One cold starlit night in 1886, the earth around Rotorua began to shake. By around 2:30 am Mount Tarawera's three peaks had split open and were launching tonnes of ash, mud and molten rock over the surrounding landscape. Eyewitnesses later reported that a huge column of fire was seen shooting up into the air with a roar that was heard as far away as Auckland and Christchurch.
One of this country's earliest tourist attractions, the spectacular Pink and White Terraces were on the shores of Lake Rotomahana, below Mt Tarawera. The terraces were the two largest formations of silica sinter – a fine-grained version of quartz – ever known to have existed. They were extraordinarily beautiful and often referred to as "the Eighth Wonder of the World".
Following the eruption, many villages were completely buried with few or no survivors. It is estimated that about 150 people died. The famed Terraces were also thought to have been completely destroyed however exciting new research has found remnants of them far below the lake's surface.
Evidence of the ancient explosion's violence and power can still clearly be seen today, especially in views from the air. Many of the lakes surrounding the mountain were dramatically altered and the blast left a 17km-long gash running through the mountain. The massive rift runs southwestwards beneath the lake and beyond, creating the world's youngest geothermal area, the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Today this valley is a hotspot of incredible geothermal activity.
Local Helicopter tours are a popular way for cruise ship passengers to experience Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.
The number of cruise ships visiting the Mount has been increasing dramatically over recent years. Eighty three cruise ships docked in the Port of Tauranga last season alone, making it a major player in the New Zealand cruise industry.
Port visits are a big part of the cruising experience and Tauranga sells a higher number of passenger tours than any other port in the country. Most passengers choose to stay in the local vicinity of Tauranga and the Mount.
A large number of the helicopter rides offered by local flight specialists, Aerius Helicopters are taken by cruise ship passengers who like to get their bearings with an aerial view of the region before they embark on other activities.
Aerius Helicopters provide a wide range of memorable Tauranga cruise ship tour options from 12 minute buzz around the Mount and Tauranga City to a 30 minute swoop down the Bay's white beaches to Maketu and plenty more.
Flights depart from Tauranga Airport, just a short distance from the cruise ship berths and because there are plenty of short flight options, passengers can then spend the rest of the day on other local adventures.
If you don't have much time during your Tauranga visit but still want to see as much as possible, then you should book one of the popular half day tours offered by Aerius Helicopters.
The best way to explore the region is by first taking a scenic flight. A helicopter ride gives you a birds’ eye perspective and breathtaking views of Tauranga's amazing places. The half day tours are proving particularly popular with cruise ship passengers into the Mount, looking for a Tauranga cruise ship tour and wanting to get the most out of their flying visit.
With plenty of options that take less than half a day, a scenic flight around Tauranga is an ideal way to see a lot more in less time and combine it with another half day activity - it's no wonder the tours by Aerius Helicopters are so popular!
Give the gift of a birds-eye perspective this Xmas with a gift voucher from Aerius Helicopter Tours. If you're stuck for a gift idea, a scenic helicopter tour not only offers something unique, the fantastic memories will last a lifetime.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of flight and for many, an opportunity for an adventure like this would be fulfilling a dream. Aerius Helicopters have a number of stunning tours and scenic flights to choose from, all of which can be bought as gifts.
There's no better way to appreciate the landscape around Tauranga than a 12 minute buzz over the Mount and City. Or you could tempt would-be adventurers with a White Island tour, landing on NZ's most active volcano. Take a flight to a local vineyard for a celebratory lunch - let Aerius provide the transport, leaving you free to relax, enjoy the wine and admire the view.
You don't have to be an aviation enthusiast to get a buzz out of travelling by helicopter - everyone loves the chance to see the world from the clouds. So for the most exciting gift under the Xmas tree this year, think about getting a Christmas voucher for an amazing flight with Aerius Helicopters.
Imagine exchanging your vows on a secluded beach or some other amazing, wild New Zealand location. But how would you get there? If you want to create a romantic wedding day that you'll never forget, think about booking a heli-wedding.
Heli-Weddings are an increasingly popular option for couples looking for that extra touch of adventure, glamour and exhilaration. Your wedding day is one of the most important milestones in your life so why not add to the magic of the day by travelling to a spectacular wedding location in your very own private helicopter.
