There's no better way to see the Gold Coast than from the sky, and after some three decades of experience in the helicopter business, there's no one better to see it with than the friendly folks at Gold Coast Helitours. Even if you got a sneak peak of the region from a window seat on arrival at the airport or have already invested some time staring at aerial photos on the internet, we can say from personal experience that nothing compares to the feeling of lifting off from their floating helipad and taking it all in up close and personal with your own eyes.
Before embarking on a trip, passengers must go through a few safety procedures including taking your official weight (if you've been lying to your partner about this, then don't say we didn't warn you) and watching a cheeky safety video, which not only walks you through all the procedures and rules but also serves are pre-flight comedic entertainment to calm the nerves of any anxious passengers having second thoughts. However, rest assured that safety is serious business here, and Helitours has a 100% safety record throughout all their years of operation.
Scenic flights range from five to 45 minutes, with detailed descriptions and flight paths available on the official website and in printed brochures. We've only taken the 15-minute option, which actually felt much longer than that, but also too short at the same time. One thing that shutterbugs might want to note, if you spend the whole flight taking photos and video (like we did) you'll get some amazing shots to share on social media and make all of your friends, family, co-workers and internet stalkers jealous, but you also might regret not just leaving the camera in your pocket and appreciating the experience the old fashioned way.
In addition to scenic flights, they also provide a range of other services, such as charters, secluded picnic trips, skydiving and wedding proposals written in five metre letters in the sand, which like their safety record we've been told has had a 100% success rate over the years (although follow up data is admittedly scarce, so don't take that as a guarantee that he or she will say 'yes').
They operate out of Marina Mirage, which also conveniently gives you plenty of convenient dining and drinking options pre- or post-flight – we've found that a cold pint of beer can be helpful in finding just the right words for your social media posts. Advanced bookings are highly recommended, but if taking a flight strikes your fancy spontaneously one day, walk-ins are accommodated if scheduling allows it.