Flying the flag for Wanaka’s newest luxury lodge

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

Mahu Whenua luxury Lodge

Milford Sound scenic flight ex Mahu Whenua luxury lodge

Wanaka finally has a new unique luxury accommodation that sits comfortably with the big names in New Zealand.

Mahu Whenua is a beautiful lodge situated on stunning grounds with breathtaking views over Lake Wanaka. The secluded lodge offers all the normal luxuries associated with a high end property – including easy helicopter access! Great for guests and for us…

We are literally just-around-the-corner so we’re perfectly placed to zip up and collect guests direct from the front lawn for a private personalised scenic flight.

As the flight path from Wanaka to Milford Sound is so spectacular this is by far the best starting point … we can then incorporate a visit to the West Coast and the spectacular glaciers of the Southern Alps and top it off with a relaxing exclusive lunch stop at the Whare Kea Chalet!

We’re also pleased to be working closely with property managers Major Domo to provide some great exclusive heli-based activities on and around the property. From Ridge-top canapés to Winery visits, the options are ‘almost’ endless.

Contact us for flight details: 

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TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence – 2017

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Helicopter Glacier Landing on the Isobel

Glacier Landing – Mt Aspiring National Park

Two years in a row and we’re super excited. The continued feedback from clients that the experiences we provide are exceptional has earned us our second Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.

We value client feedback and also greatly appreciate those who take the time to share their views online. For us it’s as good as ‘word-of-mouth’.

A huge thank you to our staff for going that extra mile to ensure clients go away happy and especially to our pilots for always giving 110% whether it’s to our commercial clients or visitors taking our scenic flights.   Well done Team!

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A remote luxury experience in the Southern Alps – National Geographic Traveller, June 2017

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

It’s often hard for us to put into words how the experiences we are offering will affect you – sometimes there are just no words adequate enough to convey what you can expect.

So we usually revert to “trust us, it’ll be amazing – once you’ve done it you’ll understand”.

This is not only the case for our scenic flights but also for the Whare Kea Chalet, a remote exclusive accommodation that we operate on the edge of the Southern Alps. Words simply cannot describe the experience.

However, we think writer “Carrie Miller” has managed to sum it up perfectly in her recent article for the National Geographic Traveller magazine which was published last month.

Have a read and see if you can’t just picture yourself there right now!

Whare Kea Chalet article

Article by Carrie Miller for the National Geographic Traveler magazine published in June, 2017




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Wanaka Heliski – Open for Business

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

Heilskiing, Heli-skiing, Heliboarding, heli-boarding wanaka

Heli-skiing in the Harris Mountains

It’s that time of year again, frosty mornings, fresh snow, fires cranking. Time for a winter treat!

Our suggestion: take to the skies for the ultimate skiing experience.

We kicked off the Wanaka heli-ski season last week with some sensational conditions. Superb skiing with consistent snow – you can check out some of the footage here.

If you’re heading to Wanaka or Queenstown during the school holidays and looking to avoid the carparks, crowds and queues why not treat yourself to a day out heli-skiing with Harris Mountains Heliski (we fly for them).

You’ll be picked up in town and driven to our base for a stella day out in the mountains, soaking up the fresh air, and laying your own first tracks on some of the best terrain in the region.

Contact us for more information +61 3 443 7152 or email

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Taking Keith Morrison to the Mountains

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Scenic Flight Wanaka - alpine landing

NBC Dateline Sunday program featured an article on American’s fascination with New Zealand. Pictured above Liz Carlson and presenter Keith Morrison

We have the odd ‘rich and famous’ person come through our hangar and usually these are low-key affairs.

However on this occasion we’d like to share with you our experience with Dateline NBC presenter Keith Morrison.

He was here filming an interesting light-hearted look at the apparent American fascination with New Zealand.

Keith interviewed some key American’s who have relocated to our fine shores: namely local vineyard owner Sam Neill and travel writer Liz Carlson.

And he went flying with our pilot Tim who has an eye for finding those great angles for filming New Zealand’s stunning vistas.

You can check the article out here …

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Recognition for summer rescue mission

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Variety is the spice of life and you can ask any of our pilots and they’ll agree. Each day is different and sometimes you just have to go with it.

We help out with the local Search and Rescue team and last summer Pilot Tim Coldicott and Wanaka Search and Rescue volunteers Lionel and Dave were first responders on the scene of a major incident on Mt Aspiring which could have cost lives… but didn’t – thanks to the skills and dedication of this well-oiled team.

For us the call came in from the RCC on a day that was already too busy, after a few days of bad weather there was a back-log of commercial work and scenic flights to get through – the pressure was already on… One phone call and priorities quickly changed, radio comms were made with Tim, scenic flights were put on hold and the call went out to local SAR volunteers – their help was needed asap.

This is how it rolls in the world of the Rescue Co-ordination Centre, the call goes out and the operators and volunteers who are dedicated to saving lives, put their businesses and personal lives on hold to help those in need.

This dedication and selflessness is at the backbone of our Search and Rescue teams. Two very lucky climbers have our guys to thank for their lives.

This month the team was formally recognised for their efforts in this rescue when NZSAR awarded Aspiring Helicopters, Wanaka Search and Rescue’s Alpine Cliff Rescue Team and Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust with a Certificate of Achievement – we took it as a sign of appreciation. 

