Flying with

True South Flights

Deep in the heart of Canterbury sits Aoraki (Mount Cook), the crown jewel of the South Island. This extraordinary mountain is New Zealand’s tallest peak, towering over 3000 metres high. An adventure-lover’s dream, Aoraki is home to a wealth of outdoor activities, including popular hikes such as the Hooker Valley Track, ample ski slopes, and various mountaineering opportunities. For the bold at heart, scenic flights in Mt Cook are a unique way to experience the majestic beauty of our country’s biggest mountain – but before taking off, consider learning about the region’s rich culture. Read on for a brief history of this important landmark and the surrounding area. 

Māori Heritage

Mount Cook National Park is of great importance to the Māori people, with Ngāi Tahu legend revealing how Aoraki came to be. According to the story, Rakinui, the Sky Father, had four sons, one of whom was Aoraki. The brother’s canoe struck a reef during a sea voyage around the Earth Mother, Papatūānuku, leaving them stranded. Sitting atop their overturned canoe, the brothers were frozen by an icy southerly wind which turned them to stone. The canoe transformed into Te Waka o Aoraki (the South Island), and the brothers became the Southern Alps, with Aoraki turning into the tallest peak of all, Mount Cook. 

Ngāi Tahu people are descended from Aoraki, who is revered as a sacred ancestor still embodied in the mountain today. According to the Department of Conservation, the mountain holds Tōpuni status, which is a public symbol of Ngāi Tahu manawhenua and rangatiratanga. The area represents the iwi’s sense of identity, community, and purpose and should be treated with great respect by visitors. 

Unique Geography

Aoraki sits within the Southern Alps, the longest mountain range in New Zealand. Created more than 15 million years ago, when the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates merged, the Alps cover almost 500 kilometres of ground. Over the years, unique weather events have transformed the shape of the mountain, with a 1991 avalanche leading to a 10-metre reduction in its total height. Another 30 metres was lost due to twenty years of erosion of the newly exposed ice cap. 

Gorgeous Glaciers 

The Southern Alps are also home to over 3000 glaciers, including the popular Franz Josef and Tasman Glaciers. Travellers can experience these glaciers on foot or by scenic flight with the experts at True South Flights. 

European Influence

While Mount Cook is thought to have been sighted by Dutch explorer Abel Tasman as early as 1642, it was not given its English name until 1851, when Captain John Lort Stokes arrived aboard the ship HMS Acheron. Decades later, in 1894, mountaineers successfully completed the first ascent of the mountain. 

Aoraki gained international significance in 1952 when famed New Zealand explorer Sir Edmund Hillary became the first person in the world to reach the summit of Mount Everest in The Himalayas. Hillary had summited Mount Cook just four years earlier, and the attention he drew to the area led to the later creation of the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre in Mount Cook Village. Aoraki was officially recognised with its original name in 1998 after the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act was passed. 

Try Scenic Flights Mt Cook

Visitors looking to explore Mount Cook have a range of options, but the most exciting choice is a scenic flight. This unique mode of transport allows passengers to view Aoraki in close proximity and take in the surrounding countryside from a breathtaking bird’s-eye perspective while experiencing an adrenaline rush from the speed, sounds, and sensations only a scenic flight can offer. At True South Flights, our scenic flights Mt Cook-wide are sure to impress. 

Fly Mount Cook 

Take in Mount Cook’s unparalleled magnificence on our all-day scenic flight tour. Passengers will first soar past the remarkable Mount Cardona, the stunning lakeside village of Wanaka,  over some of the area’s glaciers and the iconic plains of Mackenzie Country before approaching Aoraki. Glacial lakes and valleys, vast snow fields and braided rivers are just some of the features you will see as you witness the immense scale of Mount Cook National Park. 

Mount Cook Heli-Ski 

If you are a heli-skier or heli-boarder looking to experience incredible runs in one of the most pristine locations in the world, look no further than our Heli-Ski day trip. Enjoy a comfortable ride in our modern aircraft from Queenstown to Glentanner Airport. Our heli partners, Alpine Guides, will provide a safety brief before you board their modern helicopter and fly to one of the highest chopper landings in the country. Enjoy five runs up to four kilometres before descending to Glentanner Airport and reconnecting with your True South Flights pilot. 

Ready to fly?

Give yourself the gift of adventure and book scenic flights in Mt Cook today. Enjoy the trip of a lifetime with an unparalleled experience that guarantees excitement and extraordinary views. Contact the knowledgeable Truth South Flights team to book your trip or learn more about our available services.