Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Something's Missing from the Skies Above New Zealand's Southern Lakes Region?

Where is the Ata Whenua Helicopter?

This question has been asked numerous times over the last few months.  Those who keep an eye on helicopter flights over New Zealand’s Southern Lakes region have noticed she’s missing!

HOTEL JULIET OSCAR, the MD Hughes 500 D Model helicopter easily recognized by her much admired, unique, blue paint job has become an icon of the skies over Fiordland.  She has introduced thousands of visitors to the natural, awe-inspiring beauty of New Zealand’s Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Dusky Sound, and established herself as a real workhorse around Fiordland National Park – lifting bridges, shifting bivvies, keeping huts supplied & maintained, gravelling tracks, radio tracking birds, searching, rescuing, and playing a major role in the quest to create predator free islands for New Zealand’s endangered birds.

HJO has carefully transferred takahe, kakapo, mohua, blue ducks & rock wren to their new homes, kept local repeaters maintained so Te Anau communication lines stay open and monitored avalanche conditions on the Milford Road.  She’s carried loads and loads of precious cargo, including people from all over the world, endangered birds and their eggs, hunters, predator traps, trappers, crayfish, princes, government officials, tourists, TV & film crew, national geographic photographers, engineers, biologists, surveyors and wedding parties en route to their dream destinations.

HJO has featured in numerous films & documentaries, has been the subject of thousands of photographs, and was responsible for scouting, and more importantly finding, the sites in Fiordland that met Peter Jackson’s very specific criteria to film “Lord of the Rings”, and “The Hobbit”. She played a major role in the development and production of our Film of Fiordland, “Ata Whenua”, and is often referred to as “The Ata Whenua Helicopter”.

She’s one of those ever-reliable, high performing machines that never let you down, so when it came time to sell and upgrade to a new machine… selling was out of the question!  Instead, she has spent the winter season undergoing major cosmetic surgery.  Follow Fiordland Helicopters on facebook to see the first photos.  She will be back soon!

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Images from a scenic flight.

‘That was one of the best and most unforgettable experiences for my wife and I…Thank YOU!”   Photo and quote from a photographer who flew the Dusky and Doubtful Sound Heli-experience with Fiordland Helicopters recently.

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Experienced Fiordland Hughes 500 pilot joins the Fiordland Helicopters team.

Operating in one of the most demanding flying environments in New Zealand where vast areas of remote mountainous terrain can make weather forecasting and aerial navigation difficult, Fiordland Helicopters  has built it’s reputation around experienced pilots who have a sound working knowledge of both Fiordland National Park, and the Hughes 500 helicopter.  Local experience and knowledge coupled with thousands of hours as Pilot in Command have been the key to success for Fiordland Helicopters.

Finding pilots who fit this criteria is not easy… but Mark Hollows is one person who does!

Mark began his flying career right here in Fiordland 33 years ago,  specializing in wild animal recovery with Alpine Helicopters.   He has since accumulated over 17000 hours, mainly in Hughes MD 500 series helicopters.  The majority of his flying has been in Fiordland and it’s surrounds, although Mark has spent the last few New Zealand winters flying in Alaska on a wide range of jobs including wild animal capture and research, mineral exploration, mining support, drilling, heavy lifting operations and aerial surveys.

Mark’s vast working knowledge of Fiordland’s World Heritage Status National Park and the Southern Lakes region, his fantastic people skills and his flying experience make him a valuable addition to the team.

Mark and his wife Pam live on the edge of the Te Anau golf course in a wonderful Alaskan inspired log home. If you are planning to visit Te Anau  and looking for unique luxury Fiordland accommodation, check out their luxury  log cabin at  www.thehollows.co.nz

Fiordland Helicopters welcomes Mark to the team.

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Fiordland Coastal Newsletter

Fiordland Coastal Newsletter April 2012

Click on the link above to see this edition of the Fiordland Coastal newsletter which includes an article on Dave Crouchley who we have worked with extensively on conservation projects in the Fiordland National Park.   Dave has been an absolute pleasure to work with in his role at DOC, and the knowledge he has shared with us on Fiordland, it’s wildlife and it’s conservation  is invaluable.

Fiordland Helicopters wish Dave all the best in his new ventures.



Monday, March 19th, 2012

2012 Wapiti Ballot Season Underway

Clear blue skies welcomed the first of the  Fiordland Wapiti Foundation ballot hunters into Fiordland today.  With an easterly wind the only weather to contend with, the first rotors turned before daylight this morning… and  Fiordland Helicopters last group were safely settled into their block by late afternoon.   Many of them are returning hunters who fly in to hunt for Red deer every year – for some of them though it was their first time into Wapiti country.  Flying with Fiordland Helicopters today included hunters from Te Anau, Waikaia, the wider Southland region, Waikato, Canterbury,  “up North” (that means anywhere in the North Island!) and Australia. The weather will play a large part now in their movements for the next ten days, but most of them look well equipped to deal with whatever it throws at them.

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

2012 Wapiti Ballot Results

The  Fiordland Wapiti Foundation 2012 Wapiti Ballot was drawn on Saturday, October 29th. The team at Fiordland Helicopters, including pilots Jonathan Larrivee and Kim Hollows would like to congratulate you all.  If you missed out on one of the FWF wapiti blocks, contact us, and we will do our best to find an alternative Fiordland hunting block that will suit your party. We welcome all enquiries from both new and existing clients.

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Fiordland Coastal Newsletter

DOC Newsletter
The Department of Conservation’s Fiordland Coastal Newsletter outlines many projects in which Fiordland Helicopters is involved. We work closely with DOC on a variety of conservation projects throughout Fiordland. Click here to download the full newsletter in PDF format.

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Hunters flock to stalk Fiordland wapiti

As published in The Southland Times

There should be more bucks than bangs in the Fiordland wilderness this week as hundreds of lucky trophy hunters from around the world take their shot at an elusive wapiti stag.

Only 450 hunters each year are granted the right to hunt wapiti in Fiordland during the mating season and more than 1000 others missed out after this year’s bal-lot..

Fiordland Wapiti Foundation president Roy Sloan said wapiti were a prized animal and Fiordland contained the only significant free-range population in the southern hemisphere.

During the past six years 5000 non-wapiti animals, including red deer, had been culled or removed from the area to improve the quality of the animals and help the forest.

Mr Sloan said it was a partnership with the Department of Conservation to manage the prized wapiti stocks while also protecting the area from the damage that deer caused.

“We manage the effect the deer have in the area with low numbers but a high quality of animals,” Mr Sloan said.

The popularity of the annual wapiti hunt during the roar has boosted the numbers entering the ballot from 200 six years ago to 1500 this year.

Mr Sloan said people entered the ballot from around the world.

He said the wilderness area the hunters would enter was described by a search and rescue person “like the Amazon on top of the Himalayas”. “It really is the last frontier of true wilderness hunting,” Mr Sloan said.

The first hunters went in yesterday and all 450 would be spread over three, 10-day hunting periods over the next month, around 25 blocks.

The hunters were generally very experienced and most would only shoot a good, older trophy animal and leave the younger males and prime breeding stock alone.

“We try to drill them that they should select only the best,” Mr Sloan said.

Antlers of at least 1m across and with at least 12 points could be considered a trophy.

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Welcome to our brand new website

New Fiordland website

Just a quick note to say (you’ve probably already noticed!) that our brand new website is now live. We hope you like the new design and imagery, it would be great to hear some feedback from you.

The new look is just in time for our busiest season so please check out the tours we have on offer and join the hundreds of others who will be experiencing Fiordland like never before this year.

All the best, the Fiordland Helicopters team