We begin our day at Queenstown Airport [NZQN], the popular South Island resort city. Take a second to look up to the southeast to see an imposing sight: The Remarkables. We depart over Lake Wakatipu, passing Queenstown on the northern side of the lake, and proceed westward over the Fjordland mountains (no need follow the valleys). We turn at Lake Quill and Sutherland Falls and descend toward the Tasman Sea. Then we reverse east into Milford Sound, widely thought to be one of the natural "wonders of the world". This is best appreciated down on the deck. You will want to slow down for a touch-and-go at the short commercial field at Milford Sound [NZMF].
After the airfield, we turn sharply northward along the Tutoko River and climb to pass by Mount Tutoko. Crossing the wide Hollyford Valley, we visit Climax Peak and the dramatic Mount Apiring. (The latter is known as the "Matterhorn of the South.") We descend onto the floor of the Matukituki Valley to fly over Lake Wanaka and the lovely resort town Wanaka to land at Wanaka Airport [NZWF], the site for the wildly popular biennial "Warbirds Over Wanaka" airshow.
We proceed north to fly low over Lake Wanaka, through narrow twisty Haast Pass, and turn northeastwards. In Landsborough Valley, we climb all the way to 9000-9500ft. Turning east, we slalom steeply down to Mueller Lake and then land at Mount Cook Aerodrome [NZMC].
After catching our breath, we climb past Mount Cook up the Tasman Glacier which is New Zealand's largest and fastest shrinking glacier. We cruise along the top of the Southern Alps which divide the South Island's watersheds. Thirty miles on, near Mount Whitecombe and its associated glacier, we turn northward and dive down the Hokitika River Valley onto the flat west coastal plain to land at Hokitika [NZHK]. Then northeast along the coast to the lighthouse at Cape Foulwind to land at Westport [NZWS]. Next we pass over the huge open-pit Stockton Mine and then the beautiful Kahurangi National Park to land at New Zealand's second-oldest city Nelson [NZNS] on Tasman Bay.
Finally, we fly over the acclaimed Pelorus River Valley and the tourist center and ferry-hub Picton, cross over Cook Strait, and land at "Windy" Wellington [NZWN]. New Zealand's second-largest city (the "coolest little capital in the world") sits on scenic Wellington Harbour and extends into suburbs along valleys to the north and to the northeast.
Please set your simulator clocks to 1530 local time.