New Zealand is a special place.
Two islands make up the vast majority of this immaculate country and they boast a stunning range of scenery. From patchwork fields in the North Island to the stunning snow-capped Southern Alps in the South Island, it really is home to a diverse range of natural phenomenon.
One of the best ways of seeing all that NZ has to offer, though, is by taking some of the many helicopter and light aircraft tours on offer in various parts of the country.
Seeing it on the ground is fine for most places, but these five below are arguably better from the air.
Franz Josef glacier
The Franz Josef glacier may not be what you expect to see in a land often tarred with the same brush as its neighbour Australia by European and American travelers.
As the Southern Alps show, however, New Zealand is perhaps a more southerly destination than you might have imagined.
It’s quite an advanced climb for hikers looking for an adventure, but for everyone else, the sights are incredible. The glacier is one of the main tourist attractions of the South Island’s west coast and the breathtaking drama of the landscape as the glaciers sweep down from the mountains to the sea is a sight to behold – especially from your vantage point high above them.
White Island volcano
White Island is a privately owned nature reserve, and a volcanic island off the coast of the North Island. It isn’t the kind of place you go to stay, but it is an important conservation area and a spectacular piece of land jutting out of the ocean.
Located in the Bay of Plenty, this is a scenic trip over an active volcano and the perfect opportunity to explore some of the huge diversity of landscapes on offer in New Zealand.
Another hugely picturesque mountain in the Southern Alps, Mount Cook is a breathtaking sight.
It’s snow-capped peak rises far above the lakes and savage landscape below it and is a spectacular sight from the ground.
Take a helicopter flight from the city of Queenstown not far away and see the majestic mountain from above along with the rugged wilderness surrounding it.
Queenstown and the Southern Alps are perhaps best known to a mainstream audience from the Lord of the Rings films.
It is the setting for much of the geography of Middle Earth created by JRR Tolkien, and the breathtaking scenes from the films are the destination for tourists on the South Island.
You certainly don’t have to be a film buff to want to enjoy the sights, though. There’s a reason this part of the world captivated and bewitched cinema goers in the early 2000s – it’s because the landscape is simply breathtaking.
Ensure you see the spectacular waterfalls and the epic landscape this place has to offer – and once again it’s better from the air!
North Island in a hot air balloon
Ok, so this isn’t a helicopter flight but surely a sightseeing tour in a hot air balloon is even more exciting!
Float high over the idyllic lakes, forests, rivers and vineyards of the North Island in a balloon with a glass of the local bubbly in your hand and raise a glass to the most relaxing form of air travel you’ve ever experienced – there will be no lost luggage issues here!