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A Fabulous Helicopter Ride to Tasman Glacier

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

A stunning day to experience a memorable landing on Tasman Glacier just northeast of Aoraki/Mt Cook

We actually had two helicopters for this group of 11. It was a gorgeous day with warm conditions and very low winds. Nice to have the champagne ready to pop upon arrival! Make sure you ask for drinks and snacks when you book.


The trip starts from the Mt Cook Airport just a few minutes drive from the Hermitage Hotel. Of course it's a very small airport used mostly for local tourist activity. We wanted the ski plane and helicopter combination - where you fly in on one and fly out on the other. Unfortunately their ski plane was not active that day. There are several companies that do similar flights, but we used Mt Cook Ski Planes & Helicopters. They did a nice job.

There are several companies that do similar flights, but we used Mt Cook Ski Planes & Helicopters. They did a nice job.

You board the helicopter on the tarmac and within a couple of minutes you're in the air! It's quite a liberating feeling when you take that first turn, with the nose of the helicopter pointed down and head toward the valley. By the way, helicopter crashes are VERY rare and these pilots are well trained.

This is a video of our take-off and first turns up the valley. Exciting!


We flew over some ridges on the way up the valley, that were dramatic to see from the air. I was happy to tell the pilot that plenty of height over the ridge is OK!

I was happy to tell the pilot that plenty of height over the ridge is OK!

The flight is relatively short (about 10 minutes each way), but it gave us plenty to look at while making our way up the valley.

This video shows our flight over the ridges making our way up the valley


We had a stunning day and the valley leading up to the higher elevation showed the large glacier flow, that cuts into the mountain. It's almost like a solid, frozen river descending from the main accumulation higher up.


The glacier flow down the valley, part of the Tasman Glacier


As we approached the landing point, the other helicopter was a kilometre or so in front of us, and it seemed so small compared to everything around it. The light changed every few minutes with the sun coming out and then hiding temporarily, changing the colours of the sky, the snow and the mountain slopes. The next video shows our approach to the main part of the glacier and the smooth landing.

The light changed every few minutes with the sun coming out and then hiding temporarily, changing the colours of the sky, the snow and the mountain slopes

This is a great video showing our landing, but also the small spec that is the other helicopter in the distance


We spent about 20 minutes on the snow for some champagne and photos. It's a large and beautiful valley of snow. They take skiers up to the top in the winter for 'heli-skiing' trips. Flying back was no less beautiful and we were so happy with our experience. A very memorable day indeed!


A photo at the top; the ride back; safely on the tarmac at Mt Cook Airport


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