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Flightseeing gives you an unparalleled view of the mountains, with the added thrill of landing on a glacier for a short walk. The light can be intensely bright in such dazzlingly white surroundings, so be sure to bring sunglasses. Generally, the best time for flights is early morning.
Air Safaris. Take a breathtaking 50-minute scenic flight to see Aoraki, the Tasman, Murchison, Fox, and Franz Josef glaciers, and the rain forests on the west side of the Main Divide with Air Safaris. Flights start at NZ$295 per adult. 03/680-6880. www.airsafaris.co.nz.
Helicopter Line. The Helicopter Line runs 20-minute and 45-minute flights from Glentanner Station, about 20 km (12 mi) toward Pukaki from the Hermitage. You can land on the glaciers or high ski slopes, depending on the weather. Glentanner Station, State Hwy. 80, Mount Cook, 7946. 03/435-1801 or 0800/650-651. www.helicopter.co.nz.
Mount Cook Ski Planes. Mount Cook Ski Planes has four flightseeing options, including a 25-minute flight over two glaciers (NZ$255) or a 55-minute flight with a glacier landing (NZ$495). State Highway 80, Mount Cook. 03/430-8034 or 0800/800-702. www.mtcookskiplanes.com.
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