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Helicopter tours from Queenstown – prices, timings, Milford Sound

Queenstown is known as ‘Adventure Capital of the World’ and attracts more than 3 million tourists every year.

The visitors come in for unique thrills in water, air, and land – activities such as Skydiving, Paragliding, Bungy Jumping, Ziplining, Canyon Swinging, helicopter rides, etc.

With places such as Milford Sound, Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, Tasman Glacier, Mount Cook, Middle-Earth Waterfalls, Mt. Tutoko, Richardson Mountains, Lake Wakatipu and more to see, helicopter trips are a hot choice.

This article covers everything you must know before booking a helicopter tour from Queenstown.

Best helicopter tours from Queenstown 

Since there is so much to see and do, Queenstown helicopter rides come in many flavors.

We present below our favorite ten heli ours, which are popular with vacationers in this part of New Zealand.

All these tours come with live commentary by the Pilot.

Helicopter tour + snow landing + Milford Sound cruise

This 4-hour trip starts when you board a six-seater Airbus Squirrel helicopter.

Set off for Milford Sound, the most popular fiord in New Zealand.

A fjord or fiord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by a glacier.

Once you land on the famous fiord, you embark on a scenic cruise to explore Milford’s sheer cliffs and phenomenal waterfalls. 

If you are lucky – and most visitors are – you will see dolphins, seals, and penguins.

Once the Cruise is over, you board the helicopter again for an aerial tour, followed by a snow landing on Mt. Tutoko.

After ten minutes, you take off again and return to Queenstown. 

Tour Operator: Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters

Tour timings: 8 am to 5 pm

Inclusions:

  • Landing and facility fees
  • Headsets to hear the pilot clearly
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • GST (Goods and Services Tax)

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (12+ years): US$836 per person
*Child ticket (up to to 11 years): US$588 per person

*If your less than three years old kid will sit in your lap, they can join the tour for free. No need to buy tickets for them. 

Does the idea of a visit to the filming location of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey sound exciting? With this upgrade, you also get a picnic lunch for free. Find out more

Glacier Heli-hike tour from Queenstown

Start this 6-hour tour by boarding an airplane in Queenstown.

Since the fixed-wing plane can’t land on snow, you change to a helicopter for the last leg of your journey. 

The helicopter passes over the deep crevasses of the icefalls and waterfalls to land on either upper Franz Josef icefall or the Tasman glacier.

Buckle up your hiking boots and crampons to begin your two-hour snow hike. 

Franz Joseph Heli Hike from QueensTown
An exhilarating helicopter ride above the fantastic glacier landscape followed by an adrenalin-filled hike is a perfect Queenstown holiday. Image: Helicopter.co.nz

We don’t recommend this tour for pregnant travelers and people with severe medical conditions.

Tour Operator: True South Flights

Tour timings: 9 am

Inclusions:

  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Hiking boots and crampons are provided
  • Air-conditioned vehicle

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (14+ years): US$943 per person
Child ticket (8 to 13 years): US$817 per person

Mt Cook Adventure Tour

On this 12-hour trip, you rise above the streets of Queenstown, quite literally!

Head to the mighty Southern Alps in luxury and style. 

Spend the day at Mount Cook Village, which is at the foot of Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain. 

During this tour, you can include a helicopter experience whenever you want – to reach there or to get back or board a chopper to see the stunning views of Mt Cook, or if you dare, go on a heli hike. 

If you decide to spend time in the Mt Cook Village, you can check out the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Center, and visit an alpine salmon farm.

Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre at Mount Cook
A statue of Sir Hillary at the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre at the foothills of Mount Cook. Image: Ttnotes.com

Tour Operator: Cheeky Kiwi Travel

Tour timings: 6.30 am

Inclusions:

  • Small Group and Fully Guided Tour
  • Snacks
  • Bottled water
  • Transport to Hooker Valley Track

Cost of the tour

Tour & Ultimate Alpine Exp.: US$459 per person
Mt Cook Tour & Helihiking: US$613 per person

Pilot’s Choice Helicopter Tour

This 20-minute trip is one of the cheapest helicopter experiences from Queenstown. 

On this helicopter flight, you fly over Lake Wakatipu for stunning aerial views.

Helicopter over Lake Wakatipu
A tour helicopter flies over Wakatipu, an inland lake (finger lake) in the South Island of New Zealand. Image: Queenstown.com

Take in the fantastic views of the Remarkables mountain range.

You will also be able to get down to feel the snow under your feet. 

After spending ten minutes taking photos and exploring, you get back to your helicopter for the return trip. 

Tour Operator: Totally Tourism – The Helicopter Line

Tour timings: 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 1.30 pm, and 3.30 pm

Inclusions:

  • Hotel pickup and drop off
  • Scenic helicopter flight with landing (20 minutes)
  • Pilot guide
  • Live commentary on board

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): US$213 per person
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): US$149 per person
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): US$106 per person

Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters also offer the same helicopter tour

Alpine Scenic Flight from Queenstown with snow landing

This 30-minute trip happens on a 6-seater Airbus Squirrel helicopter.

See spectacular views of Skippers Canyon, the Wakatipu Basin, and Queenstown.

Land on a snow-capped peak to take in the fresh air and photographs. 

