“The Dream of True Flight” according to many, has been achieved only by a helicopter. Man has been inspired for several thousand years by the hummingbird and the dragonfly, creatures that could fly forward, backward and hover above the same place, before man finally built the helicopter. The helicopter can fly forwards, backwards and sideways, hover at a spot, and perform quite a few movements that makes it a favorite way of enjoying a bird's eye view of a scenic place.
Tourism companies that offer helicopter rides that take riders on a visually appealing journey, without the riders having to set foot on the ground, are increasing by the day.
Helicopters with their small size and agile maneuvers can take their passengers to the recesses of earth's many hued bosom, a feat an ordinary man would not think possible on his own.
Here is a list of five most famous helicopter rides. Whether you are short of time, or you wish to take your expedition beyond the joys of a purely physical trek, jump into a helicopter and let those wings take you wherever you want to go.
1. Las Vegas and Grand Canyon, Arizona
You need to be up, close and personal with the Grand Canyon, . If you really want to gauge the majesty of the Grand Canyon, you need to take a shuttle bus from South Rim to the North Rim, and you will realize that the Grand Canyon, is, in fact, inexhaustible. Las Vegas, teeming with life and artificial lights, is an antithesis to the stoic piece of mountain; but Vegas too, needs to be lived in to be understood.
Thanks to the helicopter rides that provide an aerial tour of the Grand Canyon and Vegas, you get a chance to look at the sin city from above, and enjoy a really personal experience at Grand Canyon.
The helicopter tour is not an uncomfortable ride in a noisy contraption as many are apt to think. Rather, the whole experience- from being picked from the doorstep in a stretched limousine, till you are dropped back to the starting point in equal style- is a very enjoyable one. These tours offer you the best of both worlds- the luxury and style of Vegas, and the rugged view of the great old Canyon. The helicopter will take you over Hoover Dam, the Mojave Desert, Lake Mead, and then follow the trail of the famous Colorado river whose mighty waters had shaped the red shoulders of the Canyon. The helicopter even takes stops in between where you can take a boat ride on the Colorado river, and have a nice little picnic on the Canyon rim. As night approaches, the helicopter takes you back to Las Vegas, hovering over dazzling city lights, as the receding mountains call out to you.
2. Sydney, Australia
Helicopter operators in Sydney offer the ultimate in terms of technology, when it comes to filming the ride and the quality and modernization of helicopters. The oldest helicopter tour company in Sydney, uses the R44 helicopter that has full surround view panoramic doors. The helicopter tour company also offers high definition filming of helicopter tours.
Rides of varying durations and catering to different moods, are offered by various competing tour companies. However, one thing remains constant- the beauty of Sydney as you cannot seem to have enough of the breathtaking views of Sydney. The helicopter ride takes you over the Sydney Harbor, the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Manly, the Northern Beaches, Middle Harbor, and the well known Bondi Beach. If you lean more towards the romantic side, then a better idea would be the sunset trip. Bathed in twilight, the sights and sounds of Sydney appear nothing less than spectacular, from the sky. To wind up the special evening, the tour operator may even offer a glass of champagne when you alight. Now, isn't that wonderful. A light, heady feeling, as you happily walk along Sydney Harbor, holding the hands of the person you love. Now, isn't that the perfect recipe for a honeymoon?
Click here to get a list of top ten things to do in Sydney
3. Fox Glacier, New Zealand
The possibility of ever descending upon a 13 km long white field of ice, as the rotors of the helicopter, come to a noisy halt, seems remote, and like a scene out of a survival movie. And yet, in New Zealand, there are 'helihikes' to the Fox Glacier. This is one of the few glaciers that lies in close proximity to an ocean as well as a rainforest. This is one of the few glaciers that lies in close proximity to an ocean as well as a rainforest. The fly in, fly out helihikes gives you the pleasure of a hike on the moving ice of the Fox Glacier as well as the rare opportunity of taking in the breathtaking view of the expansive white sheet of snow. While up in the air, you can take a good hard look at the ice caves, arches and other ice formations that are changing by the hour. Every flight provides a unique view as the glacial ice keeps moving. Shaped by natural elements, the ice keeps changing its form.
The flight will take you over the lower and upper ice falls, and past Victoria Falls before finally landing on one of the most picturesque spots of the glacier. Here, you will be provided with crampons that will help you walk without slipping on the ice. Follow the steps made by the guide as you tour this magnificent land of ice.
This trip, though in the bosom of the cold glacier, does not require a very high level of physical fitness and can be taken by almost anyone above nine years of age. But make plans for this trip only when you have some time to spare, as a complete helihike, will take a minimum of four hours.
To know more about Fox Glacier click here.
4. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Air transfer in Rio de Janeiro is a life saver for international tourists who would love to explore this Brazilian city but escape its crowded streets. Besides helicopter rides that take international travelers, through marvelous views of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro is also famous for air taxis that are known to transport you to the roof of the very building you wish to enter. Imagine getting late for a union with a friend you haven't met in ages. Just as you are fretting about how to maneuver yourself through heavy traffic on the road, an air taxi picks you up and delivers you at your friend's rooftop. Quite a dream, ain't it? Well, helicopter operators in Rio, offer all this and much more. Helicopter tours of Rio are ideal for anyone who is short on time, and yet wishes to see the major landmarks of the city. The helicopter lets its passengers contemplate how the clusters of rising buildings of the city fall back upon the verdant green mountains in the background. And how the view of the city from above is brought to life with the sight of the crystalline water bodies. The tour takes the passengers through a comprehensive route covering almost all the important destinations like Cobacabana Fort, Copacabana Beach, Leme, Sugar Loaf, Botafogo Beach, Flamengo Beach, Gloria, Santos Dumont Airport, City center, Candelaria church, Sambadrom, Quinta da Boa Vista, Maracana Stadium, Corcovado, Alto da Boa Vista, Tijuca Forest, L Jacarepaqua lagoons, Pan American Village, Projac, Rio Centro, Jacarepagua car race track, Rock in Rio, Barra da Tijuca, Jacarepagua airport.
If you do not have the time or inclination to spend so much time in the air, you can opt for a shorter tour for 15 minutes, taking in the view of the majestic Christ the Redeemer statue, the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, Sugar Loaf Mountain and the Marcana Stadium.
Check here for things you can do in Rio de Janeiro besides the helicopter rides.
It is amazing what technology has done- how it has connected civilizations that are miles and ages apart. Helicopter rides in the Laikipai Plateau in Kenya that take the riders to Ol Lolokwe, the sacred mountain of Northern Kenya's Samburu people. It is unbelievable how a short ride in the helicopter can bring you to the world of these colorful pastoral people for whom nomadism is a way of life.
There are several destinations that you could choose to visit on a helicopter tour of the Plateau like Desert Rose, 'Singles Well', Melako Conservancy, and across the savannah plains of Sambru. The helicopter rides add a degree of comfort as well as a panoramic prospect to the trip. Helicopter trips around this place are exorbitant, and can go up to 20,000 USD per person. But, given the extremely arid weather conditions, and the unique landscape of the region, a helicopter ride is money well spent.