There is no better way to experience the Big Island than from a thousand feet in the sky. With the wind in your hair, you gaze on nature’s wonders laid out before you. Imagine bubbling lakes of lava, cascading waterfalls, dense rainforest, and rugged, alien cliffs beheld all from a safe, birds-eye view. Hawaii’s Big island offers a myriad of stunning sights that can all be experienced from the ease and security of a helicopter tour. The most breathtaking sights include Kilauea volcano, the dense Puna Rainforest, the waterfalls of North Hilo, Kohala volcano, and the massive Mauna Loa.
Read on to learn more about these top 5 must-see sites during volcano tours on the Big Island!
Kilauea is one of Hawaii’s most famous active volcanoes, and has be spewing lava since 1983. Located on the southern portion of the Big Island, one of Hawai’i’s youngest volcanoes is surrounded by lush greenery that gives way to barren volcanic rock. As a shield volcano, Kilauea has gradual slopes that terminate in a large caldera best seen from the air. Your pilot will bring you in close enough to see lava flows and volcanic gasses escaping the depths. The most recent large-scale eruption of May 2018 has largely reshaped the area surrounding Kilauea.
Puna Tropical Rainforests
The Puna Tropical Rainforests are some of Hawai’i’s last lowland rainforests, and the locals believe the fire goddess Pele lives beneath the forest in a dense magma pocket. This rainforest covers more than 27,000 acres. It is home to thousands of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. Numerous invasive species have threatened the local ecology, and the forest is fast disappearing. Soaring over the verdant treetops will give you a unique perspective on this vanishing ecosystem.
Rainbow Falls, Akaka Falls, Pe’epe’e Falls, and Umauma Falls
What is more iconic to Hawaii than cascading waterfalls floating off a forested ridge? Near North Hilo on the Big Island, you can find many beautiful waterfalls, which are magnificent when viewed up close from the air. Rainbow falls, Akaka falls, Pe’epe’e falls, and Umauma falls are all in close proximity to each other, flowing off Mauna Kea’s northern slopes. Akaka falls is particularly breathtaking on its 422 foot plunge into the sheltered pool below.
Kohala is the oldest of the Big Island’s volcanoes, but age has only added to its beauty. Tens of thousands of years of erosion have cut deeps crevasses into the volcano which are near impossible to explore on foot. A helicopter tour is the only way to safely explore these mysterious formations and offers views of regions few people have ever visited.
Mauna Loa Volcano
What trip would be complete without a visit to Mauna Loa, one of the largest volcanoes on the planet. In fact, Mauna Loa covers most of the Big Island. A trip to the summit is a breathtaking glimpse into the geology that has shaped the island chain.
These five destinations will show you the best natural beauty Hawaii has to offer. Some are accessible on foot, but the best view of these wonders is from the safety and luxury of a helicopter tour. Check out Tropical Helicopter’s Doors Off Lava Helicopter Tour to discover the volcanoes and rainforests of the Big Island for yourself!