Wherever you might choose to get married - on the shores of a tranquil lake, high on a spectacular cliff top or in a picturesque vineyard, the range and accessibility of a helicopter gives you more options for finding the wedding venue of your dreams.
If you want your ceremony at a more conventional location, consider using the helicopter as a unique mode of wedding transport. There is no better way to really make an entrance at your wedding than by flying in and stepping out of one of our sleek, modern machines.
Then, after the vows, you and your wedding party can be whisked off to some breathtaking destination to capture the most incredible wedding photos for the two of you to look back on for years to come.
Travel by helicopter and your wedding will be something completely unique, stylish, and filled with excitement. Talk to one of our professional, friendly staff at Aerius Helicopters in Tauranga any time to discuss your wedding plans and our heli-wedding services. We'd love to be part of your amazing day and help make it full of memories that you’ll want to treasure forever.
Treat yourself to an adventure over the stunning Coromandel peninsula. The Coromandel is famed for still having those special isolated places - the wild, untamed and unspoilt. The region's charms are no secret but its limited roading network make it one of the best places to experience from the air.
From Tauranga up to Cape Colville and the tip of Port Jackson, it's an eye poppingly beautiful scene and from the air you'll see places that are rarely visible by car. Between eclectic baches and small townships, there’s endless breathtaking coastline, green, velvety forest and sculptured bays of honey coloured sands. Flowering pohutukawa trees add bursts of crimson to the dramatic mountainous interior. And with the sweeping views available from a helicopter, you might even see all the way to Great Barrier.
It all makes for incredible scenery that is inaccessible to most but there to be enjoyed by air. With a scenic flight you can take advantage of the Coromandel's natural beauty, literally soaking it in while staying high above summer crowds and maddening traffic.
The region is also a foodie haven and home to a wide range of recreational attractions. Visit the Coromandel by air with an Aerius Helicopter tour and we can arrange for you to drop in for a meal and stay on for some first class fishing, kayaking, or snorkelling - or any activity you wish.
A helicopter tour of the Coromandel is a great way to get a unique and awe inspiring perspective on this slice of New Zealand paradise. If you've got any questions about scenic flights over the Coromandel, our Tauranga-based team will be delighted to help.
If you've never thought about taking a scenic flight from Tauranga, think again. What better way to experience the Bay of Plenty region? Tauranga is a great launching pad for scenic flights - you'll enjoy awesome views over land and water that will give you a totally different perspective on this magical place.
Get a birds’ eye view of Tauranga's famous beaches, that endless white sweep of sand from Mt Maunganui and Papamoa to Maketu peninsula and beyond. It's also the best way to see Tauranga's much loved iconic hill, Mauao. A scenic flight offers a unique opportunity to appreciate this special volcanic landform that watches over the city and sea.
Tauranga is a convenient striking distance for scenic flights to many of New Zealand's most beautiful and exciting landscapes. There are attractions further afield such as the steaming White Island, the jewel like Rotorua Lakes and the stunning Coromandel bush and beaches that are all within easy reach of Tauranga Airport.
Whether you land on an active volcano, fly over clear blue waters or moon-like geothermal landscapes, gaze down on pristine native bush or into the expanse of an open cast gold mine, seeing these breathtaking places by air will make your Tauranga visit that extra bit special.
If you'd like more information on scenic flight options around Tauranga, get in touch with our friendly team at Aerius Helicopters.
A Hobbiton Movie Set Tour will transport you to the peaceful region of Middle-Earth where Bilbo Baggins lived and that famous quest for the ring began.
Imagine your first glimpse of the Shire is from the air, looking down at the carpet of rolling green pasture dotted with sheep and cattle, then the hobbit holes and laneways of the picturesque little village unfold below you. It's the perfect way to discover the magic of Hobbiton.
Aerius Helicopters will fly you to the Hobbiton Movie Set as one of the many extraordinary experiences they offer. Leaving from Tauranga, it's a convenient half-day trip and you get to enjoy spectacular mountain and forest views on the way.
