5 Best Scenic Flights to Milford Sound from Queenstown© NZPocketGuide.com
5 Best Scenic Flights to Milford Sound from Queenstown

10 BEST Scenic Flights to Milford Sound šŸ›©ļø [2024]

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Scenic Helicopter and Plane Flights to Milford Sound

It’s not every day that you get to experience the awe of a UNESCO World Heritage Area, so make it extra special with a scenic flight to Milford Sound from Queenstown, Te Anau or Milford Sound itself. Swap lengthy bus journeys to your Milford Sound cruise for a faster and more scenic fixed-wing flight over some of the remotest regions of the South Island. Alternatively, helicopter flights allow for multiple landings among mind-blowing landscapes. Check out some of your best options with this list of the best Milford Sound flights from Queenstown, Te Anau and Milford Sound Airport.

While you’re here, you might also be interested in the 10 Best Cruises in Milford Sound and 15 Best Things to Do in Milford Sound. Plus, for more flights to consider, see the 10 Best Scenic Flights in New Zealand.

1. Pure Milford – The Best Milford Sound Fly-Cruise-Fly Tour

Indulge in the most intimate yet breathtaking way to experience Milford Sound with Pure Milford‘s “Fly-Cruise-Fly” tour. Not only is the scenic flight paired with a Milford Sound cruise the most time-efficient way to experience the famous fiord but seeing the Fiordland National Park from the mountains all the way to see is nothing short of awe-inspiring. If you’re looking to experience Milford Sound with luxury in mind, perhaps for a special occasion or just because this is, after all, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, then a scenic flight and cruise combo with Pure Milford should be a serious consideration.

Learn more about the coach-cruise-coach tour and book your adventure at puremilford.co.nz! Plus, learn more about Pure Milford’s unique glass-roof catamaran in the 10 Best Cruises in Milford Sound.

6 Best Scenic Flights to Milford Sound from Queenstown šŸ›©ļø [2024]© Pure Milford

2. Milford Sound Scenic Flights – The Best Fixed-Wing Flight to Milford Sound

Swap the long bus journey to your Milford Sound cruise with a fixed-wing scenic flight roundtrip to Milford Sound with a cruise included. Soak up the splendour of the Fiordland National Park from above on the “Scenic Flight & Cruise” with Milford Sound Scenic Flights departing from Queenstown. Once you arrive in Milford Sound, capture the scenery from another perspective on a two-hour cruise along the entire length of the fiord. On the flight back to Queenstown, you’ll fly over the majestic Southern Alps for some different landscapes to soak up. The tour is approximately five hours. Find out more about Milford Sound Scenic Flights on Viator.

Milford Sound Scenic Flights© Milford Sound Scenic Flights

3. Air Milford – The Best Fly Cruise Fly Milford Sound Flight

Another fantastic flight and cruise combo is available with Air Milford. The fixed-wing flight includes a marvel at Mitre Peak – Milford Sound’s highest mountain, Bowen Falls and Mt Pembroke before landing at the Milford Sound Airport. Here, you’ll embark on a nature cruise through the majestic Milford Sound before enjoying another scenic flight back to Queenstown. The tour includes either morning tea or an afternoon beer/wine/soft drink. You’ll also receive commentary from your pilot on the flight and from the nature guides during your cruise. The tour is approximately four hours. Discover more about Air Milford’s flights on Viator.

Air Milford© Air Milford

4. Over The Top – The Helicopter Company – The Most Unique Milford Sound Scenic Flight

For a real luxurious experience, choose Over The Top – The Helicopter Company. Their indulgent helicopter tour to Milford Sound includes landing at an alpine lake suspended above the Fiordland National Park for a gourmet picnic. Milford Sound is just one aspect of this grand tour, with several landings throughout the four-hour experience, which also includes landing on a secluded beach. You’ll also receive commentary from your pilot throughout the flight. Find out more about Over The Top – The Helicopter Company on Viator and Klook.

Over The Top - The Helicopter Company© Over The Top - The Helicopter Company

5. Glenorchy Air – The Best Milford Sound Flight Deals

Enjoy an intimate experience on a seven-seater plane with a window seat guaranteed on this flight-and-cruise experience with Glenorchy Air. The flight includes seeing some of the remotest areas of New Zealand as you soar over the glaciers of the Darren Mountains and Barrier Range. Once landed in Milford Sound, you’ll be transported to your Milford Sound cruise to sail through the fiord. After your cruise, enjoy your flight back to Queenstown. Check out Viator for more information about Glenorchy Air and the latest flight deals.

Glenorchy Air© Glenorchy Air

6. The Helicopter Line – The Best Helicopter Flight to Milford Sound

Sample truly awe-inspiring scenery on a 2-hour helicopter flight of Fiordland and Milford Sound with The Helicopter Line. Land in remote mountains and listen to the live commentary from your pilot as you fly over secluded lakes and glaciers. One of the highlights of the flight is hovering over the majestic Mitre Peak before landing in Milford Sound. What’s more, your pilot will take you via another route back to Queenstown. Find out more about flights with The Helicopter Line on Viator.

