Ever dreamed of soaring above the clouds – with your hearts pounding, and ready to say “I do” in the most romantic fashion ever? And even if you haven’t had this dream before – doesn’t it sound EXACTLY like something you’d totally be into?
Well, buckle up, because this fantasy can quickly turn into your reality. All you need to do is choose to go on a helicopter ride on your wedding day.
And in my experience as a wedding photographer, some of the most scenic places you can enjoy from 1,000 meters above the ground are located around Queenstown, New Zealand. (Not to mention the HUGE selection of reputable heli vendors)
So, if you’re planning a Queenstown wedding – or if you just love the idea of having a helicopter wedding or elopement – then you’re definitely gonna love this blog post!
In this article, I’m giving you the rundown on the top 6 high-up places near Queenstown that will make your special day feel like a scene right out of a blockbuster romance movie – with just a hint of adrenaline.
These are the places that are not only bound to leave you with an unforgettable & beautiful experience on your special day – but will also lead to some of the most breathtaking wedding or elopement photos the world has ever seen.
Hopefully, this post will get you excited about having a helicopter wedding experience. And it will also help you pick a helicopter location to make your wedding truly specialSo brace yourself: it’s going to be one heck of a ride.
Or should I say… flight?
1. Cecil Peak – the closest option to Queenstown
Cecil Peak is just a 4 minute helicopter flight away from Queenstown Airport.
But don’t let being so incredibly close make you think less of this mountain – it’s like a whole other world!
With tons of different landing options on the mountain, you’ll get to experience anything and everything you want! There’s a ledge, there’s a spur – and you’ll have plenty of green in the warmer seasons.
With that being said, my favorite time to shoot wedding photos at Cecil Peak is actually during the winter. All the snow just makes all the mountains around it look even bigger (not that they’re small in the first place), giving the place an eternal epic vibe. And providing the most stunning backdrop ever to your wedding photos.
So, if you’re on a tight schedule and can’t afford to spend a lot of time on travel, or if you’re just looking for breathtaking alpine views with a lake peaking out in the background, Cecil Peak would be the perfect location for your unforgettable helicopter-wedding.
2. Big Geordie – a hidden gem for your elopement
If you’re ready to take the road less traveled, then Big Geordie is the spot for you!
In my opinion, not enough people choose this location (or even know about this location), which makes it SO underrated!
But due to its immense beauty – and proximity to Queenstown – it probably won’t stay that way for long…
When you land at this hidden gem, you’ll find yourself surrounded by unparalleled views that will take your breath away and make for unforgettable wedding photos.
The usual helicopter “touch-down zone” offers panoramic views stretching down towards Glenorchy, across the serene lake and back towards the rugged peaks of Skippers. The wild mountain peaks that surround Lake Wakatipu encapsulate the spot, creating a sense of seclusion that’s hard to replicate elsewhere.
But it’s not just the views that are impressive. The untouched nature of Big Geordie makes it an intimate and private location, perfect if you’re looking to elope or spend some time together away from the world.
To top it all off, due to the location’s less-traveled nature, the chances are high your wedding will be one of the few that have taken place there, adding an extra dash of uniqueness to your nuptials.
So, if you’re ready to break away from the norm and create memories in an exquisite location that’s still relatively unknown, Big Geordie could easily become your dream destination.
3. Rees Valley – endless options for your heli wedding
Rees Valley is truly a slice of heaven that has almost unlimited options to land, based on the season and the look you’re going for.
Here, you can find meadows, a river, and an alpine lake – all surrounded by the most incredible mountain ranges. If you know where to look, you’ll also find a secret little podium in the valley that looks up to Earnslaw Burn. So if you bring your celebrant and bring your guests, you can actually have your wedding ceremony here!
The almost unlimited options make Rees Valley one of the best locations to visit if you want a variety of stunning wedding photos.
Sure, hopping from one location to another with a helicopter – and making sure you have time to take it all in at each location – might not be ideal for a tight schedule. But if you can fit it in, it’s SO worth it!
4. Coromandel Peak – a highlight of your helicopter wedding
Wanna feel like you’re – literally – on top of the world on your wedding day?
Coromandel Peak is where the magic happens. The Coromandel Peak wedding shot is probably what inspired you to have your elopement in New Zealand in the first place. And it’s probably one of the most popular locations that’s NOT overrated in any way (sure it’s popular – but in this case, the hype is real and well-deserved).
Imagine standing on the edge of a cliff with your soulmate…
You see the Sun’s rays illuminating the lake down below with different colors in different parts of the day. If you look far into the horizon, you see the silhouettes of mountains towering high above the glimmering water. They seem so close – and yet are so far away. And you see islands – many islands – lining up perfectly, as if they’re standing in line to congratulate you on your wedding day…
No matter which season you’re planning to get married in, Coromandel Peak is an excellent choice year round. The helicopter flight takes about 15 minutes from Queenstown Airport. But if you’re looking for a lesser-known location with similar views – you might want to look into Roy’s Peak as well!
5. Lake Lochnagar – unreal beauty in NZ
If you’re looking for a truly out of this world location, Lake Lochnagar just might be the perfect place for you.
Imagine a beautiful glacier-fed lake with bright blue water, surrounded by picturesque mountains with snowy peaks & hidden waterfalls. Imagine you could see this place with a real-life photo filter. And now multiply the ‘wow-effect’ by x10.
THAT – and an overall stunning backdrop for your wedding photos – is what you get at Lake Lochnagar, which is actually one of my favorite locations on the list. It’s so breathtakingly beautiful, that when you first see it, your mind may not be able to comprehend that it’s actually a real place – and you’re actually there, looking at it.
So, if you’re looking for a remote location with that dramatic look – with a clear-blue alpine lake & majestic snow-capped mountains – then this is the place I’d recommend for your heli landing.
With multiple landing spots around the lake, you can probably find a way to work around the weather, even in harsher conditions.
When choosing this location, keep in mind, that the lake is about a 20-minute flight from Queenstown Airport – or a 10-hour hike from Glenorchy if that’s what you wanna do. So, definitely factor the time it takes to get there into your wedding day schedule.
6. Criffel Station – perfect to elope or have an intimate wedding at
Imagine having an intimate ceremony out in nature – with grassy fields below, and the endless universe above. If you look to your right, you see rolling hills on one side. If you look to your left, you’ll get one of the best views of Wanaka and Lake Wanaka. You’re far away from a world that doesn’t matter. Today, YOUR world is all that matters – and it’s right there with you…
And that’s Criffel Station.
One of the best spots to have an intimate ceremony that’s truly breathtaking all year round. But even if you’re not planning to have your ceremony there: it’s a beautiful getaway option to take portraits of the two of you in love. With the rolling hills on one side, and the lake-views on the other, you basically get 2 photoshoot locations for the price of one!
Now, due to its proximity, Criffel Station is a great option if your wedding venue is in Wanaka or Cardrona. Alternatively, it’s also a perfect “Plan B” if your “Plan A” turns out to be too windy on your special day.
And there you have it, the top 6 locations you might want to consider if you’re planning your wedding or elopement in Queenstown, New Zealand. While you can choose to get to most of these locations in a variety of ways – such as hiking or driving – I’d highly recommend taking advantage of one of the many helicopter companies in the area to give you a special ride on your special day.
And if you’re still looking for a wedding photographer to make sure your wedding photos reflect the incredible scenery of Queenstown – and all the magic of your wedding day – then you’re in the right place at the right time! Get in touch for a quick chat on how I can help you bring your vision to life – and capture all your favourite memories of your Queenstown helicopter wedding.