Whakaari Conservation Area




What to bring

Trip options


Trip price is dependent on group numbers and trip type. Please contact us for more price information.


All trips are based in the Richardson Mountains near Glenorchy at the Head of the Lake Wakatipu. They begin at the Glenorchy Airstrip which is a 45 minute drive from Queenstown.

Take a scenic heli flight to the mountains above Glenorchy then hike down on the tracks that lead you back to the valley floor.

  • Trips are for 2-5 people
  • Trips depart from Glenorchy Airstrip
  • Trips are weather dependent
  • A good level of fitness is required

Trip Options

Guided Trips

Our crew provide a premium guided service. The crew are locals that have indepth knowledge of the area. Enjoy a safe and informative lively relaxed and exciting guided adventure.

Self-Guided Trips

Hikers should be able to handle steep terrain. Once the group have disembarked the helicopter they can start to follow the track at their own pace.

Day Heli Hikes:

Heli Fly to Coffee Ridge Mt Alaska. Descend on historic scheelite trails . Enjoy a picnic up high at a miners hut and learn about the intriguing history of the area. 5-6 Hrs

Heli High Hike

Heli fly to Kelly Hut at 1800m then climb to the peak of Mt Larkins. Return for a picnic lunch at the hut then heli back to the valley floor. 5-6hrs

2-Day Overnighter Combo: Stay & Hike

Heli fly to Kelly Hut . Climb to the peak of Mt Larkins then stay up high in Kelly Hut at 1880m. Heli exit back to the valley floor.
Starts and finishes at the Glenorchy Airstrip.

What to bring

  • Day pack
  • Comfortable hiking shoes or boots
  • Appropriate mountain clothing warm and waterproof
  • Personal items
  • sunscreen, sun glasses, sun hat
  • Drink bottle
  • Overnight trips bring overnight gear. See The Hut

Frequently Asked Questions


Are there toilets along the trail?

Our guides and guests are flown into the mountains by helicopter and land at Kelly Hut. The Hut has its own eco friendly stand alone toilet building with a rotational holding tank system. The night trip to the toilet should be treated as a chance to see the beauty of the night sky. The Hut and its facilities are positioned in the middle of the snow slopes and are easily accessible during the day by guests participating in snow activities or hiking a return trip to the summit during summer. Heli bikers descending to the valley floor have access to the DOC long drop toilets at the Heather Jock Hut, the Scheelite Battery and at the Whakaari carpark.

Is there drinking water along the trail?

Mountainhut provides enough potable water in containers for guided groups during their trip. There is also a small spring close to the hut and plenty of snow in winter to melt for water should it be needed. Guests should always carry their own drink bottles with enough water in them to enable them to undertake the duration of their chosen activity. There are some waterways in Whakaari Conservation Area with variable flow during summer or frozen in winter. The largest waterway is the Bucklerburn which descends quickly through a gorge to the valley floor.

Is there cellular phone coverage?

The closest coverage is Vodafone cell phone coverage at sunset rocks at the ridge above the hut. Whakaari has no dependable cell phone coverage over most of the terrain or trails so best factor that into your equipment choice. Take a PLB if you have one. Mountainhut.nz supplies an emergency kit for guided and self guided groups which includes PLB and Satellite phone.

What is your cancellation policy?

Mountainhut.nz has the descretion to change or cancel any trip at any time. This could be due to adverse weather forcast, cloud, wind or snow melt effecting river flow on some trails.

Trip price is dependent on group numbers and trip type. Please contact us for more price information.

Experiences worth sharing.

Mountain Hut offers unique and bespoke tour options catering to a range of experience and skill sets. All tours explore off the beaten path terrain, ensuring the experience is authentic and memorable.

mountain hut heli hiking tours


Land in the mountains above Glenorchy and hike down on tracks that lead you back to the valley floor.


Heli Biking Tours


Land in the mountains above Glenorchy and bike down on tracks that lead you back to the valley floor.


ski touring


Huge variety or terain from steep to mild.  Guided runs avaialable for both experienced or beginners.



Huge variety of terrain from steep to mild. Guided runs available for both experienced or beginners.