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Helicopter tours to Milford Sound – from Queenstown & Wanaka

Milford Sound in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park is a stunning natural attraction.

This massive water inlet (also known as fiord) has mountain peaks, ink-dark waters, greenery-clad cliffs, and the best of wildlife.

Almost all visitors take the 2-hour long Milford Sound cruise.

Some make it an even grander affair by reaching Milford Sound by helicopter to enjoy aerial views as well.

This article covers everything you must know before booking your helicopter tour to Milford Sound.

Helicopter tour + Milford Sound cruise + snow landing

Milford Sound Helicopter flight from Queenstown
Image: Klook

This 4-hour trip starts when you board a six-seater Airbus Squirrel helicopter and take off for Milford Sound, the most popular fiord in New Zealand.

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

Tour Operator: Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters
Tour timings: 8 am to 5 pm

Cost of the helicopter tour

Adult ticket (12+ years): US$829
*Child ticket (up to 11 years): US$581

*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.

If you prefer a private charter exclusive to your group, check out a very similar 4-hour Milford Sound Helicopter Flight and Cruise from Queenstown.

Mitre Peak Helicopter Scenic Flight from Milford Sound

Mitre Peak Helicopter Scenic Flight from Milford Sound
Image: Glacier Southern Lakes Helicopters

Gaze at the superlative beauty of the Milford Sound and Bowen Falls from Mitre Peak on this 15-minute Milford Sound heli tour.

With live commentary from the pilot and a spread of great views, you’re in for abundant pleasure.

Departure: Milford Sound Airport, Milford Sound 9679, New Zealand. Get Directions.

Tour Operator: Milford Helicopters
Tour timings: 9 am to 5 pm

Cost of the helicopter tour

Adult ticket (14+ years): US$293
Child ticket (4 to 13 years): US$262

Helicopter Tour from Queenstown and back

helicopter-queenstown-to-milford-sound
Image: Cruise Milford

You fly in a helicopter and take in stunning views of the lush rainforest, bush-lined valleys, and crevasse-filled glaciers of Milford Sound.

Even as the Pilot gives a live commentary, he will touch down twice to help you feel the snow – once in Milford Sound and once in Tukuko Glacier. 

The Milford Sound cruise is not part of this experience.

Departure: 29 Lucas Place, Frankton, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand. Get Directions.

Duration: 2 hours with 1 hour 30 minutes flight time.
Tour Operator: Helicopter Line
Tour timings: 8 am, 10 am, and 2 pm.

Cost of the helicopter tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): US$696
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): US$487
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): US$348

Over the Top Limited offers a more exclusive heli tour over Milford Sound. It lasts 1 hour 30 minutes, and since its a private helicopter, you get to decide the time of taking off. Find Out More

Helicopter to Milford Sound and back + Gourmet picnic

VIP Milford Sound helicopter tour with picnic

Ideal for a 4 to 5 member group, this is a 4-hour Fiordland helicopter tour with a gourmet picnic landing thrown in. 

You fly past the Southern Alps’ snow-capped peaks and experience several landings with time to stroll on a deserted beach as well.

Departure: The Blue Hanger, 10 Tex Smith Lane, Frankton, Queenstown 9371. Get Directions.

Tour Operator: Over the Top Limited
Tour timings: 9 am and 1 pm

Cost of the helicopter tour:

Exclusive Eurocopter EC130B4: US$7,747 per group (up to six)
Exclusive in Squirrel AS350: US$6,269 per group (up to five)

Save time — see the best of Milford Sound in half a day by opting for round-trip flights and a scenic cruise. Find out more


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Air tour from Wanaka to Milford Sound

Wanaka is a small resort town around 70 Kms (44 Miles) from Queenstown.  

Some people travel the distance in 75 odd minutes and take their helicopter tours to Milford Sound from Queenstown, while others prefer to take them from Wanaka itself. 

