Now it is one thing to discover Queenstown and the Southern Lakes region from ground level, although it can be very quickly transformed into one of the most incredible adventure activities when discovering it from above in a helicopter!
Departing from The Helicopter Line base near Queenstown Airport, we took to the skies in one of the most exhilarating modes of transport. Lifting up toward The Remarkables, we got a close-up view of the rugged peaks and specs of snow still clinging to the ‘double cone’ formation at the highest point of the range.
The colours of the surrounding scenery appeared even more vibrant when viewed from above – greens of the grassy hills contrasted perfectly with the turquoises and blue of Lake Wakatipu.
After just a few minutes of admiring the views, the scenery soon changed from lush paddocks and dazzling lakes to baron and dry mountains topped with stark white snow. Even though we were flying in the middle of summer, I was surprised to find that much snow still around within such close proximity to Queenstown.
Our pilot was highlighting the landmarks of the region we were flying over and gave us some insight into the history of how this landscape was formed through commentary on our headsets.
My finger was permanently glued to my cameras shutter button as the landscapes kept changing, becoming more remarkable with each minute that passed. What made the journey even more spectacular was flying in convoy with another helicopter that was heading to the same destination. It made for some great photo opportunities!
As we prepared for a glacier landing, I began getting butterflies as the moment really sunk in and made me realise how surreal this experience was.
Once the helicopters had landed and it was safe to exit, we jumped out onto the snow. It was an incredible sight looking out over the Isobel Glacier and up to the snow capped peaks surrounding us. Even though we left Queenstown’s warm summer weather in a t-shirt, it became clear why they recommended we bring a jacket. Despite the sun still shining and hardly a cloud in the sky, the temperature dropped quite a bit.
We had a good chat to the friendly pilots, who gave a bit of history on the region and showed us some key points of interest.
Once we had snapped all of the different photo combinations we could think of, it was time to head back into the helicopter and take off for the return journey.
This time we had to drop a guest off at the iconic Skyline Queenstown Gondola, so we were treated with a different flight route. It started off with sights of the snowy peaks, which became more bare the closer we got to Queenstown.
We then turned left and a dramatic panoramic view of Lake Wakatipu came into view, even spotting the famous TSS Earnslaw was cruising across the lake toward Walter Peak.
We flew above thick pine forest of Bobs Peak and descended toward the Skyline Queenstown heli-pad.
After saying farewell to some guests that we had shared this incredible experience with, the helicopter then took off on the final leg of our flight.
I loved flying over Queenstown, the houses looked so tiny and the lake was radiating with the most beautiful shades of blue and green – a sight you will rarely see from the ground.
You cannot beat this aerial view of the lake with the mighty Remarkable mountain range as the backdrop!
This is one experience that you need to add to you list of things to do in Queenstown. No matter whether it is summer or winter, the team at The Helicopter Line will do their best to find some snow for you to see and feel!