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“Flight to the site of 1910 wreck”

Southern Lakes Helicopters
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Based in Te Anau we offer an array of exciting helicopter experiences to areas often inaccessible to most.Options include sightseeing, heli-hiking, photography, hunting, fishing, boat charters and personalised tours catering for families or small groups. Our dedicated team is committed to providing all our clients with a truly memorable helicopter experience to see all the World Heritage Fiordland National Park has to offer.
Reviewed 31 August 2014

My wife's great aunt was shipwrecked in Dusky Sound in 1910 and she was keen to see where it happened. Having contacted SL Helicopters from UK we had a very helpful reception who were interested in the reason for our flight and suggested we contact again when nearby. This we did and were received at the heli-pad at the edge of Lake Te Anau, which was covered in misty cloud. Suspecting the worst because of the limited visibility, we were slightly surprised when the helicopter arrived and landed ready to receive us on board. Mike was our pilot and we could not have done better since he was well-informed, helpful in view of my disability and very friendly. Above the cloud, the sky was blue and sun was shining so we set out over Doubtful Sound on the way further south west to Dusky Sound. Having flown round the Sound we identified a suitable beaching site for the ship after it ran over a spike which tore a hole in the bottom. The Captain selected a place to beach his ship but by the time he did it, the engineer was up to his waist in water. All the passengers were landed, canvas taken ashore for shelter and everyone's baggage recovered. The crew had to chop down some trees to add space to where everyone was likely to spend the night. Members of the crew rowed round to a nearby lighthouse to raise the alarm and a warship despatched by the Prime Minister to effect the rescue. Having flown round where we thought the landing had taken place, there was very little space for a lengthy stay. We left for the return flight and went on to Milford Sound before coming in to land back at Te Anau. It was a terrific flight and we landed once for a comfort stop at Lake Quill. We were joined by four Kea which inspected my shoelaces and some of the seals on the helicopter. After arrival we were offered an itinerary of the trip super-imposed on a google map of the area. What a memento! Fantastic and a terrific record of our trip over the mountains and fiords. Highly recommended. Many thanks, Mike.

Thank bookman_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SLHELI, Front Office Manager at Southern Lakes Helicopters, responded to this reviewResponded 5 September 2014

It was our pleasure to be able to fly you around Fiordland and especially to Dusky Sound so you could view the area that has so much significance for you. Certainly a trip of a lifetime.

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77 - 81 of 148 reviews

Reviewed 17 June 2014

We recently traveled to NZ (24th - 31st) and spent 5 days in Te Anau, Fiordland District. I wanted to add something special to our holiday as we were celebrating our wedding anniversary, therefore I got in contact with Southern Lakes Helicopters as I had been reviewing their proposed trips through their website.
After several emails / discussions with Southern Lakes we arranged the Doubtfull Sound journey which includes two landings on Mt Kidd and Campbell's Kingdom, I also arranged with Erin a Champagne picnic lunch at one of the landing sites.
We departed our journey at approx 2.30 in the afternoon, so the sun was sitting fairly low however this enhanced the light and shade of the mountains.
It probably takes around 30 mins to travel from the Helipad, in Te Anau, to Campbell's Kingdom. You fly over Lake Te Anau crossing into the Doubtfull Sound as the view of the Sound meeting the ocean you then turn into the mountains and enter Campbell's Kingdom.
The flight into Cambpell's Kingdom is nothing short of spectacular as the blades of the helicopter barley sweep over tops of the mountain ridges. Just amazing !!!!
After landing in the Kingdom, Mike our Helicopter Pilot, turned off the engines and came out with a picnic rug, wicker picnic basket, champagne and assorted sandwiches / nibbles. Having this opportunity we were able to quietly sit in the Kingdom and make the most of the opportunity to sit in such a pristine place.
Following our late lunch we then took off for our next landing site at Mt kidd, passing beautiful hill top tarns and hilltops covered in what looked like icing sugar.
The next landing was just as spectacular, as you come into landing our helicopter pilot swept over the hilltop tarn then gently landed in beautiful powder snow.
When you get out of the helicopter you quite literally feel like you’re on top of the world. Words simply cannot express / do justice. I personally think we took the journey at the right time of the day.
You probably have around 15 odd mins on the hilltop to take a few quick snaps, peg a few snowballs :-) and take in the sights then you head off back to Te Anau passing the Kepler Track.
I would highly recommend Southern Lakes Helicopters as they ensure that all your needs are catered for and quite litteraly make dreams come true. Yes there is a price to pay however in my opinion it is more than fair as we were out for close to 2 hours – landing around 4.30ish.
Here's a link to my little video clip of the holiday / helicopter ride https://vimeo.com/98393650

1  Thank JRees71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SLHELI, Front Office Manager at Southern Lakes Helicopters, responded to this reviewResponded 18 June 2014

Thanks so much for your fabulous review. It was our pleasure to fly you on your wedding anniversary and to give you such a memorable day.

