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Best Milford Sound and/or glacier flightseeing tours?

Wilmington, Delaware
Level Contributor
18 posts
24 reviews
45 helpful votes
Best Milford Sound and/or glacier flightseeing tours?

We’ll be in Queenstown for 3 nights in mid-May. Flying in from Rotorua and driving to Mount Cook National park on the way out (booked at hermitage). While we’re in Queenstown, we’d like to see Milford Sound, wineries, and hopefully a glacier (a lot to pack into two days, but perhaps wineries on the drive out?). We’re a couple in our late 30s.

I think a flight seeing tour or two would be our most time efficient options. Any recommendations for specific tour operators? Budget is flexible, maybe $5k USD/day?

Is any particular hotel or location more efficient for what we’d like to do? We can stay downtown if that would cut our travel time, though I’d have a slight preference for being out of a city. Was considering Rees. Thank you!

9 replies to this topic
California
Destination Expert
for New Zealand
Level Contributor
18,750 posts
71 reviews
33 helpful votes
1. Re: Best Milford Sound and/or glacier flightseeing tours?

Book a helitour of glaciers when at Mt Cook. From Queenstown, most of the glaciers are too far. I presume your flight out is from Christchurch? You didn't clarify that portion.

Christchurch, New...
Destination Expert
for Christchurch, South Island, Akaroa
Level Contributor
51,391 posts
577 reviews
231 helpful votes
2. Re: Best Milford Sound and/or glacier flightseeing tours?

I agree, the glacier flight is best taken at Aoraki Mt Cook. You can do a Grand Traverse of the 3 major glaciers or a glacier hike on the Tasman Glacier ...

With the day trip to Milford Sound, the drive in is considered to be a major part of the scenic beauty, so the ideal tour is coach to Milford Sound; cruise; then fly back to QTN.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji, New Zealand, Tasmania
Level Contributor
28,103 posts
440 reviews
245 helpful votes
3. Re: Best Milford Sound and/or glacier flightseeing tours?

Are you able to provide your itinerary so we maybe able to fine tune it for you.

I would in May do a coach/Cruise /Fly option from Queenstown and also do a scenic tour with a glacier landing from Mt Cook.

I would book the glacier flight now for early morning on the second day you are in Mt Cook just in case they get cancelled so they can reschedule for you.

Wilmington, Delaware
Level Contributor
18 posts
24 reviews
45 helpful votes
4. Re: Best Milford Sound and/or glacier flightseeing tours?

Thank you! We plan to spend 3 nights in Queenstown, 2 nights in Mt Cook at the Hermitage, 1 night in Christchurch before flying back to east coast USA.

The prior week we’ll be on the North Island; we’ll fly from Rotorua to QT. Our South Island itinerary is a bit crunched but we wanted to cover as much ground as possible in case we don’t ever make it back to NZ.

Wilmington, Delaware
Level Contributor
18 posts
24 reviews
45 helpful votes
5. Re: Best Milford Sound and/or glacier flightseeing tours?

This is great feedback thank you. We’ll be sure to do coach/cruise/flight.

California
Destination Expert
for New Zealand
Level Contributor
18,750 posts
71 reviews
33 helpful votes
6. Re: Best Milford Sound and/or glacier flightseeing tours?

You can fly nonstop from Rotorua to Christchurch. Flying Rotorua to Queenstown will be a connection. If your flight out requires you to connect in Auckland, you might be better off reversing your South Island plans.

jjo
Chicago
Level Contributor
541 posts
299 reviews
165 helpful votes
7. Re: Best Milford Sound and/or glacier flightseeing tours?

We stayed at the Rees and enjoyed it. Great view. They have an hourly free shuttle to downtown. You do have to tell the front desk in advance. It leaves the Rees every hour and returns at a quarter past every hour.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
Level Contributor
24,593 posts
745 reviews
511 helpful votes
8. Re: Best Milford Sound and/or glacier flightseeing tours?

my recommendation is to coach, cruise, fly to milford sound from queenstown - imo the drive in is the highlight.nz has almost 3000 glaciers, with nearly all of these in the south island. So seeing a glacier isnt hard.

based on your itinerary i would recommend earnslaw burn from glenorchy or a flight from mt cook over tasman glacier with a landing on the snow, above the glacier.

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
Level Contributor
24,593 posts
745 reviews
511 helpful votes
9. Re: Best Milford Sound and/or glacier flightseeing tours?

im also in te anau at present and heading to milford sound area today. weather also plays a major part in nz. at present flights arent operating at milford sound due to the atmospheric rain affecting the whole of nz. even many air new zealand doemstic flights were cancelled yesterday.

so plan for the best options, but also be aware that plan b is sometimes needed in nz

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