Tour Operator: Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters

Tour timings: 8 am to 5 pm

Inclusions:

  • Landing and facility fees
  • Headsets to hear the pilot clearly
  • GST (Goods and Services Tax)

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (12+ years): US$288 per person
Child ticket (up to 11 years): US$203 per person

Yet another helicopter operator called Over the Top Limited offers the same tour with 45-minute duration. Check them out

Clarke Glacier Explorer Flight

This 50-minute helicopter tour starts with views of Queenstown.

Move on to bask in the beauty of the Paradise Valley and finally of the Mount Aspiring National Park.

Enjoy captivating scenery of blue-green ice formations and majestic mountain spires.

Reach Clarke Glacier for a touchdown.

Helicopter landing on Clarke Glacier
Snow landings help you take in the grandeur of the mighty mountains. Image: Nztravelorganiser.com

After you’ve gotten your dose of the snow and taken enough photographs, hop back on the chopper to return to Queenstown. 

Tour Operator: Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters

Tour timings: 9 am, 2 pm, 3 pm

Inclusions:

  • Landing and facility fees
  • Headsets to hear the pilot clearly
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • GST (Goods and Services Tax)

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (12+ years): US$494 per person
Child ticket (up to 11 years): US$347 per person

Southern Glacier Experience Helicopter Flight

This 50-minute trip starts when you take off on your chopper from the Northern shores of Lake Wakatipu.

The rugged peaks of the Remarkables mountain range come into view.

Look down for the most refreshing perspective of Queenstown.

Once you reach Jura Glacier, the helicopter lowers itself for a snow landing. 

Admire the panoramic views of Mt Aspiring’s remote alpine landscape.

On the way back, you see picturesque valleys of the Rees and Dart rivers.

The tour is ideal for families and couples.

Tour Operator: The Helicopter Line

Tour timings: 8 am to 4 pm

Inclusions:

  • Hotel pick up and drop off from centrally located Queenstown hotels
  • Scenic helicopter flight with snow landing (5-10 minutes)
  • Informative commentary during the flight
  • Professionally trained pilots have specific experience flying in New Zealand’s alpine environment
  • New Zealand’s Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): US$465 per person
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): US$326 per person
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): US$233 per person

Lord of the Rings and Glacier Helicopter Tour

Mr. Alfie Speight will be the Pilot and host of this 70-minute helicopter tour.

He was the primary film pilot for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and also piloted his chopper during numerous stunt scenes of ‘Mission Impossible – Fallout.’

All along the tour, you get to hear his stories about how the movies were filmed.

Mr. Speight lands the helicopter at two places – Clarke Glacier in Mt. Aspiring National Park and Skippers Canyon. 

Clarke Glacier in Mt Aspiring National Park
Clarke Glacier in Mt. Aspiring National Park. Image: Inspirock.com

Some of the fictional spots you can see during this tour include Isengard, Misty Mountains, Amon Hen, Lothlorien, and the Redhorn Pass. 

You also get to see the mountain range from the opening scene of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.’

Tour Operator: Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters

Tour timings: 8 am to 5 pm

Inclusions:

  • Landing and facility fees
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • 70 minutes of flight time
  • GST (Goods and Services Tax)

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (12+ years): US$655 per person
Child ticket (up to 11 years): US$460 per person


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Departure point

Heli tours from Queenstown offer a hotel pickup facility.

Alternatively, you can also head directly to the meeting point.

Address: 35 Lucas Place, Frankton, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand. Get Directions

The heliport is near public transportation.

The tours end back at the meeting point.

There are multiple take-offs daily, so book early to get your preferred time slot.

Restrictions strictly followed

Weight limits apply for safe and comfortable Queenstown helicopter rides.

A minimum and a maximum passengers are required on these tours, failing which, they will be canceled.

Some tours are free for infants below three years, other charge highly discounted tickets.

Weather-appropriate dressing is advised due to cold temperatures.

Moderate fitness is required for these tours.

No pets are allowed onboard except service animals.

Some tours may not be wheelchair accessible.

The tours are not recommended for pregnant travelers or travelers with heart problems or other serious medical conditions.

A valid passport or ID card is required.

Flight times are approximate subject to weather conditions.

Seating arrangements may often be in the hands of the tour organizers for a safe and stable flight.

Exclusions of the air tour

Personal expenses and gratuities are not included in your Queenstown heli tour tickets.

They also exclude meals, food, and drinks unless stated otherwise.

Souvenir photos are not clubbed in your ticket price. They will be available for purchase separately.

Cancellation Policy

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours before your tour date. 

If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, a 100% percent cancellation fee is applicable.

No changes are allowed within 24 hours of the experience’s start time.

Helicopter tours require good weather. 

If the tour is canceled due to poor weather or non-fulfillment of the minimum number of passengers, you may be offered a different date or a full refund.

Tours in New Zealand

# Milford Sound helicopter tours
# Helicopter tours to Mount Cook
Helicopter tours to Franz Josef Glacier

Recommended Reading

# Experiencing your first helicopter flight
# Clothes to wear during helicopter tours
# How to overcome fear of flying
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Why helicopter tours are an excellent activity
FAQs about Helicopter tours

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