Great Barrier Reef
Air & Helicopter Tours

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended Great Barrier Reef Air & Helicopter Tours

Outer Great Barrier Reef Cruise & Scenic Helicopter Flight

1. Outer Great Barrier Reef Cruise & Scenic Helicopter Flight

Join this fast, comfortable cruise, with five hours spent visiting 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 at 8.00am 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 5 hours snorkelling spotting diverse marine wildlife below, coral gardens and much more. 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. Return to Cairns at 4:30 PM.

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.

Whitsundays: Ocean Rafting Tour with Snorkel & Scenic Flight

3. 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.

Port Douglas: Great Barrier Reef 30-Minute Scenic Flight

4. Port Douglas: Great Barrier Reef 30-Minute Scenic Flight

See the Great Barrier Reef in all its beauty from the air. Take off from Port Douglas and fly over 4 Mile Beach. See other sights, including Snapper Island, Cape Tribulation, and the Daintree Rainforest in the distance. Be treated to a picture-postcard view of Low Isles. Fly low over Batt Reef for opportunities to spot stingrays, manta rays, turtles, sharks, dugongs, dolphins, and even whales.

Cairns: Great Barrier Reef 30-Minute Helicopter Flight

5. Cairns: Great Barrier Reef 30-Minute Helicopter Flight

Enjoy a spectacular view of Cairns city as you take off towards the world's largest coral reef system. Experience the sheer size and beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and gain a true appreciation of one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Sightings of manta rays, turtles and other marine life are not uncommon on the reef scenic flight and if you’re flying in the winter months there is even a chance of spotting whales. However, as the marine life are wild animals, this cannot be guaranteed. Your pilot will speak to you throughout the duration of the flight about the wildlife, view below and the aircraft. After a whole 30 minutes in the air, you will return to Cairns for the end of the tour.

From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef and Rainforest Scenic Flight

6. From Cairns: Great Barrier Reef and Rainforest Scenic Flight

Cairns is a city positioned between two of Tropical North Queensland's greatest treasures - the magnificent Great Barrier Reef and the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics Rainforest. What better way to experience the sheer size and beauty of both in one awe-inspiring flight. After pickup from your accommodation, take to the air in a scenic helicopter flight. Soar over the rainforest canopy of Barron Gorge National Park and Kuranda, then experience the cascading waters of both the Stoney Creek and Barron Gorge waterfalls. As you fly, listen to commentary from experienced and knowledgeable guides. The flight path then takes you over emerald-covered mountains. Pass over spectacular Palm Cove and the northern beaches before making your way out to the awe-inspiring Great Barrier Reef to take in the size and splendor of one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Including views of Green Island and Vlasoff Cay,  the flight concludes with a spectacular view over Cairns city and the surrounding area. There are plenty of photo opportunities throughout the tour.

Great Barrier Reef Helicopter Tour with Whitehaven Landing

7. 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

8. 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.

Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach Seaplane Tour

9. 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

10. 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.

Frequently asked questions about Great Barrier Reef Air & Helicopter Tours

What are other things to do than Air & Helicopter Tours that are worth visiting in Great Barrier Reef?

The other unmissable things to do in Great Barrier Reef are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Great Barrier Reef

Want to discover all there is to do in Great Barrier Reef? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Great Barrier Reef

Great day out on the water. Unfortunately, the weather was windy & raining for the whole day so didn’t get to enjoy the sunshine but didn’t stop the fun. Our guides were experienced and a ball of jokes! You’ll start off on a raft ride to then go check out the lookout first, which on a rainy day you couldn’t see a lot but still beautiful, then head to Whitehaven beach for lunch & a swim/walk whatever you like. We chose the northern trip so we then went to the two snorkel spots and they were awesome!! Lots and lots of fish and colourful coral. Very enjoyable!!

The organizer tried very hard to find the few cloud holes to get the sun on the reefs. On land it poured out of pitchers. Nobody can be responsible for the weather. Judy was very very accommodating in picking me up from town as no cab was available, Easter and rain!!!!

The pilot was awesome,he really had some great knowledge about the reef key dates and local area. The views were amazing and the pilot ensured we got as close as allowed to lots of marine life during the flight.

Great Pilot and flight. Beautiful views from a different perspective. Simply Stunning on a spectacular day!

Nothing but absolutely fantastic! Had an absolute blast :)