View life differently with five amazing helicopter trips

Experiencing a bird’s-eye-view lends a welcome change in perspective, and is an unbeatable way to guarantee amazing vistas.

By Phoebe Neuman 21/01/2018

Though exploring a new destination on foot is a surefire way to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of foreign cultures and landscapes, experiencing a bird’s-eye-view of the same place can give you a welcome change in perspective — and is an unbeatable way to guarantee amazing vistas. These five helicopter trips from some of our favourite hotels and luxury travel outfitters give guests the rare chance to hit the skies, providing unparalleled access to hard-to-reach places ranging from Botswana’s lush Okavango Delta to the rugged glaciers of New Zealand.

## Duba Plains Camp

Perched above the floodplain of Great Plains Conservation’s 190,000-acre reserve in the heart of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Duba Plains Camp (which just debuted the palatial Duba Plains Suite) offers plenty of opportunity to see some of the continent’s most stunning wildlife. Though navigating the delta in the camp’s custom Land Cruiser is a great way to get an up-close-and-personal look at the animals, guests can also hit the skies in the property’s helicopter to catch sweeping views of the plains. For those brave enough, the flight can be chartered with the helicopter doors open, guaranteeing the best possible vantage point (and unobstructed photography) of the Delta’s lions, cape buffalos, and hippopotamuses. Guests can also arrange for the helicopter tour to conclude with a trip to the nearby village of Eretsha. There, they will have a chance to meet with locals to learn about life alongside Okavango’s biggest residents — elephants.

## Island Helicopters

A helicopter tour of Hawaii is a must-do activity on any trip to the string of emerald islands. Chopper specialists Island Helicopters offer one of the best ways to catch a glimpse of Kauai’s lush and dramatically varied landscapes with their Jurassic Falls tour. The company is the only operator in the state permitted to land at the breathtaking Manawiopuna falls — where Stephen Spielberg filmed the now-iconic opening scene of the original Jurassic Park 25 years ago. The tour kicks off with an hour-long flight around the perimeter of the island, where guests will get a bird’s-eye-view of the Na Pali Coast’s towering cliffs, Hanalei Bay, and Waimea Canyon, before touching down near the base of the 120 metre falls, and area inaccessible to the general public.

## Ker & Downey

Like in Hawaii, hitting the skies is one of the best ways to experience the rugged and intensely varied landscapes of New Zealand’s North and South islands. For a bucket-list style trip through the country, book a spot on luxury outfitter Ker & Downey’s Bespoke Golf Journey. The 14-day trip hits many of New Zealand’s most luxurious properties, including the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Huka Lodge at Kinloch, and Matakauri Lodge (all of which are of course equipped with award winning golf courses). Transfers between each property are all done via helicopter or private jet — and helicopter tours of the starkly beautiful White Island and Mount Tarawera are also on the itinerary.

## Amanpulo

Located on the Philippines’ glittering Pamalican Island — and accessible from nearby Palawan only via private plane or helicopter — Amanpulo strikes just the right balance between privacy and activity. Its luxe villas and casitas, vibrant restaurants, and white-sand beaches provide just the right amount of energy to keep guests from going stir crazy. If they decide to pry themselves off of the private island for a day, guests can arrange for private helicopter tours to destinations throughout the Cuyo Archipelago and the surrounding region. A chopper can whisk guests away to the aptly-named Jewelmer, where they will tour one of the area’s premier gold-lipped oyster farms to see how coveted South Sea Pearls are produced and harvested; or, those looking for a bit more physical activity can fly across the strait to Manamoc Island, where upon touch down they will hike up Mount English and explore the local village.

## Abercrombie & Kent

Known for their once-in-a-lifetime tours, it should come as no surprise that luxury outfitter Abercrombie & Kent offers one of the most over-the-top helicopter experiences. Guests of the Tailor Made Kenya itinerary can choose to supplement their seven days of ground safari — where they will track big five animals like lions and elephants throughout Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Masai Mara Game Reserve — with high-flying helicopter tours. A dedicated A&K guide will help guests choose which helicopter tour is right for them, from helicopter safaris above the Masai Mara bush ending in champagne toasts to trips to far-flung waterfalls for rare wildlife sightings and luxe picnic lunches.

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