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Canterbury, New Zealand

Day trips

Our most recommended Canterbury, New Zealand Day Trips

Mount Cook: Scenic Helicopter Flight with Alpine Landing

1. Mount Cook: Scenic Helicopter Flight with Alpine Landing

Experience Mount Cook National Park from the sky. Enjoy a 25-minute scenic adventure that includes an alpine landing amongst the mountains. Have exceptional views of Aoraki (Mt Cook) and the surrounding snow-capped mountain ranges right from take off.  Be captivated throughout the entire flight. Explore the valleys and peaks of the national park. Journey through the Tasman Valley and over a breathtaking blue glacier lake. Experience an alpine landing on the stunning upper snowfields in the Southern Alps.  Disembark the aircraft and enjoy the elevated alpine landscape before returning to the helicopter to fly back to Mount Cook Airport. Your expert pilot will offer informative and interesting commentary throughout the flight to ensure you receive the best possible experience.

Akaroa Harbour 2-Hour Nature Cruise

2. Akaroa Harbour 2-Hour Nature Cruise

Experience an award-winning nature cruise of Akaroa Habor. Discover wildlife like dolphins, seals, penguins, and other seabirds. Gaze upon giant volcanic sea cliffs and hear about Akaroa's fascinating past.  Travel on a modern catamaran, which is perfect for viewing the natural wonders of Akaroa Harbour. There's lots of room on the two decks for unimpeded viewing and plenty of covered seating for shade and shelter. Inside, for your convenience you'll find a bar and washrooms. Each cruise is fully narrated by your skipper who has extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife and the history of the harbour. As Akaroa Harbour was a live volcano millions of years ago, there are many spectacular ancient lava flows to be seen. One cliff has a sheer 500-foot face and a fascinating history, while Nikau Palm Gully is the southernmost limit for these tropical palm trees. There is also the incredible Scenery Nook, an amazing pink, purple and red volcanic amphitheater that will take your breath away.

Mount Cook: Ski Plane and Helicopter Alpine Combo Flight

3. Mount Cook: Ski Plane and Helicopter Alpine Combo Flight

Fly in a ski plane and a helicopter on the same day for an unforgettable experience of Aoraki/Mount Cook. Enjoy a scenic adventure that includes a glacier snow landing. From take-off to landing, enjoy spectacular views. Fly up the Tasman Valley over the breathtaking blue glacier lake. See the Hochstetter Icefall and the cloud-piercing Aoraki/Mount Cook before landing on the upper snowfields of the Tasman Glacier.  Take time to enjoy this unique alpine environment. These mountains are covered in snow and ice all year round, and the aircraft fully shuts down on landing.  Then, swap aircraft and return to Mount Cook Airport. During the tour, you'll also see Tasman Terminal Lake, Grand Plateau, Plateau Hut, as well as the full length of the Tasman Glacier.

Franz Josef Town: Glacier Helicopter Tour with Snow Landing

4. Franz Josef Town: Glacier Helicopter Tour with Snow Landing

Take in some of New Zealand’s most impressive mountains during a helicopter ride. Land among them for even more spectacular views and fantastic photo opportunities. Meet at the local partner’s office to check in and attend a safety briefing. Then, following a transfer to a private hangar, you will meet your pilot and board the helicopter for takeoff. Put your headset on to enjoy your pilot's guided commentary. Fly over the terminal moraine of the ancient Franz Josef Glacier and up the valley over the ice river. Take in the ice pinnacles and crevasses before flying onwards amongst the impressive Southern Alps. Land on an elevated landing site to enjoy stunning views of some of New Zealand’s highest mountains. You will have plenty of time to take incredible photos before returning to the hangar.

From Queenstown: Lord Of The Rings Tour to Glenorchy

5. From Queenstown: Lord Of The Rings Tour to Glenorchy

Enjoy a small-group tour of the most iconic Lord of the Rings filming locations in New Zealand, specially designed for fans of the films. Within minutes of leaving Queenstown, reach the Glenorchy Road, which follows the edges of the Great Lake Wakatipu, and has been voted  one of the top 10 drives in the world. Admire snowcapped mountains that arise around every corner of the journey. Your first stop will be the 12 Mile Delta. Here, enjoy a short nature walk over the 12 Mile canyon footbridge and spot trout and salmon in the crystal-clear water below. Learn about the local flora and fauna and visit the locations, where scenes from the films were shot. Next, refuel with a delicious morning or afternoon tea picnic near the famous Glenorchy red shed and wharf. Once you have eaten enough to satisfy a Hobbit, adventure further into the World Heritage Mt. Aspiring National Park, home of Lothlorien Forest, where you will have the opportunity to snap some photographs dressed as your favorite Lord of the Rings character with replica swords from the trilogy. Next, head up the Dart Valley through "Paradise" to Isengard for some time to enjoy this amazing location in this spectacular glacier-carved valley. Stories and behind-the-scenes secrets will be shared by your passionate local guides on the way back to Queenstown.

Mount Cook: 3 Hour Heli Hike to the Tasman Glacier

6. Mount Cook: 3 Hour Heli Hike to the Tasman Glacier

Enjoy a once in a lifetime heli hiking experience on the Tasman Glacier in the Aoraki (Mount Cook) National Park. Begin your adventure with a flight from Mount Cook airport over the gorgeous Tasman Glacier Lake and ice formations. Venture on to the surprisingly undulating ice terrain, in the shadow of the highest peaks of the Southern Alps, Aoraki, and Mount Tasman. Be equipped with glacier boots and crampons and spend 2 hours in another world in the mountains. On the return flight home, you will fly close to the massive 1,000-meter high Hochstetter Icefall on the eastern face of Aoraki. Take in the picturesque landscapes that are covered in beautiful white snow and ice year round. 

