» kauai by helicopter
We debated whether or not we really wanted to do a helicopter ride right up until the night before we went, but we ultimately decided what the heck, it's our honeymoon. We chose to go on a 4 passenger helicopter with no doors because it seems like it would suck to get stuck in a middle seat on a bigger helicopter and have to look through a bunch of obstructions to see the scenery. Even without the doors I found myself leaning out of the helicopter as much as I could to try and get photos. Then I was like wait a minute, the only thing holding me back from falling thousands of feet is this seatbelt, is this thing fastened right? It was, I guess, because I am still here, but even on a small, door-less helicopter there are good seats and less good seats. Megan got the best seat, in the front on the right side. I got one of the less good seats, in the back on the pilot side. They fly around the island in a counter clockwise direction so if you are on the pilot side you're not going to get the best views of places like the Na Pali coast, which would be off the other side of the helicopter. They do stop and turn the helicopter at many spots and there are good views off both sides of the helicopter for a vast majority of the time. Seating is done by weight so you don't really have any control over where you sit, unless you can blackmail the pilot.

One thing I did not anticipate about riding in a helicopter is that it can cause motion sickness. The thing is always moving. The constant motion also makes it hard to take photos. You have to be quick to get the photo framed how you want, and you have to cross your fingers and hope that the motion of the helicopter doesn't make your photo all blurry (if you are shooting anything not brightly lit by the sun then the chances are that it will come out blurry, you can try using a higher ISO but that causes blurry photos by itself unless you have a good SLR camera).

Information on the various options for helicopter tours can be found in the ubiquitous Kauai travel guide: The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook: Kauai Revealed.

Tiered waterfalls from above (Photos by Megan).

Na Pali Coast.

This was the view as we flew into Wai'ale'ale Crater, one of the coolest parts of the ride. The small white speck near the center of the photo is another helicopter on its way out. You can see scars on the cliffs where waterfalls flow when it rains.

Weeping Wall, inside the crater, is fed from run-off from the rainest place on earth. There were many other waterfalls cascading down the surrounding cliffs.

Waikoko Beach and Highway 560.

Green mountains.

Ke'e Beach and the start of the Kalalau Trail from above (Photo by Megan).

Flying over Namolokama Falls.

Looking west from the Honopu Valley area.


Wailua Falls.

Water falling.

The trail to Lolo Vista.

Above Ke'e Beach.

Na Pali coast.

Unknown falls, Mount Wai'ale'ale.

Na Pali coast (Photo by Megan).

Unknown falls.

Honopu Valley.

Manawaiopuna Falls. In the background you can see Kahili Falls (Five Sisters) (Photo by Megan).

Some river. The greens have to be seen in person to be appreciated.

More Kauai photos...


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» all photo reports from kauai
Kauai From Above
October 11, 2008
Photos from an hour long helicopter tour of Kauai.
More Kauai
October, 2008
More photos of Kauai.
Honopu Ridge, Kauai
October 7, 2008
Hiking the rugged Honopu Ridge Trail above the Na Pali Cliffs in Kokee State Park.

» all photo reports from hawaii
Maui, Hawaii
October 14 - 22, 2008
Enjoying the amazing island of Maui, with all of it's crazy roads.
Kauai, Hawaii
October 6 - 14, 2008
Enjoying the amazing island of Kauai, from Waimea Canyon, to Poipu, to the Kalalau Trail.