The Glider Flight In New Zealand: A Great Way To See The Southern Alps


Have Halal Will Travel •  Jul 19, 2020

This story about the glider experience in New Zealand is written by one of our contributors, Nurin. Some parts of the article may have been edited for length and clarity. 

Back in 2017, I went to New Zealand for the first time, specifically to the South Island. I had heard that bungee jumping is a common bucket-list activity for many people but sadly I did not have the guts for it. My cousin and dad recommended that I try gliding in Omarama (2h-drive away from Queenstown) instead. It was never on my bucket list as I had never even heard of gliding before! But since my dad and cousin wanted to give this activity a try, I joined them.

Credit: Glide Omarama on Facebook

For the uninitiated, gliding is the experience of flying without an engine. For this experience, you will be in a two-seater glider and paired with a highly experienced pilot throughout. You get to sit in the front pilot seat and enjoy the full view of the Alps. Not only that, your pilot might even give you a chance to take charge of the controls to manoeuvre the glider.

P.S. Check out this 8D7N New Zealand South Island itinerary for your future trip!

We booked our experience through the Glide Omarama website but you can sign up for the experience through other tour operators like Klook for the best price and reliable experience. The tour cost about NZ$386 (RM1079/SGD352/Rp. 3.7m) per person for 30-minutes flight time. It is an expensive activity but it was worth it!

We travelled to the base by van and it was fairly easy to find the place with the GPS as a guide. As the activity truly depends on weather and wind, it is best to call them up before you head to visit as they will be able to accurately tell you whether the flight is a go or no-go. I went there during September (early spring) and the condition was great.

The minute I set foot at base, nervous was an understatement. But when I met my pilot, I was very reassured that she knew exactly what she was doing and would give me the best experience of a lifetime. My pilot clearly explained the safety protocols and even explained about the parachute I was wearing in case of an emergency.

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Adrenaline started to rush through when the plane towed my glider to give it a lift into the air and then released the attached hook mid-air.

I was gliding! I definitely felt so awed and thrilled. The pilot started to manoeuvre the glider while I took this chance to experience the magnificent views, I felt so serene and peaceful.

My pilot even let me take charge of the controls to manoeuvre the glider (it's a simple manoeuvre, don't worry!).

When the time was up, we had to land and even the landing was memorable. It was smooth but bumpy at the same time and I just had to laugh from the exhilaration of it all. One thing that made me mindblown was that the glider solely depended on the wind and weather because it has no engines! It was truly an amazing lifetime experience.

#HHWT Tip: I did experience slight nausea and motion sickness during the circling of the glider, so it will be good to prepare travel sickness medicine just in case.

If you asked me if I'd go through the experience again, my answer would be a definite YES! I want to experience the magnificent views again and also to feel that sense of exhilaration when gliding. If I have the chance to be there for long, I would even want to try out for their full gliding course where you'll learn how to glide on your own.

P.S. Love the adrenaline rush? Read about our writer's experience of skydiving in New Zealand!

Credit: Glide Omarama on Facebook

Travellers would usually associate New Zealand with bungee jumping but if you want to try out something unique but just as exhilarating and thrilling, try gliding! I do wish that more people would add this activity to their bucket list too. It was beyond my expectations, I felt like a pilot that day even if it's just gliding.

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