Cheers: Heli-gin tour operator Nigel Hobbs, left, and The Helicopter Line's Brad Patterson hope they've started a 'bur-gin-ing' business


The world’s first heli-gin tour — founded by Queenstown’s appropriately-named Altitude Tours — lifted off last Thursday.

The tour company — whose wine sampler tour was this year voted Tripadvisor’s ‘top wine experience in the world’ — is teaming up with The Helicopter Line to fly punters to spots  like a secluded alpine location and Cardrona Distillery over a six-hour period, while also taking in a road trip to Queenstown’s new Gin Garden.

There’s also a six-hour by-road option via a luxury Mercedes vehicle.

‘‘Gin is very ‘in’ right now, and distilleries are popping up everywhere,’’ The Helicopter Line’s sales director Brad Patterson says.

‘‘The gin-dustry is the new craft beer, and the Central Otago climate and alpine conditions are ideal for developing pure, smooth gin.’’

Altitude Tours managing director Nigel Hobbs adds: ‘‘Both gin experiences are full-sensory, and have been designed to be a nice mix of sightseeing, education and fun.

‘‘It is perfect for all types of people, and also offers some flexibility and opportunities to taste other spirits and wine or beer, too.’’

The heli-gin tour’s $559 per person, and the road option is $189.

Its launch caps off a big year for Altitude Tours — its wine sampler tour was also named fourth-best overall experience in New Zealand by Tripadvisor, while the company was also a finalist in this year’s RealNZ Queenstown Business Awards, held in conjunction with the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce, and, most recently, a finalist in the NZ Tourism Awards for best visitor experience.