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“An unforgettable journey” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Southern Alps Air - Scenic Flights

Southern Alps Air - Scenic Flights
12 Lloyd Dunn Ave | Wanaka Airport SH6, Wanaka, New Zealand
+64 3-443 4385
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Ranked #9 of 65 Activities in Wanaka
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Owner description: Try the Milford Sound Glacier Flight & Cruise from Wanaka with Southern Alps Air. WHY? because of where Wanaka is located geographically in relation to Milford Sound you will FLY FURTHER - the circular flight path is 1hr 30mins. SEE MORE glaciers, waterfalls, the Olivine Ice Plateau & Mt Aspiring up close + more. SAVE TIME The drive from Wanaka to Milford Sound is 10hrs return. Enjoy the Milford flight & 2hr Mitre Peak Boat Cruise and you need only allow 4 hours return. Option of Heli Glacier Landing while at Milford Sound. ALSO Mt Cook & Mt Aspiring options or the amazing FLY-WALK-JETBOAT Experiences of Siberia Experience or Blue Pools Nature Experience. Our experienced team provide a friendly and professional service. During your flight, enjoy a personalized commentary and uninterrupted views from your window seat. Qualmark and Enviro endorsed locally owned and operated family business. Department of Conservation approved operator with an excellent safety record.
Dunedin, New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“An unforgettable journey”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

An unforgettable journey from Wanaka to the fjord of Milford Sound. The sceneray is really spectacular with a mix of manifold landscapes : Lake Wanaka, snow mountains with the magnificient Mount Asîring, the coastline, the ocean and then Milofrd Sound. The first flight is running for 45ish minutes then you go on board for a cruis onto the fjord. We were so lucky we had a beautiful weather and we saw huge waterfalls, dolphins, penguins and seals. After the cruise (approximatly 2hours) you take a flight back (a different way than the first leg) for another incredible 45 minutes of sceneries. Highly recommended, great value !

Visited December 2012
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46 reviews from our community

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Stratford-on-avon, Warwickshire
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Milford Sound Flight”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2012

Lovely day flying from Wanaka over the alps and onto a small cruise ship. A few things to be aware of:

1) Don't bother trying to decide between 'Wanaka Flightseeing' and 'Southern Alps Air' - it's the same firm behind the scene

2) Be aware that this is very weather dependent. My trip was postponed a day, even though the weather was fine in Wanaka it was no good in Milford. So if you only have a few days in the area book this as soon as you can. If getting to the sounds is a 'must' for you on your trip then don't rely on flying - instead take a land route to Te Anau and go to Doubtful sound - much much less weather dependent.

3) I had visited Doubtful sound on a previous trip. As a humble tourist, I could see very little difference between Doubtful sound and Milford. So if you've already been to Doubtful then probably not worth the extra time and money to go to Milford

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new zealand
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Helpful, friendly & professional.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2012

We could not fault the service or the experience we received at Southern Alps Air. Right from the first phone call we had with them, they were helpful, friendly and professional. The staff are very knowledgeable about their products and the local area, (obviously locals) and happy to take time to help us out with planning our time in Wanaka which we didn't have enough of. We were a little anxious about flying in a small plane, but the pilot who was also the owner was very experienced and made us feel safe, comfortable and relaxed so we were able to enjoy the spectacular scenery right from take off over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains, over glaciers and into Milford Sound itself...couldn't stop taking photos. Love the yellow plane. Good value for money. Definitely recommend the Milford flight.

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amberley, New Zealand
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Awesome trip into wild territory!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2012

We had the opportunity to fly with these guys into Big Bay. Wow what an experience. Great scenery. Friendly, informative and helpful staff.

