8 of the world’s finest air tours

When we’re on holiday, we tend to allow ourselves one big splurge. It could be our choice of accommodation, a meal at the best restaurant in the country, or an experience of some sort. Our travel editor, David McGonigal suggests this should be taking a sightseeing option by air. Here are eight of his must-see flightseeing air tours.

1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Flying over the Great Barrier Reef is always a remarkable experience and it gives a clear view of why the area is so special. But for an extra thrill consider a flight over Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island. You take off from the beach that serves as a highway and a registered airport. 


2. Mount Everest, Nepal
The ultimate mountain flightseeing is with one of several Nepalese airlines that takes you around Mount Everest. The hour-long flight isn’t cheap and the aircraft is quite large but the view of the Himalayas is superb. 

mount-everest-retirement (1)

3. The Kimberley, Australia
In the Kimberley stands one of the most world’s most spectacular geological features: Purnululu or the Bungle Bungle Range. That the area only came to public attention in the 1980s adds to its mystique. These red and black horizontally-striped beehive mountains are best seen from the air – ideally a helicopter – especially along Piccaninny Gorge. 


4. The Grand Canyon, USA 
Even after all the hype, the Grand Canyon is very impressive in its extent and grandeur. With American efficiency there’s no shortage of options to fly over it. While it’s cheaper and worthwhile to take a fixed wing flight, the ultimate is to take a helicopter flight that makes the sudden opening of the abyss below you even more gut wrenching. 


5. The Serengeti, Tanzania
Hot air ballooning over an African game park gives you a wonderfully different perspective on the rich variety of life below. You have to start at a very early time of the morning but seeing the first light of day across the plains makes it all worthwhile. 


Image source: Across Tanzinia Expeditions

6. Greenland 
If you happen to find yourself in Greenland, you should take to opportunity to make a flight up the illulissat or Jacobshavn Ice Fiord. This is one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world – with an extensive valley filled with ice below it. It’s retreating rapidly and is often used as an example of the effects of global warming. It’s both beautiful and alarming to fly to a vantage point overlooking the Greenland Ice Cap and to see how far the glacier has retreated. 


7. Sydney Harbour, Australia
Close to home, a flight over Sydney Harbour on a sunny day quickly reveals why it’s regarded as one of a handful of the most spectacular city settings in the world. There are seaplanes operating out of Rose Bay but a helicopter flight along the harbour is very special indeed. 


8. Albuquerque, USA
What’s the collective term for a sky full of balloons? It’s worth seeking out the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta each October. This is the world’s largest ballooning event and the panorama of up to 600 regular balloons and fantastic special shapes is incredible. You can take a balloon flight with Rainbow Dryers.


Image source: Balloon Fiesta

Where to from here is up to you!.

Have you done any of these air tours? What places do you think should be added to the list?