As BrokeLemons, Yen and I have focused most of our energy trying to stretch the almighty dollar dollar bill. Since we’ve been in NZ, we’ve found it very useful to stalk the web for sites like GrabOne and Bookme that provide affordable prices for various excursions. Even knowing the right people has had its perks and advantages.
While scouting, Yen found an awesomely cheap deal for a Queenstown chopper ride with Heli Tours Ltd. Unless you’re rolling in Scrooge feathers, a full-priced copter flight could burn a sizable hole in your pocket. Hence, a little searching might be all the difference between getting a voucher to ride in a real helicopter, or flying a toy one. Before you start your looking, I strongly advise that you understand that going cheap isn’t always the best way to go. Especially if you plan on enjoying a helicopter excursion that lasts over 16 minutes.
To be clear, Heli Tours is known for providing outstanding services and tours. All of their customer reviews rave about how amazing and beautiful their flights are, but for some reason, we ended up getting the short end of the stick. Heli Tours owner, operator, and pilot, Paul Mitchell, does everything from scenic, wine, adrenaline adventures, and custom helicopter flights. Still, if you plan on keeping your wallet plump by being cheap like we did, you might just get what you pay for- a gypped watered-down experience, coupled with a lack of touristic integrity.
Perhaps the only explanation is that we caught Mr. Mitchell on a bad day. I, for one, have had those days when I don’t feel very enthusiastic about my job. Therefore, I don’t believe there is much need to elaborate on how things transpired. What I will say is that our helicopter tour was like a night at Taco Bell. We arrived, consumed as much as we could, and it was out before we could even savor the taste on our palates.
Admittedly, the ride in the aggressively agile Hughes 500 was brilliant. It was the closest I’d ever get to riding in Tom Cruise’s bubble ship from Oblivion. The front viewing area in the 500 provided almost a full 180 degree view, both horizontally and vertically. From the outside the craft looked particularly constricting and petite, but once inside it was amazing how spacious it was. Even with all the hardware, the Hughes was fitted with four very comfortable seats. Hands down, it was incredible to be able to absorb all of the surrounding area while hovering just meters above the ground.
If any fellow BrokeLemons ever find themselves in a better or similar position, just remember to take light of the situation and take lots of awesome photos/videos. If by the end your chopper needs still aren’t satisfied, then jump onto GTA V and find a Buzzard (Hughes 500). You’ll find that it comes fitted with a few more perks compared to what flying in real life will offer you.