Float Plane from Picton to Marlborough Sounds


I was delighted to have the opportunity to take a flat plane from Picton to Marlborough Sounds when travelling in New Zealand. I always dreamed of going on one of these float planes since I was a little girl watching “The Flying Doctors”! Ok, I’m showing my age now but however, the novelty was one I luckily got to experience!

It just so happened that it was a reasonably priced option for getting from Picton to Marlborough Sounds. I had been planning the trip in advance since my Mum was arriving in New Zealand for a holiday and I was living there at the time. I had plenty of time to arrange the holiday so I did my research. My mum had booked her flights a good while in advance and we had been travelling around the North island in a camper van following a flexible itinerary. I thought Marlborough Sounds should be on our list since I had heard many great things about the scenery and serenity of the natural peninsula. The lush green valleys with unspoilt beaches and largely uninhabited forest was a welcome thought.

I had found a fantastic deal on a plush hotel situated in the native bush of Raetihi called Raetihi Lodge. It looked like the perfect escape and was a charming boutique style lodge with stunning views and gardens. I dreamed of this kind of place and finally my dream would come true! Who better to spend the relaxing break with than my Mum?! I immediately booked it as I was sure I would never find such a great deal on such a beautiful accommodation.

Funnily enough, I hadn’t even attempted to search the transport options before booking, which was a little hasty but I guess I just assumed it was a straightforward process. Surprisingly, most people who arrive in Marlborough Sounds come by car! I soon realised that we would have to take a water taxi. The water taxi was a boat and it was reasonably priced so I considered that. I decided to look on the hotels main website for more info. It turned out that the float plane was an option and just out of curiosity I decided to browse the float plane website. I could not believe my luck when I read that it only cost NZ$90 return! Of course for that price we were going to arrive in style!

This was going to be the experience of a lifetime for Mum and I and I couldn’t wait to tell her. We were like little kids with excitement and pretty much feeling like celebs once we arrived to hop on our chartered float plane to our fab hotel in paradise. 

We had arrived earlier in the day via a scenic flight from Wellington to Picton which was another rare stroke of luck. We had missed the ferry we had planned to take due to my lousy time keeping skills and as luck would have it we managed to catch a flight there instead. Here is the post if you want to read it. Wellington to Picton Scenic Flight.

We arrived in Picton with only a short time to spare but we had arranged to make our own way from the ferry to the float plane. I had to contact the float plane business owner (also the pilot) to mention we would arrive slightly later than planned due to missing the ferry hence arriving at the airport. We got a courtesy shuttle from the airport to Picton and the pilot kindly offered to collect us from the drop-off point. What an amazing and generous offer!

He was a really cool guy and helped us with our bags which were full suitcases. He mentioned there was very little in the line of supplies or shops where we were going and we were quite surprised as we had no idea! He then offered to drop us to the store nearby and collect some bits and pieces. We were so happy he was helpful and such a great person to go out of his way like that. New Zealanders are the coolest and friendliest people you will ever meet.

We picked up some groceries and made our way to the port. Here is a pic of that beautiful sunny day we arrived at the dock in Picton.

Here is the float plane, it was just like something out of a movie. Or The Flying Doctors even! Excited to be boarding our very own private plane. The high life haha!

The float plane is quite small and only carries 3 people plus the pilot so we made sure we told him we had suitcases for weight restriction purposes just in case but it was fine!

Here is a pic of my Mum as we waited to board and our shopping bags of supplies for the trip. 

The pilot wore a cool hat that even reminded me of the Flying Doctors, with his pilots shirt and New Balance runners! So New Zealand, all very casual and laid back.

Ah here is a photo of Mum and the pilot, brings back memories!

Mam taking the wheel, she looked right at home as the co-pilot!

Me taking a backseat as we were given our headsets in order to hear each other talk and drown out the noise of the aircraft. Nice one.

A view from the interior of the float plane.

Splashing through the water on the float plane was a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget!

Up up up and away! Check out that view! So calm and beautiful. Picton is stunning, look at the beaches below!

The hills and lush greenery with pristine sandy beaches were a truly beautiful view from the float plane. 

Looking down on the sail boats below with the blue green water and gorgeous scenery below was peaceful and relaxing.

There is nothing quite like looking down on that view from a plane, while floating through the air!

It was a very scenic and enjoyable flight, we loved every minute of that arial view from above. It felt like being a bird in the sky!

Ah bliss! Is this paradise? Sure feels like it!

Marlborough Sounds is definitely a place worth visiting if you ever get the chance. You should definitely take the float plane there! Unforgettable 😀

I love this photo of my Mum, she really loved the experience and so did I! Delighted to have had the chance to experience a float plane and the scenery blew us away.

Coming in to land on the water!!!!!

Easy does it, as calm as the flight had been all the way from start to finish, with a perfect landing we glided in to the glistening blue green waters of Raetihi…

Raetihi Lodge have a lovely canopy set up on the walkway which was a nice elegant touch as well as being practical in case of rain. Feeling like celebs, we could not believe it when the concierge met us to help take our luggage directly off the plane. Our guy came traipsing through the water and everything. Happy days!

Our cool dude pilot grabbed our shopping bags for us and we thanked him kindly, he was so sound! He skipped off back onto the boat and off he went.

We waved our friendly pilot goodbye as he set off into the clouds again..

What an amazing day job he has and how lucky were we? Arriving at this tropical paradise in pure luxury, we were actually in disbelief at the sheer sight of the lodge!

Cruising past the boat he made his turn and up he went, not a bother on him. We marvelled at the thought of the whole experience. Highly recommend this transport!!

The tranquility was divine. All we could hear were the exotic birds chirping in the background as we watched him take offing the distance. 

Over the next few weeks I will be doing a blog post on the beautiful Marlborough Sounds and the fabulous Raetihi Lodge so stay tuned if you’re interested. I will leave you with the return journey pics! So funny, my Mam will kill me but I had to include the pics of her piggy back onto the plane on the way home!!

She was going to get wet so being the gentleman he was, our pilot gave her a lift. We got a great pic of Mum and me in the cockpit before takeoff.

It was a little more overcast on the way back but still an amazing view and what a way to travel. We landed right next to the ferry that we missed a few days before.

A brilliant experience that is not to be missed when travelling in New Zealand. Best memories ever!!!

Here is a link to the website if you want to see it for yourself. You won’t regret it 😉

If you like this, you may also be interested in this

Float plane journey scenic flight from Picton to Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand!

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1 Comment

  1. Quirky Writes
    July 23, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Wow! Must be an amazing trip! I love the pictures. I’m definitely getting on a float plane if I ever find a place where I can. 🙂

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