Fancy the idea of exploring New Zealand from above in your own aircraft and with your own pilot?
Our REST NZ Sky Safari is a truly magical experience your friends will envy you for.
A Sky Safari is like a road trip only there’s no car and no roads. You go where you want, see what you’ve dreamt of.
Still need to add some flying hours to your licence? This tour is designed for pilots, pilots-to-be and non-pilots alike. Be in control, all under the trained eyes of your instructing pilot, or simply lean back, let your pilot do the work and enjoy the view from above.
On arrival in Christchurch Meet & Greet by REST NEW ZEALAND TOURS and transfer to your pre-tour accommodation in order to be ready for your tour, which starts tomorrow morning.
Transfer to Christchurch Airport where you will be greeted by your pilot/guide of Air Canterbury which is the air transport division of Canterbury Aero Club, New Zealand’s largest aero club. Air Canterbury is Canterbury’s own airline and offers a range of services including corporate air shuttles, scenic flights and air freight as well as providing airborne capability to the Canterbury coastguard.
All Air Canterbury flights are operated by senior staff who are experienced in both mountain scenic and air charter operations.
Air Canterbury is certified under NZ CAA Part 135 to provide air transport operations.
After the initial tour briefing, we commence our tour and head towards the North Island of New Zealand in order to visit its capital Wellington. We will have to cross Cook Strait, which divides North and South Island and after arrival we will take a short drive through the city past the House of Parliament and other highlights. A visit to New Zealand’s impressive National Museum “Te Papa” followed by lunch at the Museum Café will conclude our brief introduction to this charming city.
We are heading back direction South Island and will cross over one of New Zealand’s scenic highlights, the Marlborough Sounds. From the fiords we make our way towards the world famous Abel Tasman National Park and you will see beautiful golden beaches bordering bush clad hills. This National Park is one of the most popular hiking venues in New Zealand. Today’s final destination Blenheim is the “Sunshine Capital” of New Zealand and situated on the Wairau Plain near the top of the South Island. Blenheim’s combination of high sunshine hours, a long ripening period, and freedraining river flats have put the district’s vineyards at the forefront of the International Wine Industry.
For the morning, we recommend a tour of one of the numerous vineyards in the region (optional).
Take-off, heading south towards the rugged West Coast, a sparsely populated part of the country, bordered by the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps. The combination of the wild ocean, foothills covered with exotic native bush, high mountains and glaciers, is absolutely unique. On the West Coast, remnants of the ice age cascade from vast snowfields of the Southern Alps to valley floors just 300 metres above sea level. Nowhere in the world’s temperate zones are glaciers so accessible - glaciers covering nearly half the area of the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park.
New Zealand’s most famous glaciers are the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers on the South Island’s West Coast. Gouged out by moving ice over thousands of years, the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are easily accessible to mountaineers and hikers. We will be flying via Franz Josef and Fox Glacier further down to Haast, which is the start of the Haast Pass, one of the three crossings between the West Coast and the other parts of the South Island. Via Lake Wanaka, we finally reach Queenstown our destination for today.
Enjoy dining in one of the many restaurants the “Adventure Capital of the World” has to offer and go for a stroll along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. We stay overnight in Queenstown.
We have kept the morning free for you so you can enjoy some of the activities on offer in this exciting location. Maybe you would like to go for a jet boat ride on the Shotover River or bungee jump from one of the bridges - there are many options available and your guide will help you to organize your program. Alternatively you may simply want to enjoy this superb location and visit one of the waterfront cafés. After take-off from Queenstown we are crossing through Central Otago, which offers a completely different landscape to the alpine environment of the last few days. The brown hills which are covered with tussock grass are beautiful in their own right and have given inspiration to many New Zealand painters. We are landing in Dunedin, the most southern city of New Zealand and make our way to our accommodation, which will be home for the next two nights.
Depending on the weather conditions, we will have two options available today. If conditions are favorable, we will head for Stewart Island, which is in the Southland region of New Zealand. Stewart Island is New Zealand’s third and southern-most island and a haven for native bird life. The most popular trip in to the predatorfree, nature sanctuary, Ulva Island is a must do for any visitor, especially bird watchers, plant enthusiasts. An excellent educational trip which can be organized for you by your guide! Enjoy an easy walk in primeval forest, superb birdsong and close encounters with endangered and rare New Zealand birds and birds unique to Stewart Island.
The other option is a trip to Mandeville to visit a company, which specializes in the manufacturing and restoration of de Havilland and vintage aircraft. Mandeville is also home for many vintage aircraft looked after by the Croydon Aviation Heritage Trust and there is also the opportunity for scenic flights available. We return to Dunedin for another overnight stay.
After departure from Dunedin we are heading back towards the Southern Alps. Our first goal is Aoraki/ Mount Cook, which is the highest mountain in New Zealand. It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favorite challenge for mountain climbers. At 3754 m, New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mount Cook is dazzling, yet there are 27 other mountains in this alpine backbone which peak at over 3050 m and hundreds of others not far short of that - all making up the famous Southern Alps.
Mount Cook Ski Planes offer the most spectacular alpine scenic flight in the world. The aircraft takes you from Mount Cook Airport directly into the heart of the Southern Alps including Mount Cook and the Tasman Glacier, one of the longest glaciers in the world. After an awe inspiring flight through breathtaking scenery your ski equipped aircraft lands on one of the glaciers in the Mount Cook or Westland National Park, the engine is stopped, and you alight onto the glacier where climbers would take hours or days to reach. With the engine shut down you are able to experience the “natural quiet” of the mountains, broken only by the occasional avalanche or sounds from the glacier as it makes its way down the mountain. Upon re-embarking an even more spectacular takeoff from the snow covered glacier is followed by the return flight to base following the other side of the valley with your pilot identifying points of interest including climber huts, icefalls, and peaks, before your landing back at your point of departure. This flight is optional and is of course weather dependent!
We are departing from Mount Cook Village and are heading via Lake Tekapo back to Christchurch for another night in the Garden City. The flying tour is now officially completed and you will have your arrangements in place for the next day.
Transfer to the airport for your onward travel.