Flying high around Rakiura

Air Milford will take passengers in a Cessna Caravan aircraft on a scenic flight over Rakiura Stewart Island on April 9. Photo: Supplied/file

FOR one day only, Air Milford is presenting the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to circumnavigate Rakiura Stewart Island on a scenic flight tour out of Invercargill.

Departing on April 9, Air Milford will be operating three one-hour flights aboard a luxurious Cessna Caravan aircraft, taking passengers for a bird’s-eye view of Aotearoa’s third-largest island.

Founded in 1993 by a Queenstown farmer with a home on Stewart Island, Air Milford has grown into a well-established tourism business, providing Kiwis and tourists with bird’s-eye views of our unique landscape for more than two decades.

Passengers on the flight to Rakiura will get to take in the diverse and raw beauty of the Rakiura area, including Codfish Island, the Muttonbird Islands and Ulva Island.

They will see the exquisite coastlines of Masons Bay, Doughboy Bay, and Horseshoe and Halfmoon Bay from the air.

The flight will also take passengers over the expansive coastlines from the South Cape to Patterson Inlet, and over Mount Anglem and the Tin Mountain range.

‘‘Mount Anglem is the highest mountain in this whole area, over 3000 feet, so you’re seeing just an exquisite array of scenery that you won’t see anywhere else in the world. It’s a must do,’’ Air Milford chief pilot Antony Sproull said.

Each of the company’s four Cessna Caravan Turbo-prop aircrafts are equipped with 12 passenger seats, leather interiors, air conditioning and big windows that offer unobstructed views of the scenery.

The Cessna Caravan also has one of the best safety records of any General Aviation passenger aircraft.

‘‘I could basically describe it as a private VIP propeller plane,’’ Mr Sproull said.

Based out of Queenstown, Air Milford usually operates flights around Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and Mt Cook, but for one day only they’re giving Invercargill people the opportunity to experience their own backyard from the air.

‘‘It’s an opportunity to experience the very best of Southland. From the islands and nature reserves that we have, the beautiful coastlines and beaches,’’ Mr Sproull said.

‘‘If we can make this a success, we’ll certainly look at putting it back on again. We’re not just going to turn our backs on it, the community’s too good to us for that.’’

The three flights are departing Invercargill Airport at 9am, 11am, and 2pm.

The cost of a ticket is $399 for adults, and $299 per child aged 2-12 years old, infants fly free.

Air Milford is a keen supporter of Southland charities, and will be donating a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales to Hospice Southland.

‘‘The previous trip to Fiordland was for the Southern Charity Hospital, so it’s nice to have a charity connection and be able to reinvest back into the area.’’