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Admiring Hawaii from above provides you a brand new perspective on these stunning islands. Our Kauai helicopter journey was so spectacular that we couldn’t resist taking one other helicopter experience over Oahu.
Though Oahu is a way more populated island (residence to the capital Honolulu and the favored seashore resort, Waikiki), the pure surroundings remains to be beautiful.
We flew over volcanic craters, jagged inexperienced mountains, hidden waterfalls, and golden seashores.
The artifical sights have been additionally fascinating—the high-rise motels of Waikiki, countless Dole pineapple fields, and the long-lasting Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial.
On this submit, I’ll share what to anticipate on an Oahu helicopter tour, which one you need to select (doorways on or off?), and all the pieces else you want to know.
Selecting a Honolulu Helicopter Tour
Numerous firms supply Oahu helicopter rides and most of them take off from Honolulu Airport, a 20-30 minute drive from Waikiki Seashore (the place you’ll probably be staying).
We selected to go together with Rainbow Helicopters as a result of they’ve wonderful evaluations and supply the choice to experience with doorways on or off (for a similar worth).
Whereas it might sound scary to experience doorways off (we have been actually nervous our first time on our Kauai doors-off helicopter tour), I extremely suggest it.
The views are much more unimaginable with out glass between you and the surroundings and it’s by far the most suitable choice for photographers.
If you’re in a gaggle that may’t agree, it’s doable to have the doorways on within the entrance row (subsequent to the pilot) and off within the again row.
Rainbow Helicopters supply flights from 30 to 60 minutes. Belief me, go for the 60-minute choice, which loops round virtually all the island. It goes quick and you’ll not need the flight to finish.
We took this actual 60-minute Oahu Helicopter Tour with Rainbow Helicopters and cherished it.
Seating within the Helicopter
The helicopters seat six folks—two folks within the entrance (subsequent to the pilot) and 4 within the again. That is undoubtedly cosy and fortuitously, there have been solely 4 of us on our flight (one within the entrance and three within the again).
If you’re with one different particular person, the chances are high that solely considered one of you may be seated subsequent to the door.
You additionally don’t have any selection on which facet of the helicopter you sit, and the views are higher on the left facet as you journey counterclockwise across the island. Sadly, we have been on the correct facet (within the again), dealing with out to the ocean.
We have been fearful at first, and there have been some picture alternatives I missed, however the pilot did a very good job of circling round on the main sights so all of us bought a very good view.
If this bothers you, you may guide a non-public tour as a substitute (select your date then choose the non-public choice). I’d undoubtedly take into account this for subsequent time, however it’s a splurge.
What to Anticipate on a Doorways Off Helicopter Oahu Tour
Rainbow Helicopters require you to test in a single hour earlier than your flight, so we arrived at 4pm for our 5pm flight. We got complete directions on precisely the place to park and go.
When checking in, they discreetly weigh you (this determines the place you’ll be seated), after which take you to a small room the place you watch a security video.
You should depart all of your belongings in a drawer on this room—solely telephones, cameras (no baggage), and sun shades are allowed on the flight. I share extra tips about getting ready for the journey under.
You’ll be given a lifejacket, which is worn round your waist, a neck case to your cellphone, and, in case you are sitting subsequent to an open door, goggles to guard your eyes.
There are restrooms on this constructing.
With the one-hour check-in, we have been fearful we’d find yourself ready round, however after our briefing, we have been taken by golf cart to the helicopter and ended up flying half-hour early.
Earlier than you get within the helicopter, the crew take images of you in entrance of it.
The crew helped us into the helicopter and buckled us up in our sturdy harnesses.
We had two-way headphones, which enabled us to speak to our pilot and listen to his commentary as we flew over the island.
Quickly we took off gracefully straight up. It was unnerving at first to be subsequent to an open door, however I quickly bought used to it and commenced having fun with the views under.
We headed in direction of Waikiki over the calm Ke’ehi Lagoon close to Sand Island, and virtually instantly, I noticed a turtle swimming under!
