This helicopter excursion from The Lodge at Tikana is an experience of a lifetime. Fiordland is part of Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, a status granted by UNESCO in recognition of it being a natural site of world significance.
Airborne at Tikana, our journey begins over the Southland Plains and some of New Zealand's richest and most fertile farm land. We then enter the majestic and breathtaking World Heritage Fiordland National Park - a wilderness of spectacular ever-changing scenery, you will see bush covered mountain slopes, amazing alpine lakes, waterfalls, hanging valleys and rugged mountaintops.
Our first landing is made at Mt Pender near the head of Dusky Sound. Here you experience a surreal moment in your life: breathe the freshness of brisk mountain air, sit on a rock surrounded by a myriad of alpine plants, delicate yet precise in form, all embedded in a spongy mass, absorb the vista down the Sound to the sea, the grandeur, the solitude, the silence. When you get your breath back enjoy an alpine picnic.
The magic appeal of Fiordland is enhanced by local knowledge of your experienced pilot: www.southernlakeshelicopters.co.nz.
Airborne, we fly over three more fiords before descending down Crooked Arm of Doubtful Sound where you may be lucky enough to spot some dolphins! From the lush richness of the bush at sea level we digress into a canyon to the hidden valley of Campbell's Kingdom. This is straight out of Jurassic Park complete with lake and waterfall appearing from nowhere. We ascend up to the Main Divide of the Southern Alps where we climb to a mountain cirque and land beside an alpine lake at Mt Kidd. The lake is often frozen over during the winter and spring months and its as if some giant had lashed the surrounding rocks with white paint – but no these streaks are white quartz from larva, testament to the volcanic origin of the rock. This landing point at around 3000ft offers a grandiose view over mountain peaks for as far as the eye can see, but close at hand, watch out for New Zealand’s iconic alpine parrot – the Kea – cheeky but charming.
Departing from Mt Kidd we travel via Lake Manapouri, arguably New Zealand’s most beautiful lake, and onto panoramic views over the Te Anau Basin. The return flight from Fiordland takes you north of the Takitimu Mountain Range, past the White Hill wind farm with its “larger than life” wind vanes before landing back at the Lodge at Tikana. Relax with a pre-dinner drink and reflect – you will need to pinch yourself in wonderment of the experience.