Recognition for something we all do as ‘par for the course’ is welcomed and greatly appreciated.  

This is not just another job for any of us, this is a tools down, life and business on hold, forget everything else request – each and every time the call comes in.

So we’d like to say thank you NZSAR for recognising our contribution – and thank you to the Wanaka volunteers for your ongoing dedication and commitment…. Oh and a special thank you to all those lovely people on that day whose plans were disrupted but who were happy to wait the extra hour or two for their scenic flight!.  

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Making the Grade – Whare Kea Chalet listed #10 in Lonely Planet’s “Best of 2017”

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Whare Kea Chalet and Mt Aspiring

Whare Kea Chalet luxury lodge sits on the edge of Mt Aspiring National Park

It’s always nice to get a little recognition for something you are doing right but it’s even better when the big guns give kudos to something you operate and we are quite chuffed that the Lonely Planet has listed the “Whare Kea Chalet” in it’s Top Ten places to stay in 2017.

The Chalet is a unique accommodation in New Zealand, it’s the highest ‘luxury’ stay in the country. Purpose built to allow those with either limited time or ability to experience the wild and remote New Zealand alps.

A short scenic flight from Wanaka the Chalet has spectacular views across they valley to Mt Aspiring, the highest peak outside Mt Cook National Park. Affectionately known as the Matterhorn of the South it’s the icon of the National Park and the lower Southern Alps.

Visitors can access the Chalet for a day trip with heli-hiking or lunch or take the full indulgence overnight experience with mountain guide, chef/host, après, gourmet dinner and breakfast.

On a perfect day there’s the option to add a scenic flight with a glacier landing, a tour around Mt Aspiring or a trip over the alps to Milford Sound.

 Want to be good to your partner – put it on your bucket list!



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Get your “Glacier fix” from Wanaka

Monday, February 27th, 2017

helicopter glacier landing scenic flight mt aspiring national park

Summer Glacier Landing in IMV – 24th February, 2017

Getting up close and personal with a glacier is on the hit list for most visitors to New Zealand and the secret’s out this is an excellent option from Lake Wanaka – with literally 100s of glaciers on it’s doorstep!

We have joined forces with Eco Wanaka to offer the ultimate personalised Glacier experience – double dipping onto the Isobel and under the Rob Roy.

This new combo provides the perfect day out – you will be picked up from your accommodation and head out along the scenic drive to the Matukituki Valley to meet your helicopter. Taking off and rising high above the Harris Mountains for a Glacier Landing on the Isobel Glacier on the border of Mt Aspiring National Park.

The Isobel sits at 7,000ft and provides spectacular 360degree views of the Southern Alps and Mt Aspiring (Tititea) the ‘glistening peak’ and pinnacle of the National Park.

After a fitting photo stop your pilot will fly you down to Raspberry Flat to meet your Eco Wanaka nature guide.

You can then enjoy one of the top ten day walks in the country to the “Rob Roy Glacier”.

This beautiful meandering path follows alongside the boulder infused Rob Roy Stream up through natural beech forest. Climbing gently the path breaks into a valley clearing at the base of the Rob Roy Glacier. Clients are treated to a first hand view of the glistening blue ice formations. Keas often join the party for lunch in this spectacular location.

The ultimate glacier rated day out for those looking for a bespoke experience on the doorstep of Mt Aspiring National Park.

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Skilled pilots and kitted out helicopters make great fire-fighters

Friday, January 20th, 2017

Firefighting longline lifting job

Photo: @live24 New Zealand

We had the first major call-out of the summer recently to go and help fight a large scrub fire above Lake Wakatipu near Queenstown. We joined seven other helicopters and about 50 ground crew to fight the 150 hectare fire, which was apparently started by a camp fire.

For us the specialised monsoon buckets generally spend more time in the hangar than in the air – a good thing really – but when the call comes in to use one it’s all hands on deck to get them out the door ASAP.

Long-line jobs are a favourite among pilots, there’s a different skill set involved with maneuvering gear rather than guests!

Our pilots are lucky to have a variety of jobs here. Whilst they all enjoy taking visiting tourist on scenic flights and showing off the Lake Wanaka region there’s an increased level of anticipation when the scenery changes and the flying intensity increases.  It’s often a case of paper-scissors-rock for those jobs!

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Celebrating “International Mountain Day”

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Mt Aspiring National Park

Mt Aspiring

We’d like to raise our hands today and acknowledged International Mountain Day (11th December, 2016).

Globally the purpose of this day is to raise awareness about Sustainable Mountain Development and although this year’s official theme is “Mountain cultures: celebrating diversity and strengthening identity” we can each choose to celebrate this day with our own appropriate theme.

We will take a moment to stand in respect of our rugged and beautiful New Zealand mountains. Because we are a young country our mountains are still growing. They continue to rise above us, standing tall providing us with unique, diverse, interesting and challenging experiences. From the extreme weather that they help to generate to the intricate valleys and assorted mini ecosystems they harbor; they command a constant source of both respect and delight for visitors from all walks of life.

Whether you visit them on a scenic flight with a landing on an ancient glacier or do the hard yards, donning a backpack and crampons and sweating your way to the top there is no-doubt something truly awe inspiring about being in the presence of a mountain.

So today, we celebrate the fact that our backyard backs onto the Southern Alps… and that Mt Aspiring stands tall behind us providing a glimpse of the majestic nature of our mountains.

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