Aerial view of Mount Cook and Lake Pūkaki. © rusm

The Grand Traverse: a spectacular flight of fancy

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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!

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