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Mount Cook helicopter tours – tickets, prices, timings

Mount Cook dominates the Southern Alps mountain range that divides New Zealand’s South Island into east and west.

People of New Zealand often refer to Mount Cook as Aoraki or ‘the cloud piercer.’

The best way to explore Mount Cook National Park’s towering mountains, vast glaciers, and remote snowfields is by helicopter tour.

Tourists love these heli tours because of the incredible mountain views and the opportunity for a snow landing on the Tasman Glacier.

In this article, we share everything you must know before booking a Mount Cook helicopter tour.

Best Mount Cook helicopter tours

Mt Cook helicopter rides come in many flavors. 

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

Alpine Vista Helicopter Tour

The 20-minute Alpine Vista heli tour in Mount Cook is the cheapest air tour of its kind.

If you want to experience the thrill of a helicopter flight and snow landing, this is the perfect tour departing from Mount Cook township.

During the flight, you will see fantastic visuals of the Ben Ohau Mountain Range and then have a 10-minute snow landing in the fresh Alpine air.

Tour Operator: The Helicopter Line

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): US$197
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): US$138
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): US$98

If you want the same flight to be a little longer, check out the Alpine Explorer Helicopter Flight, where the duration of the helicopter flight is 35 minutes.

Mount Cook Ski Plane and Helicopter Combo Tour

This 45-minute Mount Cook air trip is fascinating because you get to experience both a helicopter ride and a ski plane. 

Get spectacular aerial views of the Mount Cook National Park.

You go up the Tasman Valley over the Blue Glacier Lake to see the Hochstetter Icefall and the Aoraki.

Land on the upper snowfields of the Tasman Glacier, take pictures, and fresh air.

Once the pilot says it is time to go, you swap the flying machine and return. 

Tour Operator: Inflite Ski Planes Limited

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (13+ years): US$281
Child ticket (up to 12 years): US$251

Mount Cook Mountains High Helicopter Tour

The highlight of this 40-minute helicopter tour in Mount Cook is the Tasman Glacier.

View of Mount Cook from inside helicopter
View of Mount Cook from inside helicopter. Image: Helicopter.co.nz

You marvel at the Hochstetter Icefall on Aoraki/ Mount Cook and then do an Alpine landing in the snow for 5 to 10 minutes. 

You then fly by the Burnett Mountains and also take in panoramic views of the expansive Mackenzie Basin. 

Tour Operator: The Helicopter Line

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): US$347
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): US$243
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): US$173

Glacier Highlights Helicopter Tour from Mount Cook

You must opt for the 45-minute Glacier Highlights helicopter tour from Mount Cook if you want to experience everything New Zealand’s highest mountain has to offer.

You get to see Mount Cook, soar over the Tasman Terminal Lake, swoop past the Hochstetter Icefall, and finally touch down on the Tasman Glacier. 

Helicopter touch down on Tasman Glacier
The Tasman Glacier landing is the highlight of this tour. Image: Viator.com

Tour Operator: Inflite Ski Planes Limited

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): US$351
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): US$322
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): Free entry

Grand Circle Helicopter tour

The 55-minute Grand Circle helicopter tour over Mount Cook is the ultimate Southern Alps aerial tour. 

You start with the majestic landscape of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. 

Then, you move North along the Tasman Sea before recrossing the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps to the Tasman Glacier.

After enjoying the beautiful views of Aoraki Mountain, you fly past the Grand Plateau and the Hochstetter Icefall.

Pass under the East face of Aoraki Mt Cook for ten minutes of snow landing on Tasman Terminal Lake.

You can choose if you want this to be a helicopter tour or a ski plane adventure. 

Tour Operator: Inflite Ski Planes Limited

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (13+ years): US$410
Child ticket (4 to 12 years): US$377
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): Free entry

Mount Cook and The Glaciers Helicopter Flight

View of Mount Cook's Hooker Lake from chopper
View of Mount Cook’s Hooker Lake from the chopper. Image: Helicopter.co.nz

During this 55-minute Mount Cook heli tour, you see the mighty three – Mount Cook, Franz Josef Glacier & Fox Glacier.

During the trip, you also enjoy aerial views of the Tasman Glacier Lake and the stunning Tasman Glacier itself.

Midway through the trip, you land on the snow with the indomitable Aoraki/Mount Cook in front of you.

Tour Operator: The Helicopter Line

Cost of the tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): US$457
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): US$320
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): US$228

Mount Cook helped Sir Edmund Hillary develop his climbing skills in preparation for the conquest of Everest.


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What to expect on a Mount Cook tour

A Mount Cook heli tour is a perfect opportunity to get stunning visuals of snow-capped mountains and land on a glacier without the need for expert mountaineering skills.

Check out this video to know what to expect when you sit in a chopper and fly over New Zealand’s highest mountain.

Cost of Mount Cook heli rides

The cheapest helicopter ride over Mount Cook will cost approximately US$197 per person.

At the higher end is the Mount Cook and Glaciers Helicopter Flight, the tickets of which can go up to US$457 per person.

It is also the most popular tour over the mountain range.

Helicopter rides can be a costly affair.

So, it is important to know the tour costs in advance to plan your trip and factor it in with other considerations.

But there is no doubt that a Mount Cook heli tour will be an unforgettable activity in your life.

Departure point

Mount Cook helicopter tours offer a hotel pickup facility.

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

All helicopter tours organized by “The Helicopter Line” take off from Glentanner Park.

This includes the Mount Cook and Glaciers helicopter flight, Mount Cook Mountains High Helicopter Flight, and the Mount Cook Alpine Vista helicopter flight.

Address: Glentanner Park, State Highway 80, Glentanner 7999, New Zealand. Get directions

All helicopter tours organized by ” Inflite Ski Planes Limited” depart from Mount Cook Airport.

This includes the Mount Cook Ski Plane and Helicopter Combo Tour, Glacier Highlights heli tour from Mount Cook, and the Grand Circle heli ride in Mount Cook.

Address: Mount Cook Road, Canterbury 7999, New Zealand. Get directions

Note: The airport is located 3 minutes prior to Aoraki Mount Cook Village on State Highway 80.

Both heliports are 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.

Timings of the tours

Mount Cook heli tours run all days of the week.

Mount Cook and Glaciers Helicopter Flight takes off at 11.30 am and 3 pm.

40-minute helicopter tour in Mount Cook operates at 10.30 am, 2 pm, and 4 pm.

45-minute Mount Cook air trip combo departs at 10.30 am to 5.30 pm.

Glacier Highlights helicopter tour from Mount Cook takes place at 8.30 am, 3.30 pm, and 4.30 pm.

Grand Circle helicopter tour in Mount Cook flies at 8.30 am, 3.30 pm, and 4.30 pm.

Alpine Vista Helicopter Tour takes off at 9.30 pm, 1 pm, and 4 pm.

Restrictions strictly followed

Weight limits apply for safe and comfortable helicopter rides over Mount Cook.

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

Infants and children are allowed onboard, but infants must sit on the caregiver’s lap throughout the flight.

Availability of tours cannot be checked without making a booking. Credit cards will only be charged upon confirmation of show availability

A valid photo ID is required.

No pets are allowed onboard except service animals.

Check in at least 30 minutes early.

Flight times are approximate based on winds, weights, and conditions.

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

Exclusions of the air tours

Mount Cook heli tours do not include food and drinks unless stated otherwise.

Photos for souvenirs and items of a personal nature are excluded from your ticket.

Your ticket price is also not inclusive of gratuities.

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.

Related Reading

# Helicopter tours to Milford Sound
# Helicopter tours from Queenstown
Franz Josef Glacier helicopter tours

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