Visited May 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SouthernAlpsAir, Owner at Southern Alps Air - Scenic Flights, responded to this review, November 25, 2012
Thank you for your great review - we are so lucky to live in an area like this and have access to remote places like Big Bay especially when time is limited. Landing on a west coast beach on a beautiful summers day in the middle of nowhere is a memorable experience, it's a special place.
I have responded to the last 3 reviews under another staff members name in error - I didn't realise until they were published - but it was actually me - Anne - Co-owner/Operator of Southern Alps Air.
I hope the correct name appears this time!
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Cameron Park, California
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Give your money to charity and buy a video tour DVD”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012 via mobile

We were very excited to take the scenic air flight, but unfortunately it did not meet expectations. We only had six days on the South Island of New Zealand so we thought that this would be a really good use of our time and money; to be able to see more. Our hobby is photography and we took the flight with that in mind. But it was really disappointing, the windows were deeply scratched and dirty so that the photos did not do the magnificent scenery justice. We gave up and put camera away. Also the plane was old and dirty and you had to get your ear earphones, which were torn, from under the seat on the floor! They didn't fit. We couldn't adjust them because they were old and they wouldn't adjust enough. The pilot was more interested in making sure his copilot, a trainee, was informed than his paying customer. When the copilot saw we were having trouble with the earphones, he wanted to trade so that we could get the full experience of the fight. We thought that was very nice and professional of him. Unfortunately the pilot /the owner said no and made them put it back on his head. Obviously completely unconcerned that we were not getting the fulll experience of which they were charging top dollar. We felt as if this was a tour for the copilot, not us, and done at our expense.

The scenery is magnificent but it isn't anything that you wouldn't see over Chile or Canada or Alaska or Montana so forth. We were so disappointed. Everyone made it sound as if the tour was a combination of the Grand Canyon, The Great Barrier and Iguazu Falls - it was not. Clearly it was a matter of over promises and undelivered expectations.

If you want the flight experience we would recommend using a company with functional, clean, untorn headphones and was actually interested in you having a good experience, such as being able to photograph through unscratched windows and hearing the commentary delivered as if it may have been meant for our benefit.

Because of the rain we waited three days to take this tour, it definitely was not worth the wait and it was not worth the money. We would not recommend this tour. Save your money!!!!!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SouthernAlpsAir, Owner at Southern Alps Air - Scenic Flights, responded to this review, November 22, 2012
To RedE2Trav

We are very disappointed and upset that your scenic flight experience with our company did not meet expectations. We are a husband and wife team who have been in the tourism and aviation industry for over 20 years and are passionate about what we do and the spectacular region we are fortunate enough to operate within – prior to this we have not had any disappointed customer feed-back regarding our Milford Sound scenic flights and we are devastated that you were disappointed with the experience. Through our lengthy email correspondence prior to you making the reservation I did convey to you that the scenic flight to Milford Sound from Wanaka is fantastic and I apologise if I over promised – the comments I made to you were quotes from other people who have taken this flight with us. For the majority of people that fly with us the landscape the Milford Sound Scenic flight encompasses is some of the best they have ever seen. Milford Sound was described by the famous poet Rudyard Kipling as the 8th Wonder of the World. We do appreciate feed-back and take on board your comments – all of our aircraft are maintained to strict CAA regulations and are inspected regarding safety and presentation prior to every flight. The perspex windows are replaced on a regular basis at much cost to try to ensure the best viewing and photographic opportunities – the aircraft you were in had the windows replaced very recently. In this aircraft the headsets are stowed under the seat due to minimal space, headsets are sanitised before each flight and regular checks are done to ensure functionality – The headsets have all now been re- checked & replaced if required. There was a trainee pilot on the flight this day with you and we apologise for any inconvenience this caused you with commentary not being entirely focused upon your needs as a valued client – it is very important for safety that the co-pilot has a fully functional headset for communication and navigational purposes which is why the pilot in command did not allow the swap to go ahead - safety is always first and foremost. Pilot training in this form is not a regular occurrence for our company as pilots tend to stay with us for many years.
We would have really appreciated the opportunity to have discussed this with you in August when you took the flight so that these issues could have been immediately addressed and in doing so had the opportunity to reach a solution you would be happy with - We have read other reviews from your recent holiday and are disappointed for you that you had other experiences that did not reach expectation.
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