News and Updates


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The incredible Milford Sound is more than just a picture-perfect place to visit. It is geographically unique, historically significant and incredibly important to surrounding wildlife and communities. Read on to learn some amazing facts that will make your Milford Sound scenic flight all the more fascinating.

Milford Sound is not actually a sound

You might’ve heard this one before, but Milford Sound is not actually a sound—it is a fiord. What’s the difference? Well, a sound is formed when a river valley is flooded by the sea, whereas a fiord (or fjord) is typically created when a glacier carves a valley which is then filled by the sea.

Milford Sound is deep!

You couldn’t tell from a scenic flight over Milford Sound, but some parts of the fiord are an astonishing 400m deep. This means that you could take Auckland’s Sky tower and put at the bottom of the fiord, and you’d still have over 70m—the width of a rugby field—between the tower’s tip and the surface of the water.

Pounamu can be found near Milford Sound

Precious Pounamu or greenstone can be found near Milford Sound. Also known as jade or nephrite, Pounamu was formed hundreds of millions of years ago by the recrystallisation of minerals within rocks deep under the earth’s surface. You can actually see where the Pounamu can be found on your Milford Sound scenic flight—just ask our pilot to point it out!


The highest waterfall provides power and water

The Lady Bowen Falls is Milford Sound’s tallest waterfall, standing at 161m high. Through a small hydroelectric scheme, the falls provide electricity for the Milford Sound village which is home to around 120 residents. But that’s not all—the impressive Lady Bowen Falls is also the main water source for the local community.

Dolphins can be seen in Milford Sound

There are thought to be over 60 Bottlenose dolphins living in the area, and occasionally visits are made by the dusky dolphin—the Bottlenose’s slightly smaller friend—and the rare southern right whale. You may spot some of these beautiful mammals from the window of your scenic flight, so keep a close eye out for any action!

It rains there for half the year

On average, rain falls in Milford Sound on 182 days of the year. The mean annual rainfall in Milford Sound is 6,813mm, so with most areas of New Zealand experiencing between 600mm and 1600mm of rainfall, it is definitely one of the rainiest parts of the country. This won’t make a different to your scenic flight experience though—the waterfalls look even more spectacular with a good bout of rain!


The Worlds Best Scenic Flights

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A scenic flight is often the icing on the cake to any holiday, adding excitement, adventure and the gift of perspective. With so many beautiful sights to experience in the world, we’ve lined up the best ones to see from above.

The Grand Canyon, United States of America

The best way—some would say the ONLY way—to experience the Grand Canyon is through a scenic flight. At 446 kilometres long, 29 kilometres wide and 1,800 meters deep, its immense size is best appreciated from above. Grand Canyon scenic flights can take you over the Grand Canyon National Park, the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, the Grand Canyon West and the Colorado River, showcasing the fascinating, intricate and rocky landscape that is thought to be many millions of years old.

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Another of the world’s natural wonders that makes for an epic scenic flight is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Like the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef can be seen from space, but you don’t need to venture that far to get an incredible view. 360-degree views from your scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef will have you marvelling at stunning blue-green waters, vast stretches of coral, remote tropical islands and—if you’re lucky—glimpses of marine wildlife such as whales, sea turtles and dugongs.

Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe

The breathtaking Victoria Falls In Zimbabwe

The Victoria Falls is one of Southern Africa’s biggest tourist attractions. At 100 metres high, the waterfall isn’t the tallest, but what it lacks in height it makes up for in width. Measuring a whopping 1,708 metres wide, it is considered the world's largest waterfall.  One of the best parts about a scenic flight over the Victoria Falls is not just the impressive sight of the roaring Zambezi River spilling over the side of a cliff face, but the added bonus of spotting distinctive African wildlife in the savannah below. Lucky customers may see elephants, buffalo, giraffes, zebras, hippopotamuses and more. 

