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Maui Helicopter Flights
Between exploring land and sea, you may think you have covered Maui in its entirety. But the truth is, you’ve only discovered a fraction of Maui until you’ve taken to the Valley Isle’s final frontier: the sky. Home to precipitous narrow valleys, countless waterfalls, sheer emerald cliffs, towering mountain ranges, and thousands of acres of uncharted rainforest, exploring Maui by helicopter is the best chance to view the island’s magical untouched areas.
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West Maui Mountains
Most flights head into the heart of the West Maui Mountains, where you will find ivory waterfalls spilling thousands of feet down from misty peaks. While Haleakala is Maui’s crown jewel when it comes to mountains, the West Maui range is equally as special, if not more so due to their impassable terrain.
The best way to experience the West Maui Mountains is on a doors-off helicopter flight. This 45-minute Doors Off West Maui and Molokai flight is the only one of its kind on the Valley Isle. This flight explores the best of West Maui and Molokai— including the Wall of Tears, where over a dozen waterfalls stream down a remote cliff face. Without the doors, there’s nothing in between you and stunning panoramic views.
Alternatively, if a doors-off flight isn’t your thing, you can get a taste of the West Maui Mountains on the West Maui and Molokai Adventure Tour. You’ll still experience the best of the West Maui Mountains’ otherworldly valleys and Molokai’s towering sea cliffs from the comfort of a doors-on chopper.
On the other side of the spectrum, Haleakala is often touted as Maui’s most popular tourist attraction. Yet this imposing volcano takes on a different personality entirely when viewed from above. Towering at 10,000 feet, Haleakala’s desert landscape resembles that of Mars rather than Hawaii. From above, you’ll take on a new perspective of Haleakala and discover a renewed appreciation for the dramatic forces that came together to form this island.
Visitors can peer into the crater’s depths on a Complete Island Helicopter Tour. This excursion circumnavigates the island, allowing visitors to explore Mount Haleakala’s coastal perimeter and gaping crater and the remote West Maui Mountains. With 60 minutes in the air, you’ll have plenty of time to soak in the grandeur of Haleakala Crater and its outlying areas.
Another option includes the Full Maui Helicopter Tour. As the name suggests, this tour showcases the entire island of Maui, with special viewing opportunities of Haleakala and the mountain’s coastlines. In addition to taking in sweeping views of the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala crater’s moonscape, you’ll also pass over the isolated, windswept Kaupo area and the lush East Maui coast.
As with any flight around Maui, you’ll ultimately be reminded that you are on an island, isolated in the middle of the Pacific. Just because you’re cruising a thousand feet above sea level doesn’t mean you can’t explore what lies in the cerulean depths. On sunny days Maui’s coastal waters display a collection of different shades of blue, and sometimes you’ll be able to spot green and gold hues radiating from coral formations beneath the surface. In the winter months, the Valley Isle’s shallow waters are a playground and sanctuary for hundreds of migrating humpback whales.
If ocean views are what you seek, look no further than this 90 Minute Maui Helicopter Tour. This tour visits Maui’s most popular helicopter locations, such as the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala, but comes with two alluring bonuses. The first is a flyover Molokini Crater, a famous snorkeling islet a few miles off the South Maui Coast, followed by a brief landing at an exclusive Upcountry location, where bi-coastal ocean views abound. This flight also presents stunning views of the golden beaches near Ka’anapali and the rugged coastline near East Maui— with the best of both land and sea on offer.
Whether you’re a professional photographer, hobbyist, or simply an Instagram enthusiast, Maui is full of unique photo opportunities. While every corner of Maui offers up something both gorgeous and unique, the real visual treats come from taking to the air. Many Maui helicopter tours have recognized Maui’s distinct photogenic landscape as any photographer’s dreamland. Noting the hundreds of tourists touting their cameras onto commercial helicopter flights daily, some Maui helicopter tour companies began offering photography-oriented flights. These photography flights can be completely customized to build your ideal flight map and itinerary, and even select the best time of day for your flight. This allows you the freedom to delve into your places of interest and explore where you want to explore specifically without any time restrictions or fellow passengers. Look for photography flights that operate in a doors-off helicopter, allowing for the very best panoramic views for shooting, and naturally, a thrilling ride.
Departing Kahului Airport, your first views will be of the rugged northern coastline extending east. On a typical day, you’ll find hundreds of colorful sails belonging to both windsurfers and kitesurfers dancing along this windswept coast. Catch glimpses of Maui’s main port, Kahului Harbor, and the surrounding outer reefs that protect the island from the hammering north swells in the winter months. From here, the choice of where to head next is yours.
For some, taking to the air in a helicopter is exciting enough regardless of who is piloting it. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking to try something new or someone genuinely interested in flight school, some Maui helicopter companies offer the opportunity to test the piloting waters in a discovery flight. Each lesson begins with some on-the-ground instruction discussing the basics of flight theory, going over safety briefings, and even peering into the engine of the chopper. After the groundwork is complete, take to the pilot’s seat to practice flying.
Most discovery flights travel along Maui’s northern coastline towards Hana. Here you will soar over miles of deep rainforests, countless streams en route to the sea, and some of east Maui’s best aerial sites such as Jurassic Rock, known for being featured in the opening scene of Jurassic Park. Although you will be in control of the helicopter for the majority of the flight, you can still take in the gorgeous Maui scenery below-that is if you’re not too focused on the gauges and controls! Before your final touchdown at Kahului Airport, you will try your hand at landing- not an easy feat at the windiest airport in the United States. Regardless of whether you decide to pursue flight school or not, piloting a helicopter over one of the world’s most beautiful islands is definitely a bucket-list activity.