It’s that moment when you are standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, and it’s not a dream.
When the limousine arrived, it was long and black with an interior to match. As the only occupant, I felt like a dateless girl on the way to her senior prom, but the black puff jacket was definitely wrong.
Thankfully the destination was Sundance Helicopter’s stylish pre-flight lounge for a sunset flight from Las Vegas over the Grand Canyon.
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Flying over the desert
The six-seater helicopter took off smoothly towards a modern marvel of engineering, the 221 kilometre high and 3791 kilometre long Hoover Dam.
Soon we are flying over the haunting colours and undulations of the Mojave Desert. Although it appears harsh and barren from the air, look closer, and you’ll see mountains, valleys, springs, forests and wetlands that shelter abundant wildlife.
Next are the shimmery, blue waters of Lake Mead ringed by a fascinating sandstone shoreline. Formed by the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead is also home to thousands of desert plants and animals, which have adapted to survive where rain is scarce, and temperatures can soar.
The Grand Canyon
The winding Colorado River leads into the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The immensity of the canyon with its colour and striations is quite overwhelming.
The canyon overwhelms your senses through its size and unique combinations of geologic colour and rock formations. It runs is 446 km long, is up to 29 km wide, and 1,857 metres deep.
Sundance Helicopters have a relationship with the Hualapai Tribe, which enables the helicopters to land in the canyon around 975 metres below the rim. We clambered out to explore and wonder at the landscape from the ground. A glass of bubbly and a personal picnic basket were all part of the celebration.
The finale is a blockbuster. The Las Vegas Strip in its shimmering glory. Past the Stratosphere Tower, Caesars Palace and the Bellagio’s fountains before spotting the beam on top of the Luxor pyramid.
Where is the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, United States.
Sundance Helicopters operate their VIP helicopter tour service from Las Vegas. The Grand Canyon Picnic Tour takes about three and a half hours, but allow extra time for pick up and drop off.
When visiting Las Vegas, I stayed at The LINQ Hotel & Casino which is centrally located on the Strip with the High Roller, the world’s largest observation wheel, at the rear. There were plenty of dining opportunities close by including Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips, a simple takeway or eat in joint, and my favourite, Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM. With 24 hour access to cupcakes, how can a girl go wrong?
Find out more about Las Vegas at Visit Las Vegas.
Expect to pay from $395 US for the Grand Canyon Picnic Tour.
There are no toilets at the Grand Canyon so make sure you go before you go!
Eat drink and be Kerry flew from Sydney to Los Angeles very comfortably on United Airlines Polaris Class.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled as a guest of Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Sundance Helicopters.