New York City, United States of America

Stunning New York City

It’s not just natural wonders that make for the best scenic flights, some cities are pretty special from above too! New York City is just one of these, with a scenic flight offering a relatively quick and unique way to check out all the major landmarks in the sprawling metropolis. A New York City tour by helicopter or seaplane will let you see the Hudson River, Central Park, the State of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden and more.

Milford Sound, New Zealand

Beautiful Milford Sound

We had to do it! We wouldn’t be true to ourselves or our readers if we didn’t feature our very own Milford Sound. A Milford Sound scenic flight takes the cake for its remarkable mix of scenery featuring magnificent mountains, gushing waterfalls, powdery snow, sparkling glaciers, abundant native bush and eerily calm bodies of water. Our amazing pilots fly low enough to offer close and unobstructed views of some of the best sights in New Zealand’s South Island—which we think are some of the best sights in the world.

Tips for nervous flyers

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We’ve been operating our South Island scenic flights and commercial transport since 2012 and over that time, we've come across hundreds of different people with varying degrees of anxiety when it comes to flying. For some, it’s a heights issue, and flying is nerve-wracking no matter what. Others suffer from claustrophobia and struggle with being in a confined place for a set amount of time. Occasionally, we have somebody who can sit on a major flight between cities without batting an eyelid—but has a specific fear of small planes. These fears and anxieties are not uncommon, so we’ve put together some tips to help you cope if you’re feeling a little nervous. We want you to enjoy yourself as much as possible! These tips are based on practical experience and what we’ve seen help over the years.

Stunning South Island

Practice deep breathing

Taking deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth has been proven to decrease stress, lower your heart rate and regulate your blood pressure by letting sufficient oxygen circulate around the body. Start this before you climb aboard and continue throughout take-off and before you know it, you’ll be so blown away by the incredible views from your Mount Cook or Milford Sound flight that you’ve forgotten all about the nerves!

The art of distraction

One of our top tips: bring a friend! The less you focus on your anxious feelings, the more comfortable you’ll be. Having a friend with you or being art of a group can ease the nerves by giving you a sense of familiarity and the simple yet effective distraction of easy conversation.

Heed our safety briefing

We take safety very seriously and give all passengers a full safety briefing before take-off. Listening to the briefing, asking questions and ensuring you have a good grasp on what actions to take in the extremely unlikely event of an emergency can relieve unease by giving a sense of confidence and preparedness.

Check out our experience

We’re lucky enough to have some of the best pilots around operating our scenic flights. Our Chief Pilot Peter Daniell has over 12 years of experience after taking his first solo flight at age 16, and our other pilots teeming with local knowledge and eager to share their love for this beautiful country.  Not only that, but they understand the unique and often-complex weather in the region like nobody else. If the weather is unsafe for flying, we won’t fly. You’re in good hands with True South and we can’t wait to welcome you on board!


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New Zealand’s South Island is home to some of the most incredible scenery in the world. It’s the special type of scenery that makes you gasp then sit in awestruck silence. As operators of scenic flights over Milford Sound and Mount Cook, we’re lucky enough to see these sights regularly and these priceless reactions time and time again. Our scenery never fails to disappoint—and no matter how many times you visit one of these locations, you always want to go back for another look. More than just a chance to impress your friends, relatives or Instagram followers with a photo that looks like it could adorn the front of a magazine, our Milford Sound and Mount Cook scenic flights offer a thrilling adventure with compelling commentary on the history and geography of the region, courtesy of your friendly pilot.

Milford Sound scenic flight

A scenic flight over Milford Sound is the perfect treat for yourself or a loved one, or an essential stop on your quest to see New Zealand’s ‘highlight reel’. Our one-hour scenic flight from Queenstown takes you over the Mount Aspiring National Park and into the Fiordland National Park to cruise above the picturesque Milford Sound, which is arguably even more stunning from above than it is at sea level.