The Helicopter Line© The Helicopter Line

7. Te Anau Helicopter Services – The Best Doubtful Sound Helicopter Tour from Te Anau

Discover the awe-inspiring beauty of New Zealand’s other famous fiord, Doubtful Sound, from a unique aerial perspective on a scenic helicopter tour with Te Anau Helicopter Services. With no road access to Doubtful Sound, this excursion offers a swift and convenient way to immerse yourself in its stunning landscapes of rugged mountains, serene lakes and verdant native rainforest. Weather permitting, enjoy the opportunity to land once or twice in an isolated location and capture panoramic photos of the fiord. The tour offers flexible departure times that accommodate your schedule. What’s more, hotel transfers are available for guests staying in Te Anau or Manapouri, adding an extra layer of ease to your journey. Find out more about flights with Te Anau Helicopter Services on Viator.

6 Best Scenic Flights to Milford Sound from Queenstown šŸ›©ļø [2024]© Te Anau Helicopter Services

8. Milford Helicopters – The Best Helicopter Flights Departing From Milford Sound

Ascend from Milford and soar past Harrison’s Cove and beyond on a scenic flight with Milford Helicopters. Marvel at the awe-inspiring Tutoko Glacier as you approach for a thrilling snow landing, offering a rare opportunity to capture stunning photos amidst the pristine snowscape. Take a few moments to soak in the breathtaking surroundings before boarding the helicopter once more. Glide past the glaciated summits of Fiordland’s highest peak, Mt Tutoko, then trace your path via the lower Tutoko valley, relishing in the unparalleled views before concluding your journey at Milford Airport! Find out more about flights with Milford Helicopters on Viator.

6 Best Scenic Flights to Milford Sound from Queenstown šŸ›©ļø [2024]© Milford Helicopters

9. Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters – The Best Helicopter Flight to Milford Sound

Delve into the splendour of Milford Sound and the Fiordland National Park with a half-day adventure, combining air and water exploration, with Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters. Embark on an exhilarating round-trip helicopter flight from Queenstown, featuring a memorable glacier or alpine landing. After your scenic flight, relish the chance to spot dolphins, seals and penguins during an unforgettable cruise through the fiord. Enjoy the convenience of round-trip helicopter transportation, ensuring a seamless journey from Queenstown, along with the comfort of headsets to clearly hear the pilot’s commentary. Hotel pickup and drop-off complete this experience. Find out more about flights with Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters on Viator.

6 Best Scenic Flights to Milford Sound from Queenstown šŸ›©ļø [2024]© Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters

10. True South Flights – The Best Milford Sound Flight and Cruise

Take your pick from a Milford Sound flyover or a fly-cruise-fly experience with True South Flights. With a guaranteed window seat, you’ll soar over three mountain ranges, alpine lakes and valleys on your way to Milford Sound. Once landed in the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, it’s time to embark on the 1 hr 45 mins Pure Milford cruise (see point #1)  to see marine wildlife, have a dip under Stirling Falls and bask in the breathtaking glacier-carved scenery. On the way back to Queenstown, you’ll get to witness a different scenic route. Read reviews and book your flight with True South Flights on Viator or Klook

5 Best Scenic Flights to Milford Sound from Queenstown© True South Flights

10 Final Tips for Your Scenic Flight to Milford Sound

Taking a scenic flight in Milford Sound is an adventure that elevates your New Zealand experience, quite literally! Here are 10 essential tips to ensure that your aerial adventure over one of the world’s most stunning landscapes is nothing short of spectacular:

  1. Choose Your Adventure: Options range from combining flights with cruises or coach tours, to helicopter tours with glacier landings. Pick one based on your time, budget, and what you wish to see. You may also want to browse the 15 Best Milford Sound Tours from Queenstown & Te Anau, as well as the tours above.
  2. Timing is Everything: Half-day and full-day options are available. Choose morning flights for calmer conditions and afternoon flights for better lighting for photography.
  3. Prepare for Weather Dependencies: Flights depend on good weather. If cancelled, youā€™ll often be offered a different date or a full refund, so flexibility in your schedule can be helpful.
  4. Experience the Best Views: Scenic flights provide unparalleled views of Fiordland National Park’s dramatic landscapes, inaccessible by any other means. The unique aerial perspective showcases snow-capped peaks, glaciers and towering cliffs.
  5. Understand the Costs: Prices vary depending on the type of experience. While not the cheapest activity in Queenstown, the once-in-a-lifetime views and the uniqueness of the experience offer great value.
  6. Layer Up: Regardless of the season, it can get chilly up there, especially if youā€™re landing on a glacier! Dress warmly in layers.
  7. Know the Limits: Most tours have a minimum and maximum number of participants. Helicopter flights usually require at least two people.
  8. Capture the Moment: Bring your camera or smartphone. You’ll have countless photo opportunities, from majestic waterfalls to the iconic Mitre Peak.
  9. Check for Extras: Some tours include landing fees and offer live commentary onboard, enhancing your experience and understanding of the breathtaking landscape.
  10. Consider Your Impact: Choose operators that embrace the Tiaki Promise, committing to care for New Zealand for now and future generations.

Embarking on a scenic flight over Milford Sound is an unforgettable way to witness the sheer magnitude and beauty of New Zealandā€™s wild landscapes. Whether you opt for the comprehensive experience of flying, cruising and driving through Fiordland, or prefer the thrill of a helicopter flight landing atop a glacier, each option promises awe-inspiring views and an adventure that will linger in your memory long after you’ve touched back down.

More About Milford Sound

That’s it for our guide to the best scenic flights to Milford Sound from Queenstown, Te Anau and Milford Sound Airport. Compare these experiences to the other ways you can experience Milford Sound:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in the 15 Best Things to Do in Milford Sound.

Sources:

The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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