig on Wikipedia

10. White Island

[Update: Following a major eruption, tours on White Island have been suspended until further notice.]

White Island is New Zealand’s only active marine volcano and only constantly active volcano. Needless to say, the environment on the island is amazing! Fly from either Rotorua or Whakatane and land on the island itself where you’ll get to stand at the edge of the crater and witness the volcanic activity for yourself.

Location: White Island, Bay of Plenty, North Island. Book your flight with Volcanic Air (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

10 Best Helicopter Tours in New Zealand© Pixabay


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

Was this article useful?