Otahuna Lodge has developed the following exclusive helicopter itineraries for guests.
A scenic flight by helicopter is the ultimate way to see the natural beauty of New Zealand. The convenience of these tours is unsurpassed as helicopters depart and land directly from the Lodge’s Great Lawn.
Banks Peninsula Experience
This itinerary departs from Otahuna Lodge and soars over the Banks Peninsula, named for Joseph Banks the naturalist who first caught sight of the area in 1779 while voyaging with Captain Cook on the Endeavour. Guests enjoy views of rugged cliffs and volcanic formations before landing on an isolated beach. The flight then tracks over the historic French community of Akaroa with its beautiful harbour residents, the Hector's Dolphins.
High Country Narnia Adventure
The helicopter takes off to the west over the Canterbury Plains and toward the remote Southern Alps. The flight continues through the spectacular Waimakariri Gorge, a river canyon and gateway to the South Island’s Main Divide. The helicopter then lands at Flock Hill Station, one of the major filming locations for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe before returning to Otahuna Lodge via the Ashley River and Lee’s Valley.
Kaikoura Whale Watch
Departing Otahuna, the helicopter tracks directly over Christchurch and up the coast of the South Island to the seaside town of Kaikoura. Transfer is then offered to the Kaikoura Whale Watch helicopter for a 40-minute extended whale watch. Guests will enjoy an unsurpassed opportunity to view mighty sperm whales, Dusky dolphins and New Zealand fur seals from the air. The return flight takes in Lyttelton Harbour, an extinct volcanic crater, with views over the larger Banks Peninsula.
Garden of Eden Ice Plateau
Taking off from the Great Lawn, guests fly across the checkerboard Canterbury Plains towards the Rakaia River. At the very source of this river lies the Main Divide, the geographical backbone of the South Island. Huge annual snowfalls have continued to sustain the glaciers which make the Garden of Eden Ice Plateau. Scenic highlights include dramatic transverse crevasses with steel-blue crystals of glacial ice. Depending on season, it is possible to enjoy a picnic beside an alpine lake or to extend this trip to visit the celebrated Pegasus Bay Winery and Restaurant for lunch in the Waipara wine region.
World in a Day
New Zealand is often described as "The World in Miniature" and this itinerary exhibits the rich diversity of its many landscapes. From Otahuna, guests fly across the Canterbury Plains and into the Southern Alps via the Waimakariri River Gorge. Continuing west to the Tasman Sea, the steep mountains of the Main Divide give way to temperate rainforests, bisected by the Fox & Franz Josef glaciers. Landings on mountaintops and at remote West Coast beaches afford excellent photographic opportunities, as does the flight past the highest mountain in Australasia - Aoraki / Mt Cook.