Red Cat Biplane Flights' main base is at Pukaki Airport located just two kilometres from the alpine retreat of Twizel township and only five kilometres from the turnoff to Aoraki Mount Cook. We are located right next to the main South Island tourist route from Christchurch to Queenstown.

  Twizel township and Pukaki Airport

How to get there

To get to Twizel from Christchurch, which has the largest airport in the South Island, take State Highway One south-west through Ashburton and follow the signs to Aoraki/Mt Cook. Past the Rangitata River turn right onto Highway 8 and follow this through the towns of Geraldine, Fairlie and Tekapo. Driving time is three hours.

Some international flights also arrive in Queenstown from Australia. To get to Twizel from Queenstown, take the highway to Cromwell and then head north through the Lindis Pass and Omarama. Driving time from Queenstown is two hours twenty minutes.

Rental cars and campervans are readily available at Christchurch and Queenstown.

Alternatively, you can get a ride with Atomic Shuttles, Naked Bus or Intercity. These companies run services from Christchurch or Queenstown (going both directions).

Aviation Adventures' base is at the northern end of Pukaki Airport at 1 Harry Wigley Drive. It is well sign posted.

Twizel township

Twizel township with Lake Ruataniwha beyond.

Twizel is the closest town to Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain. It has two supermarkets, a petrol station, two workshops, a variety of cafes and restaurants, a hardware store, a pub and a book store. Twizel has the only money machine and bank in the Mackenzie Basin.


- Twizel is centred between five picturesque lakes - Lake Tekapo, Pukaki, Ohau, Ruataniwha and Benmore. All are within 30 minutes driving time. These lakes and the canals that link them, as well as local rivers, offer some of the best trout and salmon fishing in the country.

Rainbow and brown trout, as well as salmon, are abundant in local streams, lakes and canals. Photo: Les Lamb.

Alpine sports - Aoraki Mount Cook National Park has some of the best mountaineering and rock climbing in the world. During winter, skiing is popular at Ohau Skifield, only a 30 minute drive from Twizel.

Hiking - The Mackenzie Basin has a huge range of hiking options from day walks to overnight stays in mountain huts.

Walking at the head of Lake Ohau

Water activities - Boating is popular on Lake Benmore and Ruataniwha, the latter having the South Island's largest rowing course.

Lake Ohau and the Neumann Range

Biking - The area has some excellent biking options suitable for both touring and mountain bikes.

Golf - If golf is your thing, check out the Ben Ohau Golf Course right in the middle of town. The 9-hole layout is set up for an 18-hole card. Fantastic views!

The Lord of the Rings Twizel tour - this is a popular tour that is based in Twizel and explores some local locations used for the film trilogy. For bookings, phone Dawn Ghoorah on (03) 435 0073 or 0800 213 868.

The Lord of the Rings Twizel tour - we fly right over this location on the Three Lakes scenic flight option.


Twizel has a wide range of accommodation options from backpackers through to a camping ground, B & Bs, lodges, motels and hotels.

Mackenzie Country Inn

With 108 comfortably furnished guest rooms, each with its own balcony to enjoy the views, this hotel has an excellent restaurant and is ideal for your family holiday, honeymoon escape or conference. For bookings phone 0800 500 869.

Mackenzie Country Inn

Matuka Lodge

High Country Lodge and Backpackers

With a range of accommodation to cater for backpackers through to those wanting a motel unit with up to three bedrooms, the High Country Lodge and Backpackers is centrally located and within walking distance of the shops. For bookings phone Chris James on (03) 435 0671

  High Country Lodge and Backpackers

Mountain Chalet Motels

Aspen Court Motel

Ideally located within walking distance of the shops, this good motel makes an ideal base from which to explore the Mackenzie Country. For bookings phone Sue or Colin Thornley on (03) 435 0274.

Aspen Court Motel

Ruataniwha Holiday Park

Parklands Alpine Tourist Park

To book accommodation or activities, please phone Aviation Adventures on:

0800 RED CAT (0800 733 228)