Adventure Hawaii

Taking Wings Over Kauai: A Scenic Flight on Kauai

Over Waimea Canyon, also known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", with Waipoo Falls in the distant

Note: The author was a guest of Wings Over Kauai. I’m not sure if pets allowed on the flights, but you could ask!

Kauai, the northernmost of the Hawaiian islands, is also known as the “Garden Isle”, due to its lush green beauty. However, it would be just as appropriate to call it the “Rainy Isle”. (Well, how else does it stay so green?) It wasn’t just bad luck that it regularly rained on Kauai during my visit. Its second highest peak, Mt Wai’ale’ale (aptly translated as “overflowing water”), is one of the rainiest places in the world. It averages rainfall of more than 452 inches per year. Yes, that’s an average of 1.24 inches every day of the year!

The downside of all of this rain is that it makes it hard to see many of the amazing natural landscapes of Kauai. While I easily viewed the colourful chasms of Waimea Canyon from the side of the road, I only managed to catch glimpses of the sheer cliffs of the Napali Coast. Due to the rugged nature of the landscape, it’s best accessed by hiking. But the constant rain and the mud-covered legs of hikers returning along the Napali Coast Track deterred me from walking further than the first half mile. And the morning that my husband and I drove to the Kalalau Lookout in Kokee State Park, the valley and beach below was completely obscured by a white-out.

Fortunately then, it’s much easier to see these beautiful landscapes from the air. My scenic flight with Wings Over Kauai was the highlight of my visit to the island. We managed to see all of this and more, including the dozens of waterfalls dotted all over the island and completely inaccessible by road or foot, such as the”Jurassic Park Waterfall”, made famous by the movie. Not only that, it’s a very comfortable 65 minute flight in an 8-seater G8 AirVan, complete with an esky of refreshments. (Although our group forgot to touch it, so entranced were we by the views below.)

Departing from Lihue Airport, Wings Over Kauai operates multiple flights per day. The flight are in both the AirVan plus smaller Cessna planes, which only have room for 2 passengers. Not that it’s not an intimate affair in the AirVan. Generally only 4 passengers fly on each flight (unless you have a larger group), so that everyone sits on the best side as the plane flies roughly clockwise around the island. Along the way your pilot (Captain Marcus on our flight) keeps up a running commentary, with traditional Hawaiian music in the background.

Most of the other scenic flights in Hawaii are in helicopters. So you’re probably wondering, what’s the difference? Compared to a helicopter, the flight is a lot more comfortable. The most noticeable difference is that it’s a lot quieter than a helicopter – those things can get loud! The other big factor is cost. These flights will set you back about half the price of a helicopter tour, making it a far more affordable treat!

If you’re still undecided, then check out some of the many photos that I took on my flight below. You can also purchase a DVD or downloadable version of the video of your actual flight, sliced together from the different video cameras. (We got the downloadable HD version for $50 USD, the most popular option.)

Scenic flights with Wings Over Kauai are just $125 USD + 4% taxes & fees per person in the AirVan or $270 USD per couple in the Cessna, if you book online. Children up to 3 years of age fly free.

Note: The author was a guest of Wings Over Kauai.

Ready to board our plane with Wings Over Kauai

Ready to board our plane!

Heading south from Lihue along the coast is the Haupu Range

Heading south from Lihue along the coast is the Haupu Range

Starting to fly over Waimea Canyon, on the very dry south-west corner of the island

Starting to fly over Waimea Canyon, on the very dry south-west corner of the island

Over Waimea Canyon, also known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific", with Waipoo Falls in the distant

Over Waimea Canyon, also known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, with Waipoo Falls in the distant

The Napali Coast

The Napali Coast – check out the folds on the mountain sides!

The Napali Coast, such a rugged piece of coastline

The Napali Coast, such a rugged piece of coastline

Lush fields on Kauai

Heading back to the airport over the lush fields of the east of Kauai. Spot Wailua Falls in the centre of the photo!

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Taking Wings Over Kauai

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Ellen Coulombe
    April 8, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Wow your photos are really good! We are so glad you got to fly with us and we really do appreciate your kind words, makes all the difference to this small business. Mahalo nui loa, Ellen, Wings Over Kauai.

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      April 8, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks so much again Ellen for the amazing flight!

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