Fiordland Explorer Tour

8 Days, 12 hours flying included.

Steeped in variety, this tour encompasses the southern spirit of New Zealand. From the moment we meet in Queenstown, your days will be filled with stunning scenery, clear airways and fantastic flying.

For this tour you will be based at Wanaka, a scenic town nestled at the foot of New Zealand's fourth largest lake. With easy access to the Airfield plus a great variety of walks, vineyards, shops and restaurants, this location offers something for everyone.

From here you will take day trips. There is one night away in the coastal city of Dunedin. This means you unpack once, and each day take only what you need. It also allows tremendous flexibility for weather within the itinerary.

Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight

Day One

You will be met by your personal host and instructor at Queenstown Airport.  After your briefing, fly to Geordie Hill Station near Wanaka, where you will be welcomed by Jo & Matt McCaughan, founders of Flyinn.  Here you’ll enjoy great morning coffee and hot scones to welcome you to the Flyinn experience.

Today is your introduction to mountain flying, plus familiarization to the Wanaka Airport and region.  If weather permits we shall also explore further afield to one of the destinations of your itinerary.  

Toward the end of the day transfer to Wanaka, where you can enjoy a tour of the town, before being shown to your apartment.  This is where you will be based for this itinerary.  

Evening:  Settle into your surroundings, before enjoying the short scenic walk into town for your choice of dining.  Stroll home for a good night’s rest in readiness for the wonderful flying and scenic adventures of the coming week.



Day Two

Fly to world famous Milford Sound via Te Anau, the Wilmott Pass and the Milford Track. Spectacular deep fiords and rainforest running up onto weathered peaks abound. Many high mountain tarns and lakes feed waterfalls, which fall vertically hundreds of feet into the fiords below.

Land at Milford Sound. Take a walk and view the Bowen falls, and absorb the magnificent atmosphere. Fly to Big Bay, and land on the vast beach (depends on tide). Lunch at Milford or enjoy Elsie’s famous-at-Flyinn date loaf at Big Bay.

Back to Wanaka via Aspiring National Park and view the expanse of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea in the late afternoon light.  (Mt Aspiring is known as the ‘Matterhorn’ of the South, and is flanked by pristine glaciers).

Evening:  Enjoy your choice of restaurant dining in Wanaka.

Day Three

Night away in Dunedin. Begin today navigating a southern route via the Nevis or Kawarau river valleys where Central Otago high country descends to lower and more fertile rolling hills and more intense farming systems.

Land at the immaculately kept Mandeville Airfield and visit Croydon Aircraft Company. Here vintage aircraft are restored, and there is a hanger where a rare collection is kept. Enjoy morning coffee, or light lunch at ‘The Moth’ café. There is the option to fly a Tiger Moth here.

Fly further south over green Southland countryside and its more rugged hinterland, the Catlins. Intersect the untamed Catlins Coastline, where a nor-east heading will track past cliffs and rocky outcrops, beaches and river mouths, all the way to your destination – Taieri Airfield and Dunedin City.

Known as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’ Dunedin was built around a natural harbour on the back of a gold-rush. It was one of the first cities in NZ, and as such offers period architecture, an excellent local-history museum, a surprising abundance of marine life, plus botanic gardens and local shops for a little more indulgence.

Once settled in your accommodation, enjoy your choice of city life.

Evening:   Join your hosts to dine at one of Dunedin’s excellent restaurants. (Dinner and drinks incl.)


Day Four

Harbour Cruise: join Rebecca for a tour of Dunedin’s harbour and beyond. Learn about the local marine and bird-life including penguins and an established Albatross Colony. There is a delightful variety of wildlife living right on the parameters of this busy port city.

Back on land, explore more of the city before driving over the surrounding hills to reconnect with your aircraft. Fly westward, over an increasing arid landscape to sunny central Otago, and your home in Wanaka.

Evening:  Take the popular walk up Mount Iron on the outskirts of town, to view 180’ evening light on the mountains.  Try a new restaurant, or order take-out food to enjoy from the small wharf on the waterfront with a chilled local beer.  Options are endless.

Day Five

Explore local Central Otago: Land on some farm airstrips as you make your way around this prosperous region where farmers raise merino sheep, winegrowers are renowned for their Pinot Noir, and fruit growers for stone fruit.

Tucked away in an unsuspecting corner is a fabulously preserved slice of history - Hayes Engineering. Here one family lived, invented, and developed practical and leading technology of the day. Take a walk back through time, and learn of this families’ entrepreneurial contribution, some of which is still used on farm today.

Make your way around the region to land back where you first began, at Geordie Hill Station. Join the farm program on the day. Learn first-hand about our farming systems and infrastructure.  Watch how shepherds shift stock with their dogs. See if you can make a Shepherd’s whistle work.

Evening in Wanaka:  Free to wander and enjoy the mountainous vista before choosing your favourite restaurant.  Perhaps tonight’s cuisine and glass of local pinot noir, will be enhanced by memories of your day.




Day Six

Dramatic Glenorchy region and the Dart River Jet Boat excursion. This day can begin by flying to an interesting local airstrip or two. 

At Glenorchy there is time for a brief lunch before joining the Dart River Jet experience. This is a mighty river and mountain experience. The jetboat is a NZ invention and a must-do when visiting New Zealand.  The spectacular scenery in this region is popular the film industry. Returning to Wanaka, you will now recognise the surrounding countryside, and feel like you are on your way home.

Evening: Catch up on your photos and share a few with friends, as you relax with a chilled wine and reflect on all you have done so far.   You’re familiar with the stroll into town and know your favourite restaurant which can make tonight’s decision easy.  Enjoy another delicious dinner before getting an early night.  Your week has been active, and it’s not over yet!


Day Seven

Mt Cook Region and Glaciers: Explore this most dramatic area with its razor sharp ridges and steep sides valleys, carved from years of glacial activity. View the icefields that supply cascading glaciers, which in turn feed a variety of lakes and river systems.

At over 12,000’ Mt Cook and surrounds are made all the more spectacular because only 20 nm to the West is the shoreline of the Tasman Sea.

Fly back via the long and winding Landsborough River valley. Visit Haast or Makarora village for a break. Land on some interesting backcountry strips: Minaret or the Dingleburn airstrips- both remote high country properties. And closer to home land on some local Tarras strips. Today is full of a wonderful variety of scenery.

Alternate is to visit local attractions.  These include boutique shops at Tarras. Excellent vineyard cellar doors of Tarras, Cromwell or Bannockburn.  Or simply enjoy more of Wanaka’s shops or outdoors.

Evening:  Dine out with your hosts Matt and Jo McCaughan, and share stories of your week.  Evening meal included.

Day Eight

The last day of your tour can also be full of surprises... so if possible please keep this day free!

If during the week, weather has caused a postponement to any destination, today is our chance to go there. It’s also a chance to do some extra strip flying and test your skills on one or two more challenging local strips.  Sometimes, this is your day to visit Geordie Hill Station to watch sheep dogs working, and to enjoy hearing first- hand about the high-country farming industry of New Zealand.

 If there’s time, use the morning to take a walk around picturesque Wanaka, ending up at your favourite coffee spot.  (Kiwi’s love a great coffee!)

 Today we provide you with a detailed flight log and invoice.

 Once all plans have been accomplished, we say farewell and fly to Queenstown

 You will have the most flexibility with this day if you are able to stay the night in Queenstown. The next best option is to book your flight or onward travel from Queenstown, as late in the day as possible please.  Thanks.


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