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Lake-WakatipuQueenstown helicopter company, Heliworks, and luxury private guiding company, Alpine Adventures, recently launched an exclusive soft adventure ‘middle earth’ tour aimed at the growing luxury travel market.

As the only operators permitted access to the Earnslaw Burn area, the new middle earth waterfalls heli-hike offers exclusive access to one of the most dramatic locations featured in the blockbuster film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Heliworks’ sales and business development manager, Joey Glass, said there was a noticeable trend for unique and exclusive excursions into New Zealand’s stunning back country.

“We’re noticing more and more demand from our clients as well as inbound tour operators for something that’s extra special.

“When you combine our exclusive access into this amazing location with one of the most interesting hiking guides around, this really is an adventure to remember,” Mr Glass said.

The tour commences as head guide and owner of Alpine Adventures, Mark Dewsbery, meets clients at their accommodation in the morning and escorts them to the Heliworks hangar at Queenstown airport to embark on the outback adventure. The flight takes them across Lake Wakatipu to the start of the bush line where the five kilometre hike through rolling high-country farm and golden tussock fields begins.

The trip winds its way to a lake at the bottom of a steep valley where a hanging glacier on Mt Earnslaw, known as Earnslaw Burn, looms overhead. Earnslaw Burn is Heliworks’ most popular scenic flight from Queenstown, after Milford Sound, and the three-four hour guided walk includes a gourmet picnic lunch and ample time to explore the bottom of the falls.

On the return trip passengers are treated to a dramatic finale as the helicopter ascends steeply along the waterfalls to come face to face with the hanging glacier more than 1000 metres above before returning over the Richardson Mountains and through Moonlight Saddle back to Queenstown.

For more information visit http://alpineadventures.co.nz/where-to-go-on-the-south-island/helicopter-tours/