Carved by glaciers millions of years ago, Milford Sound’s still and serene waters are encased by dramatic cliffs and lush rainforest. Our skilled pilots descend low enough to give you clear views of the iconic Mitre Peak, showing you exactly why it is one of New Zealand’s most photographed landmarks. You’ll also pass closely by the magnificent Stirling Falls, the largest of the two permanent waterfalls in Milford Sound, then head back to Queenstown via one of New Zealand’s tallest waterfalls—the Sutherland Falls.

Want more? You can choose to extend your flight over Mount Aspiring, the Snowball Glaciers and the Olivine Ice Plateau, or over Doubtful Sound for the ultimate Fiordland experience.

Photo by Anderson Aguirre on Unsplash​

Mount Cook scenic flight

Experience the sheer scale of New Zealand’s highest mountain by taking a scenic flight over Mount Cook. After departing from Queenstown, you’ll spend a generous two hours in the air, cruising across the Southern Alps along the main divide—which separates the East Coast from the West—and to the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.

 We’ll take you over some spectacular glaciers including New Zealand’s largest, the Tasman Glacier, which stretches for a whopping 27 kilometres before settling in a truly beautiful lake. You’ll fly over the famous snow fields [T1] that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors over our winter months, seeing them from a perspective like no other.

There is a lot to take in on this flight—make space on your memory cards and get ready because the photo opportunities are nonstop!

Photo by Trent Kuss on Unsplash

Book your South Island scenic flight now!

Does one of our South Island scenic flight options take your fancy? We take bookings on demand, with set departure times of 8.30am or 2.30pm for our Milford Sound scenic flight. To check our availability or book your epic adventure, get in touch with us now!


Things To Do in Queenstown in Winter

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Queenstown is the ultimate all-year destination and winter promises many incredible activities and attractions that the other seasons cannot offer. Visiting Queenstown in winter? Here are just a few things to do that might tempt you…

Queenstown Mall in Snow

Snow snow snow!

Of course, Queenstown is probably best known for skiing and snowboarding in winter. Snow bunnies from all over the globe come to explore the slopes at our local fields, in particular, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. The season normally runs from mid-June to early September. Busses up to the ski fields depart regularly from the town centre or you can drive yourself (just remember to take chains with you!).

Hot Pools

Queenstown is beautiful but it can get cold in winter - with temperatures often falling beneath freezing overnight. Some hotels and accommodation providers have their own spa pools, but we recommend warming up with a visit to the Onsen Hot Pools at Arthurs Point. With indoor and outdoor options, this is an excellent way to soothe your aching muscles after a day’s skiing or exploring!

Historic Boat Cruise

Did you know Lake Wakatipu is actually tidal? It is the third largest lake in New Zealand and its unusual “lightning bolt” shape causes the water to rise and fall every 25 minutes or so. Cruising across the lake is a year round activity and a great relaxed way to see the local surrounds. The TSS Earnslaw is a New Zealand icon – a vintage steamboat over 100 years old. Enjoy a 1.5 hour cruise or include a visit to Walter Peak Farm (BBQ lunch optional).

Queenstown Winter Festival

The 10 day festival runs every year in June and kicks off with an opening party with fireworks. The event includes an ice rink, parade, comedy gala, competitions, markets, and lots more – with something for all ages.

Get your heart pumping

Skydiving and bungy jumping are year round activities… Queenstown is the adrenalin capital of the world, after all. 

Scenic Flights

Well, we couldn’t write this article without including a scenic flight in Queenstown! This is a superb way to experience Queenstown’s alpine scenery and snow-covered mountains, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Milford Sound is by far the most popular destination – include a cruise across the world famous fiord for the full experience. Flights are weather dependent, so we recommend booking your flight for the first day you are in Queenstown in case you have to readjust to another time. 

Winter Special

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We've reduced the price on the Queenstown and Milford Sound Scenic Flight, down to $289 from $395 per person for the 9am departure (returning by 10:30am). Book now and make sure to mention 9AM289 in the 'additional requirements or message' field, or make an enquiry with 9AM289 in the 'message' field to take advantage of this offer!