You can avoid travel and save yourself at least three hours if you take your tour from Wanaka itself. 

Milford Sound Glacier Flight & Cruise from Wanaka

Milford Sound Glacier Flight & Cruise from Wanaka
Image: Trip Advisor

During this helicopter tour, you get to experience a scenic aerial tour from Wanaka to Milford Sound.

This four-hour journey will include glimpses of verdant national parks, epic glaciers, alpine lakes, before reaching the ultimate stunning destination of Milford Sound.

The air tour will be followed by a cruise tour to zoom into the magnificence of the fjord.

The cruise tour includes tea and coffee so that your gustatory senses have as much fun as your visual senses.

Kids up to 14 years get a discount on these helicopter tour tickets.

Departure: 8 Lloyd Dunn Avenue, Wānaka 9382, New Zealand. Get Directions.

Tour Operator: Southern Alps Air
Tour timings: 9 am and 2 pm

Cost of the helicopter tour

Adult ticket (16+ years): US$402
Child ticket (5 to 15 years): US$283
Infant ticket (0 to 4 years): Free


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Timings of the air tours

Milford Sound heli tours are operational throughout the week.

The first batch of these tours start taking off at 9 am and can continue in slots up to 5 pm.

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.

All tours allows infants on board for free as long as they sit on the caregivers’ laps and don’t occupy a seat.

No pets are allowed onboard except service animals.

Some tours may not be wheelchair accessible.

Ultimate Milford Sound Experience heli tour requires you to provide any dietary requirements in advance.

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.


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Milford Sound highlights

This natural attraction has lots of things to see. Check out the map below.

Here are a few things you must keep an eye out for – 

Lady Bowen Falls

Lady Bowen Falls in Milford Sound
Lady Bowen Falls in Milford Sound. Image: Southlandnz.com

At 162 meters (531 feet), Lady Bowen Falls is the tallest waterfall in Milford Sound. All the houses and businesses in the area get their electricity and water from Lady Bowen falls.

The three other waterfalls not to miss are the Fairy Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Stirling Falls. 

Sinbad Gully

Sinbad Gully in Milford Sound
Sinbad Gully in Milford Sound. Image: Southerndiscoveries.co.nz

Sinbad Gully is a U-shaped valley formed by the slopes of the mountains surrounding Milford Sound. 

Mitre Peak

Mitre Peak in Milford Sound
Mitre Peak rises to a height of 1.7 kms (more than a mile). Image: Wikipedia

Mitre Peak rises 1692 meters (5555 feet) and is the most iconic sight of Milford Sound.

It gets its name from its shape – a Bishop’s hat gets referred to as Mitre.

Seal Rock

Seal Rock at Milford Sound
Seals are relaxing on the Seal Rock at Milford Sound. Image: Greatsights.co.nz

Most of Milford Sound’s coastline is made up of sheer vertical cliffs, except for Seal Rock.

It is a not-so-high large rock on which native New Zealand fur seals can climb and rest even as they bask in the sun.

The Lion

Lion mountain at Milford Sound
In the foreground, you can see the Lion mountain at Milford Sound. Just behind it is Elephant mountain. Image: Richard-seaman.com

Mt Kimberley at Milford Sound is also known as The Lion.

When you are in front of the mountain, you will understand why it got its nickname – the massive mountain resembles a crouching lion.


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Milford Sound Cruise – what to expect

Another great way to enjoy Milford Sound is by getting on a cruise.

To get a sense of the experience to expect during the Cruise, check out the video below – 

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, you may be offered a different date or a full refund.

Tours in New Zealand

# Mount Cook helicopter tours
# Helicopter tours from Queenstown
Franz Josef Glacier helicopter tours

Recommended Reading

# Experiencing your first helicopter flight
# Clothes to wear during helicopter tours
# How to overcome fear of flying
Scuba diving – how long to wait before flying?
Why helicopter tours are an excellent activity
FAQs about Helicopter tours

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