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Great Barrier Reef Air & helicopter tours

Our most recommended Great Barrier Reef Air & helicopter tours

From Airlie Beach: 60-Minute Whitsundays Scenic Flight

1. From Airlie Beach: 60-Minute Whitsundays Scenic Flight

Delight in a 60-minute scenic flight over the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy the big window views from your comfortable fixed-wing aircraft, and learn all about the area with your experienced pilot's expert commentary. After pickup from your accommodation in Airlie Beach, head to the nearby airport for take-off. Unlike flights offered by other companies in the area, the local partner is able to take-off from much closer to Airlie Beach, saving you the long 40-minute travel time. Once up in the air, marvel at the best bird's-eye views of the 74 Whitsunday Islands. Fly over Whitehaven Beach and picture postcard Hill Inlet before heading out to the Great Barrier Reef and experiencing one of the most photographed reef locations Heart Reef. After you land, transfer back to your accommodation in Airlie Beach.

Cairns: Outer Edges of The Great Barrier Reef Scenic Flight

2. Cairns: Outer Edges of The Great Barrier Reef Scenic Flight

Take in the full spectacle of the Great Barrier Reef from the sky during a scenic flight from Cairns. Onboard a fixed-wing plane, see up to 140 kilometers of the Outer Barrier as well as many inner islands, reefs, and sand isles. Within 10 minutes of departing Cairns, the real adventure begins, as you get wonderful photo opportunities over Green Island, Oyster Reef, Vlasoff Cay, Upolo Reef, Pixie Reef, and Arlington Reef. Sit back in air-conditioned comfort as you glide through the sky. Take in the spectacular hues of green and blue from your window seat while listening to the pilot's informative commentary about the sights below. Get a chance to spot marine life with manta rays, green turtles, dugongs, sharks, and, if in season, whales, in clear view from the aircraft. Once your journey comes to an end, fly right back to Cairns.

Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise & Scenic Helicopter Flight

3. Cairns: Great Barrier Reef Cruise & Scenic Helicopter Flight

Join this fast, comfortable cruise to visit two spectacular Outer Great Barrier Reef destinations. Travel on 'Evolution'- a brand new, purpose-built, state of the art, 35-meter (120ft) superyacht, providing a superior ride in all weather conditions. Visit exclusive, protected locations on the pristine Outer Great Barrier Reef with superior reef quality. Professional, friendly and attentive staff ensure a safe and enjoyable fun-filled experience. This vessel is the most stylish and luxurious reef vessel available in Cairns. Depart the marina and travel to the true outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey. Choose from an abundance of seating inside air-conditioned, modern lounges or outside on full-length sundecks for sunbathing. Spend time snorkeling and spotting diverse marine wildlife, coral gardens, and much more below the surface. For lunch, enjoy a delicious Aussie BBQ including steak, fish, prawns, and tropical salads (vegetarians are catered for.) At the second reef site, take to the skies for your 10-minute Scenic Helicopter Flight to and from the exclusive Heli-Pontoon. Have your camera ready as you lift off from the helipad for an incredible scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef. Appreciate from the air, the sheer size of the reef system as you search for marine life in their natural habitat. Be amazed at the colours and beauty of the coral gardens before touching back down to re-join the crew onboard the vessel. A complimentary glass of wine and a light snack is served on the return journey back to Cairns.

Airlie Beach: 1-Hour Whitsunday Reef & Island Scenic Flight

4. Airlie Beach: 1-Hour Whitsunday Reef & Island Scenic Flight

Board a modern airplane for a scenic flight to remember above the Whitsunday Islands. Benefit from a modern aircraft, in-flight commentary, and return transportation from Airlie Beach. Take a 60-minute scenic flight with guaranteed window seating and in-flight pilot commentary, and enjoy aerial views of the 74 Whitsunday Islands off the north coast of Queensland. Fly above the islands for stunning views of all the landmarks, such as Shute Harbour, Molle Islands, Long Island, Dent Island, Hamilton Island, Daydream Island, Hill Inlet, and make 2 passes over Whitehaven Beach. Experience the dramatic natural aquarium of the Great Barrier Reef from a different perspective. Fly over the famous Heart Reef, nestled amongst the bright colors and patterns of Hardy Reef. Return to the mainland and land at Proserpine Airport, where a complimentary shuttle bus transfer can take you back to Airlie Beach.

