Oh, the sights you'll see with AEROlogistics Helicopters
These magic helicopter tours shouldn't be on your bucket list. They should be on your 'let's do it this weekend' list.See our handpicked guides to the HunterValley
BY KACEY JOHNSTON
Like most of us, chances are you’ve taken to the skies many times in your life, sometimes for business and other times to holiday or visit family and friends, but flying by plane is always a means to an end. Have you ever taken a flight purely for the pleasure of flying? For the simply joy of cruising the skyline and appreciating our unique landscape from up on high? No? Well then, it’s time you booked a Hunter Valley helicopter flight.
Operating out of Cessnock Airport, the pilots at AEROlogistics Helicopters (formerly known as Slattery Helicopters), have been flying passengers across
the Hunter Valley for years. It’s fair to say they know their stuff. In fact, as they proudly advocate, they are the longest established
and most experienced helicopter company in the Hunter Valley.
With all this experience, AEROlogistics have a range of different scenic flights and tours of wine country you can try depending on your budget and sight-seeing preferences. Right now, is a great time to take to the skies too. With the very welcome rains we’ve just had and the onset of budburst, the Hunter Valley is looking green and pristine! And, while you’re not allowed a selfie-stick (for safety reasons) to capture the Hunter’s beautiful vistas, there’s plenty of photo opportunities to be had from your guaranteed window seat.
Food & Wine Tours
This is hands down the most amazing way to wine and dine in the valley. There’s close to a dozen different tour options to choose from, each as lovely as the next. The only trouble will be deciding which one to book first! Here’s our pics.
Cellar Door & Lunch Tour
You’ll be feeling like a celebrity alright with AEROlogistics most exclusive and popular helicopter tour. Taking off from the airport, you’ll fly over a patchwork of green – vineyards, olive groves and paddocks before landing at a cellar door for your private wine tasting. Back on board, you’ll experience some more breathtaking scenery on your way to a three-course lunch (including wine). Choose to be surprised, or take your pick from a list of premium cellar doors to visit. You can also pick your lunch venue from a selection of the Hunter’s best.
Duration: 4 hours
Cost: From $355 per person (min 2 people)
Beaches, Bubbles & Brekky Tour
There’s nothing quite like seeing the beach and Hunter Valley at sunrise. Heading out over vineyards and farmlands, this tour will fly you over Newcastle’s gorgeous coastline, taking in some of the most famous and loveliest sights – ANZAC Memorial Walk, Bar Beach and Redhead. You’ll then journey back inland for a delicious breakfast and Sparkling Wine on the verandah at Restaurant Cuvee, Peterson House. The best start to the day ever!
Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: From $450 per person (min 2 people)
Choppers & Tapas Tour
Who doesn’t love a long lunch. If you’re up for a different culinary experience, this tour could be the one for you. Choppers & Tapas will take you on a scenic flight of the Pokolbin or Lovedale wine growing areas on the way to either The Verandah or Tatler restaurant, where you’ll enjoy a seven-course tapas lunch and bottle of wine.
Duration: 2.5 hours
Cost: From $330 per person (min 2 people)
Beer & Wine Tour
One for the beer lovers, AEROlogistics Beer & Wine Tour will take you on a lovely ride over the valley en-route to Ironbark Hill Brewhouse/Peter Drayton Wines and Potter’s Brewery. Taste some of the Hunter’s best craft beers (or wine if you prefer) before enjoying an authentic pub lunch. Cheers.
Duration: 3 hours
Cost: From $350 per person (min 2 people)
Take your pick of six scenic flights, ranging in duration from 10 to 90 minutes across vineyards, mountains, country, city and coast. Here’s some of the most popular.
Along the Ridge
Great for first-timers, the Along the Ridge flight takes in the picturesque Pokolbin and Mount View wine regions as well as a flight ‘along the ridge’ of the gorgeous and immense Broken Back Range. Wine region commentary and photo opportunities included.
Duration: 15 mins
Cost: $135 per person (min 2 people)
Vines & Mines
If you want to see a bit of wine country and get a sneak peek at what goes on in the local coal mines, this one’s for you. The Vines & Mines flight takes you over the Pokolbin and Broke wine regions then out to the Mount Thorley Warkworth open-cut coal mines. You’ll see the colourful Hunter Valley Gardens and get some great views of the Pokolbin State Forest too.
Duration: 30 mins
Cost: $275 per person (min 2 people)
Country & City
The ultimate scenic flight, this trip will see you flying high over the Watagan State forest and Lake Macquarie, then tracing down the gorgeous central coastline towards the mouth of the Hawksbury River and onwards to the iconic Sydney Harbour via the very pretty Long Reef. Take in all the sights of the beautiful harbour city including the world heritage listed Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge before your return flight back up to the Hunter.
Duration: 90 mins
Cost: $795 per person (min 2 people)