We additionally flew over the tiny Mokauea Island, residence to Oahu’s final Hawaiian fishing village.
Waikiki and Diamond Head
Quickly we reached the towers of Waikiki, the place quite a few motels overlook its attractive (and crowded) seashore.
Subsequent was Diamond Head, considered one of Oahu’s most iconic sights. Seen from Waikiki, it appears like a mountain, however from above, you may see that it’s a volcanic crater.
The day earlier than, we’d hiked to the highest of Diamond Head, which is among the hottest issues to do in Oahu, and it was fascinating to see it from a unique perspective.
We hadn’t realised that the customer centre (the place we began the stroll) was proper in the course of the crater.
Southeast Coast of Oahu
Persevering with on the southeast coast, we reached one other spectacular volcanic crater, Koko Crater.
It overlooks Hanauma Bay, the place we loved a number of the finest snorkelling on Oahu (be aware you have to guide 48 hours prematurely). Once more, it was fascinating to see a few of our favorite spots from a brand new perspective.
We’d pushed alongside this arid coast simply that morning and recognised locations just like the Lanai Lookout, Halona Blowhole, and Sandy Seashore.
On the very finish of the south coast is the Makapu’u Level Lighthouse, the place we’d walked for beautiful views.
It was even higher from above trying down on the uninhabited islets, Mānana Island (also called Rabbit Island) and Kāohikaipu Island.
Turning the nook up the Windward Coast, the surroundings bought much more spectacular.
This facet of the island is lush and inexperienced, with the dramatic Koʻolau mountain vary operating the size of the east coast.
First, we flew over the lengthy white stretch of Waimānalo Seashore, considered one of my favorite seashores on Oahu, with its attractive mountain backdrop.
Olomana or the Three Peaks overlook Kailua city. There’s a difficult path you are able to do alongside these mountains.
We additionally flew over the Stairway to Heaven path that leads up a slim ridge. It’s now closed because it’s so harmful, and it actually did look scary.
The Kaneohe Sandbar appears beautiful from above.
As does Mokoli’i Island (often known as Chinaman’s Hat) off the coast of the Kualoa Regional Park.
We bought up near the jagged mountains and flew over the well-known Kualoa Ranch, the place many films, together with Jurassic Park, have been filmed.
Additional north, the waves bought greater and we handed extra verdant peaks.
Probably the greatest sights on an Oahu helicopter tour is Sacred Falls.
These tall waterfalls in a lush valley can solely be seen from above. The mountain climbing path to the falls was closed after eight folks have been killed by falling rocks in 1999.
The North Shore is a quieter, much less developed a part of Oahu that’s well-known for its large surf breaks in winter.
Immediately, we noticed how a lot wilder the surf appeared (even in October) as we flew over Sundown Seashore.
Waimea Bay is one other attractive North Shore seashore. The valley behind it’s recognized for its botanical gardens and among the finest swimmable waterfalls on Oahu.
Climbing greater, we bought a very good view of this part of the North Shore, stretching from Turtle Bay Resort (which we completely cherished once we later stayed right here) on the far left, previous Sundown Seashore and Shark’s Cove (a rocky snorkelling spot) to Waimea Bay.
Though we noticed the western tip of Oahu within the distance, we didn’t journey all the way in which across the island. As an alternative, we minimize inland by the flatter center of Oahu.
The main sight right here is the Dole Plantation, with its geometric fields of pineapples that appear to stretch on for miles.
Again on the south coast, we flew over the Pearl Harbor naval base, together with the USS Arizona Memorial, which commemorates the lives misplaced within the 1941 assault.
Is an Oahu Doorways Off Helicopter Tour Value It?
Our Honolulu helicopter experience was our costliest exercise on Oahu, but it surely was additionally probably the most memorable, and for us, it was nicely price it.
The surroundings is actually spectacular, and seeing Oahu from above provides you a novel perspective. You additionally get to see locations like Sacred Falls and Stairway to Heaven that you could’t go to some other method.
