After skydiving in Dubai and bungee jumping in Canada we wanted to see the world from above that wasn’t in a plane and maybe didn’t include us hurling towards the ground in the sake of an adrenaline rush.
When Tourism Northern Territory invited us to return back to experience Australia’s Red Centre we certainly did not need much convincing when they said there may be a cheeky helicopter ride on our trip. This would be our first ever helicopter ride which meant this is one adventure we were looking forward to a lot!
Helicopter Ride Over Glen Helen
There are quite a few helicopter locations you can opt into doing whilst in Alice Springs but we decided to make a day of it and do a road trip out to Glen Helen Gorge, a road trip we highly suggest you do regardless of a heli tour or not.
We arrived a couple of hours early to the helipad which was no issue at all for the team at Alice Springs Helicopters, they pushed our flight forward which was great and all but it also meant we had no time to adjust ourselves as we quickly jumped on a golf cart and were zooming through the dirt before being buckled into a helicopter.
Noticing my camera, our pilot happily removed the front door to allow me to film and take photographs. Jess jumped behind me (with doors on) so that we would see the same sites on our trip. It was quite a small helicopter with a max of of 3 passengers plus the pilot.
I do believe the front seat is the best seat in the house but at least there’s no middle seat to worry about. If you are a photographer or just wanting to capture some great shots on your tour, have a chat to your travelling partners and see who gets shotgun.
First Time In A Helicopter
I don’t know what I was expecting for our takeoff but it was way smoother and had way less runway than a plane taking off. The propellers begun and before we knew it we were high above the Glen Helen Homestead lodge and heading towards the West MacDonnell Ranges.
It honestly was not the best day to fly, with some strong winds and a few clouds you would think this was a nightmare situation for first time flyers. However, I never felt unsafe in the helicopter and with our noise-cancelling headphones I could easily chat to Jess and the pilot as we explored Australia from above.
I didn’t want our tour to end, I think I am addicted to seeing the world from this perspective. We booked the 18 minute flight and it didn’t feel too quick or too long either. If you are making the trek out here, I just think 6 minutes in the air doesn’t do the tour any justice but any longer than 18 minutes and I feel like it would’ve lost its charm on me.
There is just so much on offer at Glen Helen as we saw the Aboriginal dreamtime story formations of the Caterpillar Dreaming as well as Mount Sounder, Ormiston Gorge and Gosse Bluff which is a 5km diameter comet crater. Some say this is the oldest extra-terrestrial impact site in the world!
After 15 minutes in the air we made our way back with the grand finale of seeing Glen Helen from above. It’s so surreal seeing it from ground level and then less than 30 minutes later having this whole other perspective.
Our trip cost $175pp which I think is the cheapest 18 minute heli-ride that I have ever seen on our travels abroad. One of the main reasons we hadn’t done one before was the price tag that comes along with them. If you have flown into Central Australia I cannot recommend this deal enough.
Where to Book
We opted into doing a road trip to see some of the national parks surrounding Alice Springs. Alice Springs Helicopters are the only tour operators at Glen Helen Gorge with scenic helicopter flights starting from $70pp (which is about 6 minutes in the air) or you can book what we did which is the Ormiston Gorge flight that costs $175pp and went for around 18 minutes.
Have you had a helicopter experience before?
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