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 a 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 you book your Mount Cook helicopter tour.

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

What to expect on a Mount Cook tour

A Mount Cook heli tour is a perfect opportunity to get stunning visuals of a snow-capped mountain and then 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.

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.

Tickets for kids

While some of these tours are free for infants below three years, some of them have highly discounted tickets for infants. 

Whatever be the case, on the ticket booking page, you must mention if you are traveling with kids below three years. 

Cancellations

For a full refund, you can cancel the recommended tour tickets at least 24 hours before the experience.

1. Mount Cook and The Glaciers Helicopter Flight

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

During this helicopter 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.

Departure: The Helicopter Line Base at Glentanner Park (Google Map)

Duration: 50 minutes
Narration: Live Commentary by Pilot
Tour Operator: The Helicopter Line
Tour timings: 8 am to 5 pm (Oct to Mar), and 8:30 am to 5 pm (Apr to Sept)

Cost of the helicopter tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): $435
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): $305
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): $218 

See available dates & read reviews

2. Mount Cook Mountains High Helicopter Flight

The focus of this helicopter tour is Mount Cook, and you don’t get to see Franz Josef Glacier & Fox Glacier.

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. 

Departure: The Helicopter Line Base at Glentanner Park (Google Map)

Duration: 40 minutes
Narration: Live Commentary by Pilot
Tour Operator: The Helicopter Line
Tour timings: 8 am to 5 pm (Oct to Mar) and 8:30 am to 5 pm (Apr to Sept)

Cost of the helicopter tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): $323
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): $226
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): $161

See available dates & read reviews

3. Mount Cook Ski Plane and Helicopter Combo Tour

This trip is a fascinating Mount Cook tour because you get to experience both a helicopter ride and a ski plane. 

Image: Mustdonewzealand.co.nz

You go up the Tasman Valley over the blue glacier lake to see the Hochstetter Icefall and the cloud-piercing Aoraki.

You then land on the upper snowfields of the Tasman Glacier and take pics and fresh air.

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

Hotel pickup and drop-off is included in the ticket price.

Departure: Aoraki Mount Cook Airport (Google Map)

Duration: 45 minutes
Narration: Live Commentary by Pilot
Tour Operator: Inflite Ski Planes Limited
Tour timings: 8.30 am, 10.30 am, 12.30 pm, 2.30 pm, 4.30 pm

Cost of the helicopter tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): $263
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): $223
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): Free entry

See available dates & read reviews

4. Glacier Highlights Helicopter Tour from Mount Cook

You must opt for this helicopter tour if you want to experience everything the Mount Cook National Park 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. 

The Tasman Glacier landing is the highlight of this tour. Image: Viator.com

Departure: Aoraki Mount Cook Airport (Google Map)

Duration: 45 minutes
Narration: Live Commentary by Pilot
Tour Operator: Inflite Ski Planes Limited
Tour timings: 8.30 am, 4.30 pm

Cost of the helicopter tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): $329
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): $230
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): Free entry

See available dates & read reviews

5. Grand Circle Helicopter tour

This trip 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 the Aoraki Mountain, you fly past the Grand Plateau and the Hochstetter Icefall.

Then you 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. 

Departure: Aoraki Mount Cook Airport (Google Map)

Duration: 55 minutes
Narration: Live Commentary by Pilot
Tour Operator: Inflite Ski Planes Limited
Tour timings: 8.30 am, 4.30 pm

Cost of the helicopter tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): $395
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): $316
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): Free entry

See available dates & read reviews

6. Alpine Vista Helicopter Flight – cheapest heli tour from Mount Cook

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

Image: Helicopter.co.nz

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.

Departure: The Helicopter Line Base at Glentanner Park (Google Map)

Duration: 20 minutes
Narration: Live Commentary by Pilot
Tour Operator: The Helicopter Line
Tour timings: 8 am to 5 pm (Oct to Mar) and 8:30 am to 5 pm (Apr to Sept)

Cost of the helicopter tour

Adult ticket (15+ years): $184
Child ticket (4 to 14 years): $130
Infant ticket (up to 3 years): $92

See available dates & read reviews

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.