Scenic Flights South Island
Approximately 60% of the South Island of New Zealand is covered in mountains and by far the highest, longest and most glaciated range is is the Southern Alps. These alps were created some 15 million years ago when the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates collided and they stretch nearly 500km. However the tectonic plates motion is mostly strike slip which is a side to side movement with the Australian plate moving north-eastward and the Pacific plate moving south.
The average slip rates in the faults central region is about 38mm a year which is very quick by global standards. New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook, rises from the Southern Alps to 3,724m (12,318ft). This is 30m shorter than 1991 as an avalanche of 10 million cubic meters of snow and rock came down. Initially this avalanche only shaved 10m off of the height but due to erosion this height was revised in 2014 to its current 3,724m. Aoraki was the traditional Maori name given to Mt Cook and is the name of a person in the traditions of the Ngai Tahu iwi. The English name was given to the mountain in 1851 by Captain John Lort Stokes to honor Captain James Cook who was the first European to discover New Zealand in 1770. The average rainfall in the surrounding area is 5-10m per annum, particularly higher in the west,which leads to a temperate rainforest in the coastal lowlands. Predominant winds are from the west which create orographic precipitation. As warm moist air travels up the western side of the ranges it cools creating clouds and substantial variation in rainfall.
This coastal moisture also contributes to a reliable source of snowfall in the mountains during the winter months to keep the glaciers flowing. The vegetation in the valleys to the east are less lush than on the western slopes of the Southern Alps. Towards the east the forest would normally grow to about 1,300m but due to the lack of soil and amount of rock falls and scree created from the effects of glaciation this forest is prevented. Snow tussock and other alpine plants are more common.
This could be used for the pages that advertise anything for Mt Cook again repeated on the pages after the flight info with a heading. A scenic flight is definitely one of the best ways to view this dramatic and beautiful South Island scenery. Choose from our options below