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As if Kauai wasn’t beautiful enough on the ground, getting high above the island in a small aircraft really gets your heart pounding. We recently flew with AirVentures Hawaii, a local tour outfitter based at Lihue Airport for an awe-inspiring, 65-minute flight circling the best the Garden Island has to offer.

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If you’ve ever driven from north to south, or east to west, you’ll know that the roads don’t wrap around the entire island; much of the coast is inaccessible by car.

[Time-lapse of our AirVentures adventure above beautiful Kauai]

A flightseeing tour is perfect for coming full circle after visiting Kauai’s highlights. It can also be useful early on in your trip to get acquainted with the island before exploring on land.

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AirVentures’s Big Kahuna Tour seats six passengers with an aisle in between. The advantage of this over helitours is that we each get a window seat on one the company’s state-of-the-art GA-8 Airvans.

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[Waimea Canyon, aka the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”]

These six-seaters are also more eco-friendly as they use only a fraction of the fuel typically used by a helicopter, driving the cost per passenger down to USD $135 (plus tax).

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They fly a bit slower too, so photo and video enthusiasts can get some great stills and footage.

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This tour is also their most popular. Sights include views of the Menehune Fish Pond, the Eucalyptus Tunnel of Trees, Waita Reservoir (Kauai’s largest), Captain Cook’s Landing in Waimea Town, Waimea Canyon, Napali coastline, Lumahai Beach (filming site of South Pacific), Hanalei Valley, cascading waterfalls, Kilauea Lighthouse as well as Kauai’s scenic coastline and beaches.

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Within minutes of take-off, our pilot Eric – with over 7,000 hours of flying experience – takes us up and away from Lihue Airport and along the stunning coast on a cloudless December morning. The entire hour is filled with one captivating moment after the next.

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We’re even treated to a surprise appearance by a large pod of spinner dolphins splashing about in the ocean below.

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As soft Hawaiian music flows out of our headphones, Eric provides information on each region while assuring our safety and comfort as we turn and dip into canyons and ridges.

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Kauai’s gorgeous nature plays a role in numerous Hollywood movies past and present and it’s no surprise to learn that celebrities such as Pierce Brosnan and Graham Nash own homes here (Eric points out their enviable cribs en route).

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With great weather conditions on the day of our tour, we’re also able to get close to the crater formed by the volcano that erupted over five million years ago to create Kauai: stunning mount Wai’ale’ale. Taking in the sheer steepness of this immense crater’s green cliffs is simply unreal!

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We highly recommend this tour for a friendly, informative and fun way to experience Kauai’s wild and natural beauty from high above!

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AirVentures also offers open-cockpit biplane tours (pilot plus two passengers). Imagine channeling your inner Red Baron, complete with retro cloth helmet and googles, no less! They’ve also got a Cessna in their fleet for private luxury tours.


Visit AirVentures online for more info and bookings. Our Big Kahuna flight was courtesy of AirVentures Hawaii. Opinions, as always, are our own.

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