Lord of the Wings: Crafting Your Perfect New Zealand Adventure
Lord of the Wings: Crafting Your Perfect New Zealand Adventure - Take Flight Over Fiordland
No adventure through New Zealand’s South Island is complete without an awe-inspiring flight over Fiordland. This remote, rugged landscape carved by ice age glaciers features majestic mountains, verdant rainforests, and deeply carved fjords that stretch towards the Tasman Sea. Taking to the skies provides a unique perspective over this pristine wilderness and gives travelers a true sense of its vast scale and beauty.
Seaplane tours depart regularly from Queenstown, Te Anau, and Milford Sound and provide an unforgettable Fiordland experience. As the float plane gently lifts off across Lake Te Anau, the pilot will provide informative commentary about the landscapes and wildlife below. Be sure to have cameras ready as you’ll soon be soaring over ancient beech forests, icy blue lakes, and cascading waterfalls. One of the highlights is Mitre Peak, an imposing mountain rising sharply from the waters of Milford Sound to a height of 5,560 feet. From up above, you’ll also spot fur seals sunning themselves on rocky shores and catch glimpses of rare Fiordland crested penguins nestled along the coastline.
Scenic fixed wing flights are another excellent option to survey Fiordland National Park in all its grandeur. These small aircrafts cruise comfortably at lower altitudes to maximize viewing opportunities of the region’s famous landmarks. Along with Mitre Peak and the fjords, you’ll get panoramic views over Lake Te Anau, get up close to the turbulent whitewaters of Sutherland Falls, and have a bird’s eye perspective of the Kepler and Routeburn Tracks, two of New Zealand’s most famous multi-day hikes. Nothing beats having an eagle eye vantage point over the entire southwest corner of New Zealand.
Helicopter tours also provide an unforgettable way to experience Fiordland. As the helicopter zips over deep gorges cloaked in mountain beech trees and hovers at the mouth of the fjords, you’ll truly appreciate the raw natural beauty and immense scale of this landscape. Most helicopter tours touch down for a landing that allows you to walk on pristine beaches alongside the towering cliffs of the fjords. The perfect photo opportunities these tours provide from mountain summits to hidden waterfalls make the splurge worthwhile.
What else is in this post?
- Lord of the Wings: Crafting Your Perfect New Zealand Adventure - Take Flight Over Fiordland
- Lord of the Wings: Crafting Your Perfect New Zealand Adventure - Traverse the Alpine Crossing's Dramatic Landscapes
- Lord of the Wings: Crafting Your Perfect New Zealand Adventure - Plunge into Queenstown's Adrenaline-Pumping Thrills
Lord of the Wings: Crafting Your Perfect New Zealand Adventure - Traverse the Alpine Crossing's Dramatic Landscapes
The Alpine Crossing in New Zealand's South Island offers one of the world's most dramatic and unforgettable day hikes. This challenging tramp takes intrepid adventurers through snow-capped peaks, emerald lakes, and staggering views only accessible on foot. Completing the entire 19.4 km journey with its steep climbs requires decent fitness and proper preparation. The rewards of this alpine adventure reveal the essence of New Zealand's raw natural beauty far from the tourist crowds.
The typical starting point for the Alpine Crossing is from the parking area at Mt. Cook Village. After signing the intentions book and packing plenty of water, sun protection and warm layers, the trail starts with a gentle ascent through alpine shrubs and herb fields. It soon reaches the first jaw-dropping lookout point across the Mueller Glacier's icy crevasses and seracs. The Glacier Explorers program offers guided walks onto this active glacier to admire its ever-changing features up close.
As the trail ascends higher, the stark landscape transforms into a moon-like environment with rugged ridges and loose scree slopes. Eventually reaching Mackenzie Pass, the panoramic views become increasingly breathtaking. Jagged peaks stretch in all directions and tiny turquoise lakes shimmer far below. Forging ahead, the path climbs steadily before reaching the highest point of the Alpine Crossing at 2,080 m. Stop here to soak in the panorama - from Aoraki/Mt. Cook to the Tasman Glacier - and fortify yourself for the knee-jarring descent ahead.
The downhill journey on the backside of the Southern Alps leads hikers into an entirely different world. After navigating through fields of moraine and tussock grasslands, the trail descends sharply into the valley. Lush beech forests soon envelop the path into mossy seclusion with only the sound of burbling creeks as company.
Emerging from the trees, a swing bridge over the Hooker River signals the final stretch ahead. The massive icebergs bobbing in Mueller Lake create a stunning foreground to Aoraki/Mt. Cook in the distance. One last climb leads to the culminating highlight - an astonishing vista over Lake Pukaki's unbelievably blue waters all the way to Mt. Tasman.
Lord of the Wings: Crafting Your Perfect New Zealand Adventure - Plunge into Queenstown's Adrenaline-Pumping Thrills
Nicknamed the "adventure capital of the world," Queenstown offers thrill-seekers endless opportunities to get their adrenaline pumping. This stunning alpine town surrounded by the Southern Alps serves up a menu packed with heart-pounding activities. Brave travelers can push their limits choosing from skydiving, canyon swinging, jetboating, bungy jumping, and more - Queenstown has it all.
Bungy jumping from AJ Hackett's famous Kawarau Bridge is a rite of passage for many visiting Queenstown. At 43 meters high, it's not for the faint of heart. But taking the plunge into the gorge with the icy river rushing below delivers an incredible rush. For high-flying thrills, tandem skydiving from up to 15,000 feet over Remarkables mountain range is sure to get the heart racing. After an exhilarating free fall, you'll float under the parachute admiring Lake Wakatipu and the patchwork farms of Gibbston Valley.
If screaming down a narrow mountain road in a high-powered race car sounds appealing, the Shotover Jet experience is ready to deliver. These powerful jetboats whip passengers through dangerous canyons at breakneck speeds, executing 360 degree spins guaranteed to churn stomachs. River rafting and kayaking allow a gentler exploration of the Shotover River, with some adrenaline-pumping rapids thrown in for good measure.
Zipping through dense mountain beech forests on ziplines or swinging like Tarzan on the Ledge Bungy and Swing promise loads of fun at heights up to 400 meters. Nevis Bungy is the biggest in Australasia, dropping brave souls 134 meters into a canyon for 8.5 seconds of free fall. Canyon swinging over the Shotover River gorge blends bungy thrills with the added excitement of multiple horizontal swings. For the ultimate nirvana, heli-biking combines all of Queenstown's best elements - scenic flights, high-altitude hiking, and an exhilarating downhill ride on two wheels.