There is no better way to appreciate our beautiful city than from the air.

Whether it's a short trip over the city, a flight out to White Island or a landing on Mt Tarawera, if you want a bird's eye view the options are almost limitless.

Three helicopter companies offer commercial scenic flights - Volcanic Air Safaris, Heli-Hire and Heli-Pro. Check their websites to see what flights they have on offer and which suits your needs and budget. Flights leave not just from Rotorua Airport but also the lakefront and Te Puia New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Heli-Hire is also set up to cater for hunters wanting to explore the backcountry.

Volcanic Air Safaris has a choice of tours and the option of helicopters or floatplanes.


Its 1954 De Havilland Otter floatplane is the only one of its kind operating in the Southern Hemisphere. It has flown search and rescue missions, been a commuter aircraft and, since 1986, a tourist carrier.

In its early years, it was sent to Egypt on United Nations duties to help supervise the ceasefire between Israel and Egypt after the Suez crisis.

These operators can take you to White Island, Mt Tarawera, over the crater lakes, to the Urewera National Park and places in between.

The Rotorua Daily Post Essential 50 lists the city's must-see, must-do and must-try activities and experiences, thanks to reader nominations. We will be highlighting one every day over summer.