Friday, June 21, 2019

Hawaii by helicopter: Blue Hawaiian adventure soars above the clouds for hotel, landmark spotting

Honolulu's distinctive skyline is even more impressive when viewed from a helicopter.


Dole Plantation's pineapple fields make striking patterns from the air.


SOARING HIGH above the Pacific, Bruce Keller leaned over to me in our ringside seats. "We're flying with the birds," he whispered, emotion in his voice.  It's true. Blue Hawaiian Helicopters delivers a thrilling experience, the closest we'll ever come to flying.  Because we're much closer to the ground than in an airplane, we see pineapple fields, the motion of the waves hitting the beach, gorgeous high-rise hotels -- including ours in Hilton's Hawaiian Village and Alana DoubleTree. Lush waterfalls sparkle in the sunlight, almost touchable.
HAWAII is meant to be seen from many vantage points.  The beach is an essential; a mountain hike is a must.  Snorkeling or scuba, definitely. But flying with professionals
Blue Hawaiian Helicopters delivers fine views.

high above the land, gazing down to admire the hotels, jungles and waterfalls that make Hawaii famous, is a treat for at least once in a lifetime.
As the 'copter blades rev up, "Keller and Cookie"
prepare to board Blue Hawaiian.
For decades, Hollywood studios have hired Blue Hawaiian to make their films on the islands.  "Pirates of the Caribbean" is one of the most famous films shot on Oahu, followed by a trio of  "Jurassic Park" blockbusters,  several films about Pearl Harbor, "George of the Jungle," "Flight of the Intruder," "Crimson Tide" and many more.
So we boarded one of Blue Hawaiian's handsome T2Eco-Stars, with seven seats, including the pilot's.  The comfy, quiet ride offered an hour of blissful fascination as our expert pilot-guide pointed out movie locations, famous mountains and valleys, the stunning familiar curves of Diamond Head and the Pearl Harbor Arizona Memorial, Honolulu's two most famous landmarks. He circled the beautifully designed and historic Hilton Hawaiian Village, where we were staying for a pampering week. We also admired another hidden gem, Hilton Alana DoubleTree, where we had a splendid ocean view from our lanai and tasty ahi at the cordial eatery.
WHAT FUN to admire our hotels from on high, to breathe in the beauty of the verdant rainforests below, imagining village life as the Polynesians swam in the rivers, harvested crops, relaxed in  
Beautiful Hilton properties inhabit a prime corner
of the beach with historic Hawaiian Village Resort.
Nearby is a hidden gem, Hilton's DoubleTree Alana.
"Pirates of the Caribbean" was shot in the lush forests of Oahu.
Diamond Head looms spectacularly from the helicopter. 
cascading waterfalls. We loved seeing the white-sand and black-sand beaches from the air, as we swept over the turquoise blue Pacific then up to the craters of Hawaii's volcanic badlands.
The helicopter is a great way to compare the differences of the islands.
OUR PILOT pointed out historic landings, explaining that daring and adventuresome Tahitians settled on Oahu in 500 AD. Then in 1795,  Kamehameha I, king of the island of  Hawaii, conquered Oahu and united the Hawaiian Islands. In 1845 the capital was moved from Lahaina, on Maui, to Honolulu, on Oahu. Elvis Presley loved Hawaii, too, and stayed in Hilton Hawaiian Village's elegant Ali'i Tower, during the filming of his hit movie, "Blue Hawaii."  Ali'i Tower remains a pampering, popular high-end get-away which I've enjoyed.
WE DELIGHTED in  a  bird's eye view of Iolani Palace, the United State's only royal palace, with its revered history.  Across the street is Hawaii's judicial system, with a building made famous in episodes of "Hawaii Five-O." (More on that soon.) It was fun to watch the pilot at his controls, as we lifted off and arose, soaring over one of the country's most beautiful states.
Fun watching the pilot at his command station. 

WITH SEVEN of us in the vehicle, he skillfully circled at important sightings, making sure everyone had a chance to see everything.
Our favorite sights were our Hilton properties, the gorgeous pineapple fields, and the cone-shaped outcroppings of lava off Kualoa Point.  Ka'a'awa Valley was beautiful, too, where many fun movies were shot, including the mentioned "Pirates of the Caribbean." The North Shore with its famous surfing beaches delighted my aging but agile partner.
HAVING BEEN to Pearl Harbor the day before, it was thrilling seeing the Arizona memorial. The showy orange and yellow "Magnum" helicopters also caught our eye,  lifting off near us. That's for next time! This time, we opted for Blue Hawaiian, and were thrilled. Our ride was smooth, flawless, breathtaking.  Only one criticism:  it was too short.
The beautiful but fast disappearing blooms of a poppy adorn 
the hillsides of High Chaparral, in south-central Montana.

UP NEXT: Flower power.  We're soaking up an inordinate amount of summer moisture, and with that come beautiful blooms, in fact, a real gardener's bonanza. We'll share some of the photos from the past two weeks of floral abundance, and a few favorite lines of poetry about gardening -- from Hawaii's tropics to Down Under and the far north of Scandinavia. Do remember to explore, learn and live, while you catch us each Friday for a novel look at the arts, travel, nature, family and much more, always with wit, fresh insights, warmth and humor.


  1. Exciting ride for you guys. Hope to make it ourselves when we visit next March. Will do one in Kauai also. Nice story and photos.

  2. Arizona AdventurersJune 22, 2019 at 6:39 AM

    Always a treat to see what you're up to! We love Hawaii, too.

  3. Delightful ride!

  4. Oregon Ocean LoversJune 23, 2019 at 9:33 AM

    We took the Blue Hawaiian Kauai flight and it, too, was magical.

  5. Fun to fly high with you two enthusiastic travelers.

  6. Rome is pretty and historically fascinating, but nothing compares to nature's amazements.