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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 over the two longest glaciers in New Zealand, the Tasman and the Murchison, as well as the Fox, and Franz Josef glaciers. You'll pass high-country sheep farms and see Aoraki/Mt. Cook and the rain forests on the west side of the Main Divide. There are helicopter charter options, too. 253 Tekapo-Twizel Rd., Tekapo, 7999. 03/680–6880. www.airsafaris.co.nz. Flights NZ$340 per person; helicopter from $149 per person.
Helicopter Line. The Helicopter Line runs 20-minute and 45-minute flights from Glentanner Park, 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 Park, State Hwy. 80, Mount Cook, 7946. 03/435–1801 or 0800/650–651. www.helicopter.co.nz. From NZ$230 per person.
Mount Cook Ski Planes. Choose between a ski plane or helicopter; it's the way to go for a birds-eye view of the stunning Mt. Cook. Flightseeing options include a 25-minute flight to the bottom of the Tasman Glacier or a 40-minute flight with a glacier landing. State Highway 80, Mount Cook, 7999. 03/430–8034 or 0800/800–702. www.mtcookskiplanes.com. From NZ$245 per person.
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