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Reviewed 19 April 2014

We did the 2 and 1/2 hour "The Works" and it was amazing. The staff was great in setting this up for my wife (her first chopper flight) and me, and our pilot, Michael, was outstanding. This wilderness area is so beautiful and so expansive that only a helicopter tour can come close to doing it justice. I've travelled the world and nothing comes close to this experience. Southern Lakes has done a wonderful job in putting together this flight package and you can count on them to make this a very memorable trip for you. And . . . our friends are raving over the hundreds of pictures we took. The Southern Lakes "The Works" was more than worth any cost - it can't be duplicated!

Thank Jim L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SLHELI, Front Office Manager at Southern Lakes Helicopters, responded to this reviewResponded 18 June 2014

We really appreciate you taking the time to post this great review. It was our pleasure to fly you through Fiordland and allow you to share this special part of the world.

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Reviewed 15 April 2014

We were in Te Anau for a weekend between Milford Sound and Kepler Tracks and decided to splurge on a 60 minute helicopter ride over Doubtful Sound..Was fantastic! Pilot, Andrew, was friendly and obviously very experienced. Yes it's expensive, but if your budget can accomodate it go for it. You get to see some of Fiordland from a perspective you just don't get from the ground!

Thank Trudy N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SLHELI, Front Office Manager at Southern Lakes Helicopters, responded to this reviewResponded 18 June 2014

Thanks for your positive review, we really appreciate you taking the time to post this.

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Reviewed 13 April 2014

First off, there is absolutely nothing like getting in the air over Doubtful and Milford Sounds. It's absolutely breathtaking from the air and you won't soon forget the thrill. My issue with Southern Lakes Helicopters is that they're overpriced and not overly concerned about the customer. I came to New Zealand for work and managed to fit in a few days in Fiordland. I tried to book a flight with Southern Lakes a week in advance but was told that they required at least 2 passengers for travel. That was reasonable enough and so I asked them to keep me informed if any flights got booked that could fit me in as an extra passenger. Over the next week, I would call or email them every day to see if they had a flight and was told that nobody had booked a flight. Finally, I made it to Te Anau and poked my head into their office one morning to see if anything was available and was again told that there was nothing for me. As I was in their office, though, I could see their booking ledger and it showed that some flights had been booked for the exact days that I was in Te Anau and, in fact, I would see Southern Lakes helicopters in the skies while I was there.

So, they certainly don't go out of their way to help and they're not the friendliest.

My story does have a happy ending, though. I walked just two minutes down the lake from Southern Lakes where the floatplane for Wings and Water resides. I walked into their office and was in the air within 10 minutes. What's more, I paid HALF the price that Southern Lakes had been quoting.

Long story short. Definitely get in the air, but go with Wings and Water and forget Southern Lakes Helicopters.

1  Thank mrn2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SLHELI, Front Office Manager at Southern Lakes Helicopters, responded to this reviewResponded 15 April 2014

It is most unfortunate that we were not able to join you with a flight to Milford or Doubtful Sound during the short time you were in Te Anau. You are correct in your observation of our booking diary, for we did have a series of flights over those days. However none of those private charter flights went anywhere near the locations that you specifically wanted to go to. We had lots of hunters flying to hunting blocks, private charter scenic flights where the clients had chartered the helicopter for their personal use along with other commercial flights including emergency Medivac and Search and Rescue missions. As our company undertakes varying types of helicopter flights, the majority of them are not scenic flights which obviously on this occasion did not work in your favour. Our front line staff had diligently worked at seeking a shared seat arrangement on a flight of your choice but unfortunately it never suited anyone else during the time frame you wanted. I am sorry in your view you felt we didn't make any attempt to help or assist you and again in your view lacked "friendliness", but we can assure you that this is just simply not the case! There is a very old saying "You can't please everyone all of the time" and until now we have been very proud of our service to our customers, and we believe our Trip Advisor Ratings accompanied by a growing number of associated Certificates of Excellence speaks volumes about our service!!!! We take some comfort in the fact that you did in fact get to experience a flight over our beloved Fiordland National Park, albeit by an alternative but similar family operated aviation provider.

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