Hawaii by helicopter

Blue Hawaiian Helicopters recently launched an Oahu helicopter tour and partnered with Polynesian Adventure Tours on a land- and-air experience on Kauai.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters recently launched an Oahu helicopter tour and partnered with Polynesian Adventure Tours on a land- and-air experience on Kauai. Photo Credit: Courtesy Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
A number of operators offer visitors a chance to explore the Islands from above. A sampling of packages follows.

• Blue Hawaiian Helicopters: The company, which operates on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island, has introduced tours and partnerships this year.

In March, Blue Hawaiian launched its Oahu Complete Island Tour, a one-hour flight that goes over Diamond Head, the coral reefs, Pearl Harbor and other sites. Then in April, the company announced a collaboration with Polynesian Adventure Tours on a land-and-air tour of Kauai. Visitors get to explore Ahukini Landing, Lydgate Beach, Kilauea, Princeville, Kapaa and Kealia Overlook, among other locations.

The day finishes with a helicopter tour with views of the Napali Coast, Kipu Kai Beach, Mount Waialeale and Waimea Canyon. For travelers without much time but who want to see more of the Islands, this tour offers transportation from the Waikiki hotels and air flight from Oahu.

"The magic of the tour is that a guest staying on Oahu can get an in-person view of the very best of Kauai in a single day," said Sandra Weir, president of Polynesian Adventure Tours. "They'll have lunch at the restaurant where George Clooney dined in 'The Descendants,' see breathtaking vistas and enjoy an expert live tour narration. Then they'll get an eagle's-eye view of the Grand Canyon of the Pacific [Waimea Canyon], waterfalls and more from the air."

• Island Helicopters Kauai: The company's signature trip, the Kauai Grand Deluxe Circle Island Tour, is just under an hour and offers riders views of Manawaiopuna Falls, Olokele Canyon, Waimea Canyon, Napali Coast, Mount Waialeale Crater and more. They also offer the Jurassic Falls tour, where visitors get to land near Manawaiopuna Falls, made famous in the "Jurassic Park" films. Island Helicopters Kauai has been running helicopter tours for more than 36 years from the Lihue Airport.

• Paradise Helicopters: Paradise Helicopters offers a full-circle, 75-minute helicopter tour of Oahu out of the Ko Olina resort area from Kalaeloa Airport. They also offer, for an additional cost, an exclusive landing zone on the Kualoa Ridge along the island's North Shore and a picnic with Champagne and snacks.

• Safari Helicopters: This company has been offering tours of Hawaii Island and Kauai for more than a quarter century. On Hawaii, they offer a 40- to 45-minute tour and a deluxe 50- to 55-minute option, both of which include flying over craters, active volcanoes and a lava tree forest. On Kauai, one hourlong tour flies over waterfalls and other natural features, and a 90-minute option includes a landing in an ecopreserve.  

• Sunshine Helicopters: There are a variety of tours to choose from at Sunshine, which operates on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island. The Molokai Deluxe tour leaves from Maui, takes riders over the western section of the island and then across the Pailolo Channel, where whales can be spotted in season. Next, the helicopter travels over Molokai's 3,000-foot-high sea cliffs and the Kalaupapa National Historical Park. The tour then heads back to Maui, finishing with views of the island's western mountains.
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