From Cairns: 40-Min Scenic Reef Window Seat Airplane Flight

5. From Cairns: 40-Min Scenic Reef Window Seat Airplane Flight

Experience bird's eye views of the Great Barrier Reef aboard a high-wing airplane with guaranteed window seats on a 40-minute scenic flight from Cairns Airport. Make your way to the Cairns Airport to climb aboard the panoramic flight. Then, experience the ultimate views of the reef system and surrounding landscape, including Green Island, Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Discover for yourself why the reef is considered one of the "7 Natural Wonders of the World. "Marvel at the contrast of colors as you fly over the Coral Sea and look down on some of the 2,900 reefs and 900 islands that make up the reef system. Get an informative commentary from your pilot as you fly over Arlington Reef, Upolu Reef, Michaelmas Reef, Oyster Reef, Double Island and Palm Cove.

Whitsundays: Ocean Rafting Tour with Snorkel & Scenic Flight

6. Whitsundays: Ocean Rafting Tour with Snorkel & Scenic Flight

Experience the best of the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef in one day: from the water and the air. Visit the Whitsundays’ most iconic destinations. These include the famous Heart Reef, Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet, and secret, exclusive snorkeling locations. Ride, beach, snorkel, and bush walk, all in one day. Visit both ends of the world-famous beach. Departing from Airlie Beach, take to the skies and experience a once-in-a-lifetime, 60-minute scenic flight. Soar over the islands and Great Barrier Reef, including famous Heart Reef and Whitehaven Beach. Guests will have a bird’s eye view of many of the 74 Whitsunday Islands, flying over Whitehaven Beach and picture postcard Hill Inlet before heading out to the Great Barrier Reef and experiencing one of the most photographed reef locations, Heart Reef. The comfortable fixed-wing aircraft offers big window viewing, pilot commentary, and the best views of the Whitsundays. Then, take off on the ride of your life in the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. Departing from Airlie Beach, climb aboard the fastest day boat in the Whitsundays. This means it is not only an adventurous ride, but distances are covered in a shorter time, leaving more time for activities. The semi-rigid inflatable vessels are super fast allowing guests to experience a fun ride, adventure and education amongst the natural beauty of the Whitsundays. At the northern end of Whitehaven Beach, enjoy a guided bushwalk to spectacular Hill Inlet Lookout to view and capture photographs of the stunning swirling silica sands and aqua water. This operator is the only tour to have direct access to all areas of the stunning and iconic Hill Inlet beach to ensure you enjoy the most memorable experience of this special place. If you have selected the 'North Whitehaven' option: This eco-adventure is a favourite amongst avid snorkellers because it is the only Whitsunday adventure which includes two different snorkel destinations. Not only that, but it includes a visit to the stunning beach at Hill Inlet, north end of Whitehaven Beach, and a guided National Park walk to the lookout above the silica sand of Whitehaven. Guests explore the restricted area of beautiful Hill Inlet at Whitehaven Beach.  If you have selected the South Whitehaven Option: This tour visits both the northern and southern ends of Whitehaven Beach with more beach time. Enjoy at least two hours relaxing on the world famous white silica sand, a guided walk to Hill Inlet Lookout and experience the Southern Whitehaven Lookout, enjoying breathtaking views of Pentecost Island and the tropical waters of the Whitsundays. Snorkel for over an hour at Border Island, Dumbell Island or one of the “secret” snorkel spots, enjoying the amazing hard and soft corals of the fringing reefs.

Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach Seaplane Tour

7. Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach Seaplane Tour

Discover the natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach with this seaplane tour from Airlie Beach. Enjoy a stop to explore this World Heritage-listed location and savor a freshly-prepared lunch. Your experience starts with pickup from selected locations. Board the seaplane and soar over the Whitsunday Islands, admiring aerial views of Heart Reef, Hill Inlet, and more. Listen to the in-flight commentary as you cruise towards Whitehaven Beach. Land at a private location in Hardy Lagoon. Relax on the beach, go snorkeling, or paddle across the calm waters on a stand-up paddleboard. Enjoy coral viewing in a semi-submersible vessel, with an underwater viewing chamber, sun and shade deck areas, and easy access to the water. Swim in the refreshing waters and explore the coral gardens teeming with marine life. During the stop, you’ll enjoy lunch served on the beach. At the end of the trip, board the seaplane back to Airlie Beach, where you’ll be dropped off back at your hotel.

Green Island Fly & Cruise Package

8. Green Island Fly & Cruise Package

Experience the best of both worlds with this Fly and Cruise package. GSL Aviation have partnered with Big Cat Green Island to offer an amazing full-day experience. Start your day with a birds-eye view of Cairns, Green Island, and the Great Barrier Reef. Soar overhead with GSL Aviation aboard a high-wing aircraft, with guaranteed window seats for everyone on-board. The 40 minute ‘Reef Hopper’ flight departs Cairns Airport and gives you an appreciation of the region that you can only get from the air. Following the flight and your complimentary bus transfer, you’ll find yourself at the Cairns Reef Terminal ready to depart on a full day adventure cruise to Green Island with Big Cat on board Reef Rocket. Your full day cruise includes everything you need for the day, with a range of extras and activities available for no extra charge. Included in your cruise is a buffet lunch, and glass bottom boat coral viewing tour or snorkel equipment hire. On top of your tour inclusions are other activities on Green Island such as self-guided walks and fish feeding. After your entertaining afternoon, cruise back to the Cairns Reef Terminal where your tour concludes. *Please note that a return transfer is extra and can be booked with Big Cat on your day of travel if required.

Great Barrier Reef Helicopter Tour with Whitehaven Landing

9. Great Barrier Reef Helicopter Tour with Whitehaven Landing

When you see it from the air it’s easy to understand why the Great Barrier Reef is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. The amazing array of colors is something that’s best experienced on a helicopter tour. This 2.5-hour program begins with a scenic helicopter flight, taking you to the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. You’ll also have fantastic views of the Whitsunday Islands and Whitehaven Beach. In addition to seeing it all from above, you’ll land at Whitehaven Beach, where you’ll have 90 minutes to explore Australia's finest beach at your leisure. Sights you’ll see during the tour include Shute Harbour, Hamilton Island, Hill Inlet, Whitehaven Beach, Heart Reef, Hook Reef, Hayman Island, Hook Island and Daydream Island.

Airlie Beach: Great Barrier Reef & Islands Helicopter Flight

10. Airlie Beach: Great Barrier Reef & Islands Helicopter Flight

Get unforgettable views of the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands with a modern helicopter ride. Take a 1-hour scenic flight with guaranteed window seating and in-flight pilot commentary. Enjoy aerial views of the 74 Whitsunday Islands off the north coast of Queensland. Fly above the islands for stunning views of landmarks such as Shute Harbour, Molle Islands, Long Island, Dent Island, Hamilton Island, Daydream Island, Hill Inlet, and Hardy Reef. Gain not 1m but 2 passes over Whitehaven Beach, and a bird's-eye view of the famous Heart Reef, nestled amongst the coral reef's bright colors. Then, return to the mainland and land at Whitsunday Airport, where a complimentary shuttle bus transfer can take you back to your hotel or other location in Airlie Beach.

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Frequently asked questions about Great Barrier Reef

What top attractions are a must-see in Great Barrier Reef?

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Other Sightseeing Options in Great Barrier Reef

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What people are saying about Great Barrier Reef

It was an astonishing and unforgetable experience. Colours of the reef from above were really captivating. Friendly and cool pilot told interesting and funny stories about corals, islands and ocean during the flight. I would definitely recommend this activity.

Wow! Wow! Wow! Awesome from meeting, taking off, the views, the pilots, the weather and best of all was the seamless landing…. Thanks and will do again when come back

Well organized, friendly stuff, enough food and good food, really nice tour, we can highly recommend it

Great day out, Callum the skippy and bus driver were all very helpful!

highly recommend, our guide Health and Taylor made it so much fun