Aoraki Mount Cook National Park offers the best mountain and glacial scenery in New Zealand. Fly alongside the Southern Alps and view the breath-taking landscape of the Tasman Valley.
Discover the stunning ice formations of the Hochstetter Icefall as you fly beneath the east face of Aoraki Mount Cook and along the length of the Tasman Glacier. Experience the unique thrill of landing on either the Tasman, Fox or Franz Josef Glaciers.
- Experience New Zealand’s iconic scenery like never before with one of these incredible scenic flights from Mount Cook Ski Plane & Helicopters.
- Soak up spectacular views of the breathtaking countryside during your 10-minute scenic flight in one of their fixed wing Ski Planes.
- Alight atop New Zealand’s largest glacier, and be awed by the sheer scale and majesty of the Tasman Glacier during your 35-minute scenic flight and landing.
- Extend the experience, and traverse even more of the South Island’s unique landscape with a 65-minute scenic flight and double glacier landing – this one-of-a-kind experience landing on not one but two different glacier areas is sure to leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
- Flights available in 25min, 35min, 45min or 55 minute options.
- Helicopter or Ski Plane Glacier Landing Flights available. Minimum numbers apply.
- Combined Helicopter and Ski Plane Options available for group bookings of 8 or more at no additional cost.
MOUNT COOK HISTORY
The founder of Mount Cook Ski Planes, Harry Wigley, developed an interest in aviation while still at school and started flying in the early 1930’s. He gained his A Class pilots licence in 1935, and also flew with the Royal New Zealand Air Force.In 1953 while flying tourists around Mount Cook and over the glaciers, Harry Wigley saw the need for a retractable ski which would allow aeroplanes to take off from an airfield and land on snow.
Although fixed skis used for snow takeoffs and landings were in existence, international enquiries confirmed that a retractable ski had not yet been developed. Fixed skis were not practicable at Mount Cook Airfield, where snow remains on the runway for only a limited time during the winter.
Hundreds of hours were spent developing a wheel which protruded through the ski during takeoff and landing at the airfield. The ski was then mechanically lowered during flight to allow landings on the snowfields of the Tasman Glacier.
Harry Wigley piloted an Auster aircraft, the first Ski Plane using a retractable ski on 22 September 1955, with Alan McWhirter as passenger. Another passenger on that historic day was Sir Edmund Hillary.
Over the next few years the concept and design were refined, including hydraulically operated skis with plastic soles were developed. The introduction of the more powerful Cessna 180 allowed the Ski Planes to operate all year round. Today, Mount Cook Ski Planes operate a fleet of Cessna 185 and Pilatus Porter PC6 aircraft.