Visitors to Hauraki Gulf in Auckland can now explore the region aboard a seaplane.
Auckland Seaplanes, which launched in late November, takes off and lands on the waters of the Waitemata Harbour in an original 1961 De Havilland Beaver – one of the most iconic float planes in the world.
The reconditioned 1961 De Havilland Beaver
The company offers scenic flights over the volcanoes and islands of the Hauraki Gulf, as well as vineyard lunch packages to sample the local food and wines of Waiheke Island.
ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) tourism manager Jason Hill said, “Finding new ways for people to experience our harbour and gulf are key aims of the Auckland Visitor Plan. We’re thrilled to see Auckland Seaplanes in the air and think this will have a strong appeal to a broad range of people – from local aviation enthusiasts to international visitors wanting something a little different,” he says.
The Waitemata Harbour was once the main international airport for Auckland when seaplanes were the only way to fly into the city.
Auckland Seaplanes chief executive Chris Sattler named their aircraft ’Aotearoa II’ after the plane that made the first flight into Auckland from Sydney in 1939.
Sattler said, “Aotearoa II is a really pristine example of one of the best-loved float planes in the world. For the last 25 years she has had one careful owner – a Canadian gentleman who kept her in immaculate condition and only used her to fly to his lodge on Vancouver Island. We are really excited about sharing her story and the stunning landscapes of the Hauraki Gulf with the world.”