Kaikoura: 30-Minute Whale Watching Flight

7. Kaikoura: 30-Minute Whale Watching Flight

Receive an informative briefing of the Sperm Whales and other wildlife of Kaikoura, ready for your 30-minute flight experience. Learn about its unique geology, and what you can expect to see during the flight. Spend a special half hour viewing these majestic creatures from a unique vantage point.  Head directly out over the Kaikoura Whale Sanctuary to start looking for Kaikoura's wildlife. This whale watching flight showcases the year-round whales and dolphins, as well as the stunning coastline and peninsula. Focusing on the mighty Sperm Whale, this is a once-in-a-lifetime flight to view these animals, as well as other whale and dolphin species that migrate through Kaikoura's waters.  All aircraft are high-winged, which allows each person their own window seat and optimal, unobstructed viewing and photography opportunities. Your tour finishes back at the terminal where there is a gift shop and refreshments available.

Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo

8. Christchurch Gondola and Tram City Tour Combo

Climb aboard the Christchurch Gondola cable car and enjoy spectacular 360-degree views across the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps as you glide across the slopes of Mount Cavendish in the Port Hills. See as far as the city and harbor as you ride up to the summit 445 meters above sea level. Make use of the facilities at the top, such as the Time Tunnel ride, a dramatic reconstruction of the history of the region. Revive your spirits at the Red Rock Café before or after going for a walk or bike ride along the many nature trails. Take a unique sightseeing tour of the inner city aboard an antique tram as the driver provides a live and entertaining commentary. A full circuit takes 50 minutes and includes 17 stops, where you can hop on and off as often as you wish. Visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Cathedral Junction, Canterbury Museum, and much more.  

From Queenstown: Mount Cook Small Group Adventure

9. From Queenstown: Mount Cook Small Group Adventure

At 3724m, Aoraki/Mt Cook is by no means among the world’s tallest but with the nearby Mt Cook village just 750m above sea-level, the mountain can be viewed without any acclimatization whatsoever, and so this tour is perfect for people of all levels of fitness. The guided tour begins with pickups in Queenstown and Frankton, before you then travel through the stunning Kawarau gorge to Cromwell. After making a comfort stop in the quaint township of Omarama (where you have the option to taste one of the best creamy chicken pies in New Zealand), you climb your way through Lindis Pass, one of only 3 alpine roads through the otherwise impassable Southern Alps. As you exit the Pass, you may catch glimpses of the mighty mountain itself; but before arriving there is much more to see, including what many consider one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Lake Pukaki is one of the bluest lakes you will ever see, and is framed by the backdrop of Aoraki and its brothers in the Southern Alps. The location of several scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lake Pukaki is a destination in and of itself. You soon pass the delta where the mountain’s various rivers, creeks and streams converge to form the lake, and the mountain continues to grow steadily in stature and grandeur until the shear scale of the view makes you feel powerless. Arriving at the alpine village of Mt Cook and the Hermitage - home of the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre - you now have the freedom to explore in whatever way suits your energy levels and budget. Please select the activity you would like to include during the booking process, which are at an additional charge.

Fox Glacier: Scenic Helicopter Flight with Snow Landing

10. Fox Glacier: Scenic Helicopter Flight with Snow Landing

Journey into the Southern Alps for this once in a lifetime helicopter flight over the Fox Glacier. Begin your adventure at the helicopter base in Fox Glacier Township, where you will be greeted by your expert team. As you take off in your helicopter, be amazed by the panoramic views over the town and surrounding landscapes before heading towards the Fox Glacier. As you draw closer to the picturesque mountains, fly over dramatic ice falls and deep crevasses before you descend for a snow landing. Here you will have an opportunity to take in your surroundings, breathe in the clean alpine air and take photos in this winter wonderland. When you are finished, join your pilot in the return flight back to the Fox Glacier Township.

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What people are saying about Canterbury, New Zealand

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 92 reviews

One of the most incredible scenic flights I've ever taken for sure, and an absolute must-do while you're in Queenstown. The staff were fantastic, our flight time had to moved slightly due to availability but the admin team went above and beyond to ensure the time suited us as we were departing Queenstown straight after. Our pilot was entertaining & informative, the flight itself was quite bumpy due to wind but he talked throughout the flight explaining what was happening and ensuring everyone felt comfortable. The flight went over tonnes of snowy mountains and glaciers around Queenstown, with an alpine landing in a gorgeous spot with panoramic views. It was absolutely freezing outside, -4 for us, so take warm clothes and gloves in winter. On the way to and from the landing we saw Skippers Canyon and some incredible braided rivers. The only downside is that two people sit in the middle seats without a window but we were able to switch seats at the snow landing so everyone got a turn.

Dan has been the best tour guide during my entire trip to New Zealand! He’s full of information & knowledge about the area & had lots of interesting points about the geography of the Aoraki / Mount Cook areas! The tour was extremely fun, with great commentary by Dan, great music (and excellent chats), as well as the scenic views and added options made the trip so much more amazing! Absolutely beautiful views everywhere you looked! Thanks again for the great tour Dan :) definitely will come back to see all of NZ!

It was a fantastic tour with a wonderful tour guide who looked after us from start to finish. He was very knowledgeable, kind and caring and the tour was well paced throughout the day.

From ringing to confirm weather ci ditions to the cimetion of my trip I found the staff very friendly and helpful.

wonderful guide anujk and always with the good energy, thank you greetings from Tahiti