Our 60 minutes flew by and everybody bought off the helicopter with large grins on their faces.
For those who can afford it, I extremely suggest an Oahu helicopter journey. Undoubtedly select the doors-off choice for the most effective images and a extra immersive expertise.
E-book your helicopter experience with Rainbow Helicopters right here.
The one state of affairs the place I wouldn’t suggest it’s in case you are additionally visiting Kauai, the place the helicopter journeys are much more unimaginable. I’d reserve it for Kauai when you can’t afford each. See my submit on our Kauai doorways off helicopter experience for extra particulars.
The Greatest Time of Day for a Helicopter Tour of Oahu
I attempted to discover a definitive reply to the most effective time for an Oahu helicopter tour and couldn’t.
There are professionals and cons to each time of day. The sunshine is at all times going to be good in a single course and never so nice in one other.
We booked the final 5pm flight as a result of it was simpler to suit into our schedule, and we have been hoping for some beautiful golden hour gentle.
The sunshine was stunning dealing with east however we have been heading into the solar when going west. Total, I’m proud of the time we selected.
I wouldn’t fear an excessive amount of about it—simply select a time that works for you.
One issue that we did take into accounts was the visitors between Waikiki (the place we have been staying) and Honolulu Airport. We did our journey on a Sunday, so visitors was minimal and it was a simple 20-minute automotive experience.
On weekday rush hours (6.30am – 9am and 3pm – 6pm), you’ll want to permit 40 minutes for the journey as visitors might be horrendous.
Ideally, schedule your flight for earlier in your journey in case of cancellation as a consequence of climate. That mentioned, it was enjoyable to see a number of the locations we’d already visited.
Doorways Off Helicopter Oahu Ideas
- Put on heat garments and closed-toe sneakers — I wore denims, a t-shirt, fleece, and trainers, and I used to be completely comfy. If you’re subsequent to the door, you have to have lengthy sleeves.
- Don’t take unfastened gadgets – You’ll be able to depart them in your automotive or within the constructing the place you check-in. This contains wallets, keys, hats, baggage, and even lens caps.
- Sun shades are OK to put on – However I left mine behind as I needed to put on goggles sitting subsequent to the open door (in addition they aren’t nice for images).
- Tie again lengthy hair – I additionally wished I’d worn a headscarf as a couple of stray bits of hair got here unfastened and went wild. It was annoying and a knotty mess afterwards.
- Cellphone circumstances are supplied – You’ll be able to put on them round your neck to keep away from the chance of dropping your cellphone. Photographs are first rate from telephones however might be higher from a digital camera.
- When you have a digital camera – A large-angle lens is finest, use steady capturing mode, and purpose for a shutter pace of 1/1000 to keep away from movement blur. For the images on this submit, I used a Sony A7III mirrorless digital camera and Sony 16-35mm f4 lens.
- Journey illness isn’t a difficulty – I usually get journey sick however I didn’t have issues on both of my helicopter flights. If you’re fearful, take medicine like Dramamine an hour prematurely.
- Tipping the pilot is anticipated – You are able to do this again on the check-in constructing after the flight. They supply envelopes if you wish to depart money, or you may tip by card on the desk. $10-20 per particular person is taken into account affordable.
Oahu Helicopter Journey Particulars
The 60-minute Royal Crown of Oahu tour with Rainbow Helicopters prices $375 per particular person. We booked on Get Your Information, which affords free cancellation as much as 48 hours prematurely.
It’s the identical worth for doorways on or off. Simply choose the choice when reserving.
You can too go for a non-public journey, which prices $1126 complete for 2 folks or $2252 for 4 folks. That is price contemplating if you need a assured window seat.
Rainbow Helicopters run flights day by day most hours between 9am and 5pm.
You might want to test in a single hour earlier than your flight at their workplace contained in the Fortress & Cooke Aviation constructing at Honolulu Worldwide Airport. They ship directions.
E-book your Oahu helicopter journey right here.
Extra Hawaii Posts
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