“Forget the Road to Hana take the Flight to Hana. We saw MORE, Experienced MORE, and Learned MORE all in the luxurious comfort of our Ecostar 130. The Blue Hawaiian Experience was fantastic ”
Michael Marston, President USFamilyGuide.com
The most memorable moments on family vacations usually are “firsts”. Something that can never be duplicated. With this in mind I wanted to treat the family to a first (at least for everyone but me) – a Blue Hawaiian Helicopter tour. Forget the Road to Hana take the Flight to Hana. We saw MORE waterfalls closer, experienced MORE dramatic perspectives over the rain forest and road to Hana as well as learned MORE from our pilot Rick all in the luxurious comfort of our Ecostar 130.
It was not without trepidation for us to book and then actually board. We had a “gayle force wind warning” the day we scheduled our tour and flying is not our family's favorite activity. For me, although I have enjoyed a helicopter tour years ago my memory of this “first” was a very small crowded sealed container with most passengers focusing on keeping their breakfast as opposed to enjoying the sights. Much to everyone's elation the space was much larger and definitely more comfortable then imagined and the ride was incredibly smooth despite a gust here and there.
Blue Hawaiian Helicopter flies and even help develop the state of the art tour copter - the Eco Star 130. This amazing craft is not a small crowded container rather a spacious comfortable modern theatre of windows. Our pilot Rick was very welcoming and calm so even the most nervous of passengers settled in with ease and within minutes we were buzzing Oprah's Farm on our way to Hana! The “O” in Oprah now stands for “O”rganic as her 1,000 acre spread on the slopes of Haleakala grows hundred pound zucchinis and ears of corn the size of chevys or something like that. It is important to note that Haleakala is a dormant (not extinct) volcano and Rick pointed out the fissure just above Oprah's spread as the most likely spot to spew molten lava when (not if) the sleeping giant wakes – cover the veggies Oprah! Rick also pointed out the 4 mile road she built to the tune of $16 Million to connect the farm with the Wailea resort area presumably to sell her designer arugula to Spago at the Four Seasons. We quickly skirted past Oprah on our way to the summit of Haleakala. The EcoStar is the way to travel and if I were Oprah for $16 Million I would have Rick on retainer to pick me up and take me down to the beach and back instead of the crazy driveway.
Flying so close to the summit and directly into the crater of a relatively young volcano is super cool with Rick pointing out all the very distinct lava cones and seismic evidence from past eruptions with the last one just 300 years ago. Although just a few miles in diameter Maui is a tale of two extreme climates. One side of the island is an arid near dessert environ with 4 inches of annual rainfall while just on the other side of Haleakala lies one of the wettest places on the planet with 400+ inches of annual rainfall. Heading down the slope of the volcano to the canopy of the rain forest was my favorite part of the ride. Rick stopped and hovered what seemed like an arms length away from Waimoku Falls a 400 ft monster then circled around so both sides of the craft could have the same experience. We then flew up the valley just above the rain forest canopy that looked like the top of Oprah's Gigantic Brocolli Stalks. Along this route we saw several other waterfalls and you can see the famous road to Hana with its endless switchbacks and drop offs. We are Coloradans so steep curvy roads with drop offs that result in certain death if mistakes are made are nothing new in fact just add a foot of snow and the road to Hana sounds interesting.
After we checked out the seaside town of Hana we circled back around over the volcano homeward bound. The true testimony of an attraction is to view the faces of people who just experienced it (see below) Five unsolicited smiling yeses even Rick the pilot is waving a Shaka in approval if you look closely at the Pilot's window.
Overall Rating: 5 Shakas
About Blue Hawaiian:
Blue Hawaiian is is the only helicopter tour company serving all four major Hawaiian islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. The company began on the island of Kauai in 1982, with the name South Sea Helicopters. When South Sea's Maui branch was sold in 1985, the company's name was changed to Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. Over the years, Blue has grown to the largest, most successful, and most honored helicopter tour company in Hawaii.