From the moment we land, you'll be blown away by the attention to detail on the Hobbiton set, from the brightly painted doors, carved letterboxes and garden tools to the old oak Party Tree standing in the Party Field. It's all there. Sandyman's Mill stands on the edge of the pond near the double arched bridge and you must visit Bag End, home to the heroic yet humble Baggins family.
Be sure to partake of a hobbit brew at the Green Dragon Inn before you leave. Carefully recreated, it's the perfect spot to relax by the fire, drink in hand and soak up the Hobbiton atmosphere.
The guides are really well informed with all the movie trivia a fan could want so together with the beautiful setting, it's no wonder Hobbiton remains one of our most popular, must-see attractions. Contact us at Aerius Helucopters any time for more Hobbiton movie set tour information.
Maori call White Island "Te Puia o Whakaari" – the dramatic volcano. And once you've seen it up close, it's easy to understand why. This rock in the ocean off the east coast of the North Island, is a spectacular living tapestry of bubbling mud pools, hissing steam vents and belching sulphur-lipped holes in the ground.
Enjoy an awe inspiring guided tour, walking on the active crater floor of White Island with Aerius Helicopters scenic flights. Heading out from the Aerius base at Tauranga, you'll fly over the blue Pacific towards the puff of steam that marks the island. Aerius offer the opportunity for you to land and explore this incredible place - New Zealand's most active, and among the world's most accessible, marine volcanoes.
The unique lunar landscape is an integral part of the Pacific ring of fire, just 52 kilometers off the Bay of Plenty coastline and a breathtaking exhibition of the powerful forces that continue to shape the country. The dramatic crater is roughly 2km in diameter and rises 321m above sea level. But like the tip of the iceberg - there's another 1280m of volcano deep beneath the surface.
It is a harsh and desolate alien environment and yet it's strangely beautiful too. The volcanic scoria is surprisingly pretty, multi coloured in shades of reds, yellows and greens. A floating curtain of steam screens a large crater lake before lifting to reveal its fatally corrosive body of water. And as barren as it seems, the volcano is actually home to a colony of Australasian gannets, based on the southern edge of the island.
Almost unbelievably, this alien place was once also home to factory workers who mined White Island for sulphur in the early 1900s. You can still see the ruined corroded remains of their lives today. The sulphur was extracted from rocks and sent back to the mainland where it was used in fertiliser, explosives and even in medicine - it was used as an antibacterial agent before the days of antibiotics. The mining operation ended when part of the western crater rim collapsed in 1914, killing all 10 miners.
Without a doubt, a White Island tour through Aerius Helicopters is one of New Zealand's most unique and memorable scenic tour options. Don't miss this adventure - it'll be the highlight of any trip and definitely 'out of this world'!
Aerius Helicopters features in top attractions in Rotorua region
There are dozens of different ways to experience Rotorua - in fact, the city is a tourist paradise, with myriad attractions competing for the attention of both international and local visitors alike. It takes a lot to cut through the crowd and stand out as an exceptional Rotorua experience, but that’s just what Aerius Helicopters have managed to do.
The company, which provides both scenic and commercial helicopter flights alongside premium package experiences, was recently highlighted in an article that appeared on MotorhomeRepublic.com.
The article, which singled out 10 Rotorua attractions that stood head and shoulders above the rest, praised the unique perspective that Aerius is able to provide. Kristof Haines, content editor for Motorhome Republic, said “There are so many tours and attractions in Rotorua that it was really hard to pick just ten, but right from the get go I knew that Aerius Helicopters needed to make the list. They provide visitors with an entirely different viewpoint of this visually striking landscape, which is something that not many others even attempt.”
Mr Haines went on to say that the rich variety offered by an Aerius flight was another factor in the tour company’s top ten inclusion. “Yes, you get to see Rotorua from the air, but you also get a fantastic look at the coastal area around Tauranga and a great view of Mount Tarawera. It’s that diversity that really sets Aerius Helicopters apart.”
Aerius Helicopter flights depart from the beautiful Tauranga area and can take visitors not only over the Rotorua lakes, but along the coast of the sunny Bay of Plenty and even out to White Island, an active volcano set 52 kilometres offshore. Not only do Aerius Helicopters do flyovers of this magnificent smoking island, tourists can even choose to touch down for a crater landing and a tour around the volatile landscape.