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3 of the best ways to discover the Southern Lakes of New Zealand by air

There is no doubt that New Zealand is famous for it’s stunning scenery, and there is perhaps no better place to experience the breath-taking views than from the air. Perspective is everything, and you will be amazed at how vast and majestic the mountains, lakes and rivers appear from above. There are a number of ways to explore the region by air, but these are some of our favourites.


It is currently wintertime in the southern hemisphere so why not combine a helicopter ride through the Southern Alps of New Zealand with another luxury activity – skiing! You can be whisked away for a day of heli-skiing from either Wanaka or Queenstown depending on where you are based. If the weather is on your side you will see stunning views of seemingly endless mountain ranges, the famous peaks of Mt Aspiring and Mt Cook, and to top it all off you get to ski all day with no lift lines, and deep, fresh powder. Bliss!

Hot air ballooning

If you are staying in Queenstown or Wanaka and would like to see the scenery from a more relaxed vantage point, then hot air ballooning is the ultimate choice. Operating in both winter and summer (and everything in between), a hot air balloon experience is not to be missed. Sunrise Balloons launch from different locations in Queenstown and the hour long flight is usually followed by a bottle of champagne (or two) upon landing. The views on a calm day are stunning, from the sun-kissed golden hills of Central Otago to lakes that look like mirrors. Could you think of any better way to start the day?

Hot air balloons in New Zealand

Scenic flights to Milford Sound

One of the best day trips from Queenstown is a trip to Milford Sound. By car it is a pretty big day trip, close to four hours each way. By air however, the trip becomes a dream. Milford Sound Scenic Flights operate day trips to Milford that also include a cruise on arrival at Milford Sound. Milford Sound is a spectacular fiord that was carved out by massive glaciers many years ago. To see it from the sky, and then by boat allows you to really appreciate the ancient forces that shaped New Zealand. The flight also takes in snow-capped mountains, luscious green forests, and the vast Tasman Sea.

Angela Schrider is Director at NZ Snow Tours.

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  1. Hi Orlando,

    Thanks for the comment. Your right to love the idea, as ballooning in NZ is just an incredible experience. The cost is around $450NZD per adult and $300NZD for children. It is well worth it!

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