Coastal Catlins Heli Tour
Duration: Full and half day options from Queenstown
Distance: Very little walking
The Coastal Catlins Heli Tour takes you for a unique wildlife experience on the remote Southern coast of New Zealand’s South Island. You’ll be picked up from your accommodation this morning for a short drive to the airport where you’ll board your helicopter. Fly south over beautiful Lake Wakatipu past the Hector Mountains and over the Southland plains, where you will see lots of sheep and cattle dotting the fertile farmland below.
The landscape changes to dense native bush as we head towards the Catlins Conservation area. Land near the famous Cathedral Caves to explore a series of majestic sea caves that have been formed by the waves over thousands of years, before continuing up the coast to Jack’s blowhole. We’ll look for seals and sea lions playing in the rock pools below the beautiful lighthouse at Nugget Point. Located on a steep headland surrounded by a scattering of rocky islets (known as the Nuggets), this lighthouse is part of one of the most distinctive landforms along the Otago coast. Nugget Point is also home to sooty shearwaters, shags, yellow-eyed penguins, spoonbills, and a breeding colony of gannets. Elephant seals and leopard seals also occasionally visit the area. If you watch the water for a while, you might be lucky enough to see some Hector’s dolphins playing in the waves.
From here we’ll head north over Dunedin to the rugged Otago Peninsula, where we will land and have the opportunity to get up close to see the Royal Albatross, the yellow-eyed penguins, and the blue penguins.
Finally, enjoy the breathtaking Central Otago landscape as we head back. We’ll touch down for a final alpine landing to take some photos on the snow before then head back to Queenstown at the end of the Coastal Catlins Heli Tour.