Frictions off. Controls check. Throttle check. Rotor brake disengaged. Circuit breakers all in. Avionics off. Altimeter set. Hydraulics on. Master switch on. Area clear. Starter engaged.
The engine roars into life and we are now in business!! The helicopter is alive, but this isn’t just any old Cairns helicopter flight. This is the ultimate Cairns experience – a Coral Cay Bubbles flight which includes a stop-off on the beautiful Vlassof Cay.
Lifting off from Cairns Airport, we climb to 500 feet over the mangroves as our Cairns helicopter ride gets underway. Air Traffic Control like to keep us nice and low so we don’t interfere with the larger jets. That’s fine by us as it makes for great crocodile spotting opportunities as we cross the beaches and head out towards Green Island.
Within minutes, we are there. From this vantage point - the ultimate "birds eye view", you can see way past Fitzroy Island, all the way down to the Frankland Islands. To the north, Port Douglas peeks out against the sprawling coastline that is home to Cape Tribulation.
The beautiful middle of nowhere.
After an orbit or two at Green Island, we head across the stunning Arlington Reef and on to our destination – Vlassof Cay. It’s a low tide which is perfect as this is when this glorious sand cay is at its best. The approach to the sand cay is a Cairns helicopter tour like none other. From 60 knots and 500 feet, we glide down an imaginary wire, slowing, descending, slowing, descending….until we reach the bottom – a five foot hover over pure tropical ‘serenity’. A gentle landing in welcoming golden sand follows.
The Cairns helicopter is shut down and the passengers are welcomed onto the cay. This is usually where they are at their quietest - completely wonderstruck! It’s not surprising after all. This is a time for pure and simple appreciation of mother nature, though at Zoom we try to enhance the moment through the eternal satisfaction of a glass of prosecco! For the next 30 minutes, this slice of paradise is home. A time to explore, relax and unwind.
Back in the helicopter now and the engine is fired into life once more. Lift-off from the sand cay is immediately followed by a gentle climb over the water (watch out for turtles) as we make our way back up to 500 feet.
Before we depart the area, we circumnavigate Vlassof Cay – the impression in the sand of the helicopter skid gear being the only evidence we were ever there.
And now home. The ride back provides a grandstand view of Cairns and the surrounding hinterland. As we get closer to the airport, there is a Qantas jet about to land. Air Traffic Control clear us to “pass behind the landing jet”. Watching a large passenger airplane land from 500 feet above it is a ‘must do’ experience never to be forgotten!!
Seconds later, it is our turn and we slide into the Cairns helicopter precinct and onto our landing pad.
If this isn’t the best thing to do in our amazing region, then I don’t know what is!