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Air Safaris

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
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About Air Safaris
This premier Aoraki / Mount Cook flightseeing experience, 'The Grand Traverse' encompasses two World Heritage National Parks in a tour of 200kms amongst New Zealand's highest mountains and largest glaciers. From the golden tussock lands, turquoise glacier lakes and huge glacial valleys of the Mackenzie Basin around Aoraki Mt Cook, Mt Tasman and the Tasman Glacier to the coastal plains of Westland and the dramatic icefalls of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. Every passenger has a window seat and all aircraft have wings-above to ensure optimum viewing below. Pilots provide a full and informative commentary with multi language commentary brochures supplied. We also offer exciting helicopter flights from Tekapo with alpine landing and an incredible Combo Flightseeing Experience featuring the MacKenzie Explorer heli-flight plus Grand Traverse fixed wing. The best of both worlds!
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Marg F wrote a review Apr 2021
Nelson, New Zealand17 contributions
+1
A lovely fine day in the Mackenzie Basin proved to be excellent for taking the Grand Traverse flight with Air Safaris of Tekapo. What a fantastic trip! Justin the pilot provided a running commentary as we flew. With such a small plane we all had window seats which allowed unimpeded views for us and our cameras. The landscape was marvellous, braided rivers, glaciers, snow capped mountains, glacial lakes. It was all there for us to see. We would recommend anybody to take the opportunity if the weather was suitable. Flying around Aoraki/Mt Cook was just awesome. We even got to see down on the Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers on the West Coast. Definitely well worth the expense. Thank you Justin and Ben at Air Safaris. The best thing we have done in a long time.
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Date of experience: March 2021
1 Helpful vote
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Response from Air Safaris S, Marketing Specialist at Air Safaris
Responded 1 week ago
Thank you so much for your review. The iconic Grand Traverse scenic flight provides the opportunity to view all different views and diverse landscape. We are really glad that you enjoyed your flight with us.
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Shaun wrote a review Apr 2021
Auckland, New Zealand7 contributions
This was my first flight since COVID and wow what a great way to get back in the air. I did the grand traverse and was awestruck by the raw beauty of the landscape. I arrived very early for my flight and Justin suggested I might want to take my paddle board down to Lake Tekapo for another adventure, which I did. Thank you Justin for a great flight and a great local tip.
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Date of experience: March 2021
1 Helpful vote
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Response from Air Safaris S, Marketing Specialist at Air Safaris
Responded 1 week ago
Thank you Shaun for your review. It was our pleasure to be able to show you our beautiful backyard. We are glad that you enjoyed your time during your stay in Lake Tekapo. There are a lot of things to do in this area and we simply welcome everyone who appreciates what we have here :)
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Tigerman777 wrote a review Feb 2021
911 contributions1330 helpful votes
First of all, I think it is worthy of mentioning I feel very privileged to have taken flights through the Swiss, Italian and French Alps, the Andes mountains, the Alaskan mountain range(Taku Glacier area) and the MIGHTY Himalayas, of which all are incredible! But I think this flight was by far the BEST!!!!! You ask why? I would feel privileged to explain. First of all, when I arrived at the office of Air Safaris in the town/village of Lake Tekapo after walking a bit from the bus drop off point, I was welcomed very warmly by the owner (I think). He was very kind and approachable. He allowed me to store my luggage in a room during my time with them, which was greatly appreciated. Due to the threat of cloudy weather coming in earlier than we wanted, the decision was made to leave earlier than my scheduled flight, which was great. After being driven to the small airport by the pilot/owner, I met the copilot and a lady behind the desk, both of which were super nice. We had some very fun banter between the four of us.😂 Really easygoing people. After the safety briefing, we were up in the air, which had some turbulence, but not bad. There were a couple people on the plane that were white knuckled/quite scared on the ascent, but let me assure you turbulence is very normal when around mountains. Frankly, Air Safaris would never be willing to jeopardize the safety of anyone involved, staff or clients. So again, there’s no need to worry. Once we got to higher altitude, the views were ASTOUNDING!!! It really caught me by surprise the variety of scenery in the area. You have beautiful hills in the lower lying areas and the lakes throughout the flights have three or four different colors from dark blue to very light green due to rock flower/glacial silt variations. Really good stuff!!! Once you ascend to higher elevation to see the highlights, you’ll be mesmerized by the AMAZING views of the mountains: Mount Cook, Mt Tasman, the Fox glacier, the Franz Josef Glacier, the Murchison Glacier, the Tasman Glacier and a host of other highlights to fill your senses. It really is phenomenal scenery EVERYWHERE you look!!! The views when flying in from Auckland to Christchurch are beautiful when in a window seat on the right side of the plane, especially when you use a telephoto lens on your camera, but the views from up close are simply AWESOME!!! On the Air Safaris flight I interchanged between a 17-50mm general purpose lens and a 70-200 medium telephoto lens on my DSLR, which worked well. I didn’t need to use the medium lens on the photos of the big boys for the most part when up close though, except for views of a few crevasses and longer range views of the mountains. You are encouraged to not touch the windows with your camera lenses or cell phones, as they cause scratches. It’s really hard to avoid doing so though because the scenery is so breathtaking you forget. When back on the ground, I was driven back to the Air Safaris office and picked up my luggage. I was surprised to find out the driver was willing to drop me off at the place I was staying at nearby, which was VERY unexpected!!! Please do NOT expect that, I’m only relaying my experience. I guess there are times that traveling solo has its advantages. In conclusion, eventhough the mountains in the Southern Alps of New Zealand are not the biggest I’ve ever been privileged to see, they are the best!!! Why? Largely because of choosing to use Air Safaris for my flight. They are a smaller, very professional business I want to support. They are very very kind, helpful and generous people you want to be around. They have your safety in mind and want you to have the BEST experience ever!!! And you know what? You will, just like I did if you take any of their flight options. No, they may not be the cheapest scenic flight you’ll ever take, but they’re the BEST!!! Hands down!!! Thanks for reading. If you feel this review has been helpful, it would be appreciated if you would tap the 👍 button below. Thank you.
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Date of experience: December 2020
2 Helpful votes
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Response from Air Safaris S, Marketing Specialist at Air Safaris
Responded 1 week ago
Thank you so much for your time sharing your experience with us and your kind words. We really appreciate that you saw what we do for our customers. This is very touching and this is also exactly what keeps us going. Thank you again and we will try our best to do better :)
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Aidanb wrote a review Jan 2021
3 contributions
Team were helpful and flexible to enable us to get airborne. They appeared a professional operation and everything went smoothly. The flight is of course excellent, I’ll never get that close to the summit of Mt Cook any other way.
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Date of experience: January 2021
1 Helpful vote
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Response from Air Safaris S, Marketing Specialist at Air Safaris
Responded 1 week ago
Thank you for flying with us. Our Grand Traverse flight is the closest you can get to Aoraki Mt Cook without climbing it! We are glad that you enjoyed your flight :)
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Dion and Colette wrote a review Dec 2020
Pokeno, New Zealand14 contributions2 helpful votes
Thanks so much to the team at Air Safaris. We did the Grand Traverse experience and were in awe of the spectacular scenary during this flight. This is a must do trip if you want a special life long memory. Well done Air Safaris!!
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Date of experience: December 2020
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Response from Air Safaris S, Marketing Specialist at Air Safaris
Responded 1 week ago
Thank you Dion and Colette for recommending our Grand Traverse flight! We have been operating this flight since 1970s and still love the astounding views everytime when we are up in the air. Thank you for supporting us :)
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