Aerial view of Mount Cook and Lake Pūkaki. © rusm

The Grand Traverse: a spectacular flight of fancy


While it’s always stunning to get in amongst it all, try getting above it now and again for the ultimate mountain experience.

The Grand Traverse is a spectacular scenic flight that explores the Aoraki Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini national park, covering about 200km of unforgettable scenery. Stunning. Jaw-dropping. Spellbinding. Then you run out of words...

This 45-minute sweep of the terrain takes in some of the most outstanding sights you will see in a lifetime of outstanding sights. Turquoise glacial lakes, their greens and blues too vibrant to be true. Swathes of golden tussocklands and concrete-coloured braided river systems spread out as you swoop past. The gazillion hectares of high-country sheep stations in the Mackenzie Basin. Glacial valleys, alien landforms.

The Aoraki Mt Cook National Park is permanently under snow and ice, that bright white glare a wonderful wilderness unfolding craggy peak by craggy peak beneath your wings.

Westland Tai Poutini National Park includes the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers: you get to swoop down upon them like a crazed gull from a viewpoint few seldom experience.

It gives you perspective, context, understanding and the chills. Everyone gets a window seat (imagine all that and all you saw was the aisle carpet!) and the ‘wings-above’ configuration of the plane means obstruction-free viewing. Chocks away!

Explore more...

More stories like this

Find out more

Things to do

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park: home to our own Everest

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park is a rugged land of ice and rock, with 19 peaks over 3000 metres, including New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mount Cook.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Get outdoors

Westland Tai Poutini National Park: ancient ice

Westland Tai Poutini is an area of majestic primeval vistas: snow-capped mountains, glistening glaciers, forests, lakes, rivers and wetlands. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Get outdoors

Westland: land of ice dragons

Like an unfurling, white dragon, the Franz Josef Glacier flexes and curves between steep-walled valleys. Māori named it Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere – tears of the Avalanche Girl. Read the story . . . 

Find out more


Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers: monuments to nature’s power and beauty

Experience Fox and Franz Josef – two of the 140 glaciers that flow from the Southern Alps. Read the story . . .