Guide to Choosing the Best Mount Cook Helicopter Flight

A helicopter is a great idea on a new Zealand road rip

Choosing a  Mount Cook helicopter flight can be confusing, especially with all the different routes and companies available. So, here’s everything you need to know about a Mount Cook Helicopter ride based on our personal experience!

Mount Cook Helicopter Ride

Mount Cook National Park is one of the most beautiful places on New Zealand’s South Island! The sharp sudden rise of the Southern Alps along with the many glaciers and the turquoise lakes that they feed into, make this one magical place. Thousands of people visit Mount Cook National Park every year and enjoy the views from the many hiking trails in the area. However, too truly get the best views, a Mount Cook helicopter ride is hands down the best way.
Heres everything you need to know about a helicopter flight through Mount Cook and how to choose to best one for you!

This is a photo from a Mount Cook helicopter ride.
Flying by Mount Cook with views of the whole west coast!

Why take a scenic helicopter ride from Mount Cook National Park

If you’re still unsure about taking a flight around the National Park then don’t worry, I have plenty of reasons and amazing photos that will make the decision a little easier!

The Views

As mentioned above, the views are what truly make the flight so worth it. Mount Cook is not only the tallest mountain in New Zealand but, in my opinion, the most beautiful.
Its sharp peak is picture perfect and a magnificent site to see from above! Aside from seeing Mount Cook your also going to see (depending on your flight) several glaciers including the Franz Joseph and Fox Glacier, wildlife and so many other mountain peaks you will likely lose count!

Short on time

If you (like many visitors) don’t have several days to explore the park, then a Mount Cook helicopter ride is the best way to large amounts of Mount Cook National Park in of short amount time. Within seconds of taking off you are already taking in spectacular views and that doesn’t stop the entire flight.

It’s a helicopter!

Let’s face it, helicopters are cool as hell to ride in. The feeling of moving through the sky at 200km an hour in a tiny capsule is such an amazing experience!

Mount Cook helicopter flights
Riding in a helicopter is fun regardless of the views!

Plane vs. Helicopter

Helicopter flights aren’t the only scenic flights available in Mount Cook National Park, planes are also a great way to get some great views! However, in my opinion, nothing beats being able to hover high above the mountains and take in those breathtaking views. On a Mount Cook helicopter ride, you also get really close the peaks and zoom through the ridges that separate them.
For those reasons, its hands down a helicopter ride for me!

Mount Cook Helicopter flights
One of the most magical views! You can actually see the Franz Josef Glacier in this shot!

The different routes available

All helicopter companies in Mount Cook offer a range of flights. These are mostly done by minutes in the air but also whether you land on Tasman Glacier or not. The times available are 25 minutes, 35 minutes, 45 minutes and 55 minutes.
The longer the flight the more ground you cover. For instance, the 25-minute flight will only fly past Mount Cook, land on the glacier, check out a few more mountains and then fly back. However, the 55-minute flight will show you the entire west coast.
The longer the flight the better, but choosing which length of time is best for you will likely depend more on your budget than on time.

Mount Cook Heli flights
The ever-shifting river on the valley floor!

There are other packages available like Heli Ski, glacier and lake tour add-ons and hiking. These packages are usually half-day activities and are also about the hiking/skiing rather than just the scenic flight, which is a great way to get more out of your trip!
Below is a photo of the different routes offered by Heliworks.

What does it cost?

Prices on flights vary so much depending on your package so it’s very hard to give prices on every activity. However for some general knowledge of what to expect, below are the prices for a scenic Mount Cook helicopter ride with one glacier landing when we were there.
25minutes – $280pp
35minutes – $365pp
45 minutes – $470pp
55 minutes – $580pp

Views of Mount cook from a helicopter
The views from a Mount Cook helicopter ride are worth every penny!

Which Company to Fly with

As you would know scenic flights are not the cheapest so I have only flown with one company in Mount Cook and that is Heliworks.
They are a great company owned by locals who grew up in the area. Mark, our pilot was awesome to say the least and the stories and info he has on the area is awesome! We felt safe during the whole flight and were also reassured by Mark’s 40 years’ experience flying helicopters.
Both Bailey and I highly recommend Heliworks to all of our readers and trust that your experience will be just a magical as ours!
*Discloser*– This is not a sponsored post nor is the company paying us for this recommendation

You can book your Mount Cook helicopter flight here

Landing on the Tasman Glacier on a Mount Cook helicopter flight!
Landing on the Tasman Glacier!


Our visit to Mount Cook is home to some of our fondest memories of New Zealand. The sheer beauty of the National Park really takes your breath away. The scenic flight only adds to this already amazing adventure, and to me, it made our trip as great as it was.
However, regardless of whether a scenic Mount Cook helicopter ride is in your budget, there are so many other amazing things to do that won’t cost you a penny.
Keep Reading
The Sealy Tarns Track – Likely the most underrated day hike in the park this trail is only 4 hours long and takes you high off the valley floor towards the Mueller Hut.
The Hooker Valley – It’s a classic but we have a few tips that will help you beat the large crowds!
The Tasman Valley walk to Tasman Lake This is the shortest hike in the park with a 30 minute return time. However, it’s still so stunning and even better at sunrise.
The Mueller Hut – Fancy spending a night in New Zealands coolest alpine hut? Then check out our post on how to do it!
-Daniel

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