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Helicopter tours from Queenstown – prices, timings, Milford Sound

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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 popular.

In this article, we explain everything you must know before booking your 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 trip starts when you board a six-seater Airbus Squirrel helicopter and take 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 get onto a scenic cruise so that you can explore Milford’s sheer cliffs and gushing 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. 

Departure: Hotel pickup is available on this tour. Alternatively, you can also head directly to the meeting point, 

35 Lucas Place, Frankton, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand (Get directions)

Duration: 4 hours

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 helicopter tour

Adult ticket (12+ years): US$747 per person (1230 NZD)
*Child ticket (0 to 11 years): US$524 per person (863 NZD)

*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 interesting? With this upgrade, you also get a picnic lunch for free. Find out more

Glacier Heli-hike tour from Queenstown

You start this tour by boarding an airplane in Queenstown and flying 60 minutes to reach either Franz Josef or Tasman Glacier.

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.

You then wear hiking boots and crampons and embark on 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.

Departure: True South Flights, Remarkables Park Town Centre, 1B/8 Hawthorne Drive, Frankton, Queenstown 9300. (Get Directions)

Note: Check in at the tour operator’s office 30 minutes prior to departure. They are located in the Remarkables Park Town Centre, near Queenstown Airport, with free all-day parking. Park near the New World supermarket and walk across the carpark entrance to their building on the corner of the main road (Hawthorne Drive).

Duration: 6 hours

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 helicopter tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): US$867 per person (1428 NZD)
Child ticket (10 to 14 years): US$805 per person (1326 NZD)

Mt Cook Adventure Tour

In this trip, you leave the streets of Queenstown and head to the mighty Southern Alps. 

You 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

Departure: The Station Building Duke Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand (Get Directions)

Duration: 12 hours

Tour Operator: Cheeky Kiwi Travel

Tour timings: 6.45 am

Inclusions:

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

Cost of the helicopter tour: US$573 per person (943 NZD)

Remarkables Helicopter Tour

This 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

The scenic tour provides fantastic views of the Remarkables mountain range before you get down to feel the snow below your feet. 

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

Departure: The Helicopter Line Helibase, Lucas Place Queenstown Airport (Google Map)

Duration: 20 minutes

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 helicopter tour

Adult ticket (12+ years): US$190 per person (313 NZD)
Child ticket (4 to 11 years): US$133 per person (219 NZD)
Infant ticket (0 to 3 years): US$95 per person (157 NZD)

Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters also offer the same helicopter tour

Alpine Scenic Flight from Queenstown with snow landing

This trip happens on a 6-seater Airbus Squirrel helicopter, and you get to see spectacular views of Skippers Canyon, the Wakatipu Basin, and Queenstown.

You then land on a snow-capped peak to take in the fresh air and photographs. 

Departure: 35 Lucas Place, Frankton, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand (Get directions)

Duration: 30 minutes

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 helicopter tour

Adult ticket (12+ years): US$254 (418 NZD)
Child ticket (0 to 11 years): US$179 (295 NZD)

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

Clarke Glacier Explorer Flight

This helicopter tour starts with views of Queenstown, then the Paradise Valley and finally of the Mount Aspiring National Park.

You enjoy captivating scenery of blue-green ice formations and majestic mountain spires, till you 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 get a feel of the snow and take enough photographs, the chopper gets back to Queenstown. 

Departure: 35 Lucas Place, Frankton, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand (Google Map)

Duration: 30 minutes

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 helicopter tour

Adult ticket (12+ years): US$426 (702 NZD)
Child ticket (4 to 11 years): US$301 (496 NZD)

Southern Glacier Experience Helicopter Flight

This 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, and when you look down, you get ariel views of Queenstown.

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

After admiring panoramic views of Mt Aspiring’s remote alpine landscape, you get onto the helicopter for the return flight.

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

Rees and Dart rivers in New Zealand
The beautiful valley created by the Rees and Dart rivers in New Zealand. Image: Doc.govt.nz

Ideal for: Families and couples 

Departure: The Helicopter Line Helibase, Lucas Place Queenstown Airport (Get directions)

Duration: 50 minutes

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 helicopter tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): US$417 (687 NZD)
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): US$292 (481 NZD)
Infant ticket (0 to 3 years): US$209 (344 NZD)

Lord of the Rings and Glacier Helicopter Tour

Mr. Alfie Speight will be the Pilot and host of this 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,’ 

Departure: 35 Lucas Place, Frankton, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand (Get directions)

Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes

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 helicopter tour

Adult ticket (12+ years): US$561 (925 NZD)
Child ticket (0 to 11 years): US$379 (624 NZD)


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Restrictions strictly followed

Weight limits apply for safe and comfortable Milford Sound helicopter tours.

If the minimum number of passengers is not met, the tour will be canceled and subject to rescheduling or refund.

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

No pets are allowed onboard except service animals.

Some tours may not be wheelchair accessible.

It is recommended that warm clothing and suitable footwear be worn on this tour due to cold temperatures. Moderate fitness is required.

Pregnant travelers or travelers with heart problems or other serious medical conditions may avoid the tours or contact the tour organizers or staff to confirm their accessibility beforehand.

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 ticket.

Most Milford Sound air tours 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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