Undoubtedly one of the most iconic Australian landmarks and a top thing to do on any visit to Australia is to see the Great Barrier Reef from the air! Why? This is totally a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list experience for anyone.
There are many reasons why you should consider investing in taking a helicopter flight over the reef. While it’s much cheaper to take a boat ride there, you don’t get to truly experience the grandeur of the Great Barrier Reef and the beautiful islands that surround it, until you see it from above.
There are many places from which you can see the Great Barrier Reef. Such as Hayman Island, Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation, Mackay, and many others. We chose to base ourselves on Hamilton Island for our trip out to the reef.
check out these amazing photos we took of the great barrier reef from the air!
Planning a holiday in Australia right now? Here are 150 Australia Bucket List experiences to tick off!
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How Do You Get to the Whitsundays?
Hamilton Island Airport is in the Whitsundays and is one of the closest airports to the Great Barrier Reef. We flew to Hamilton Island and stayed overnight during our trip to the Whitsundays. This was a great place to base ourselves for a visit to the Great Barrier Reef.
Related Post: A Guide to Visiting Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays
Scenic Helicopter Tour with Hamilton Island Air
Seeing the Great Barrier Reef from the air was the number one thing we wanted to do on our Whitsunday itinerary. We booked our helicopter sightseeing flight with Hamilton Island Air, who was very professional and made our helicopter flight a really enjoyable experience. The pilot was very knowledgeable about all the reef formations and strategically positioned us in the air, so we could get amazing photos of the Great Barrier Reef.
Read Next: The Ultimate World Travel Bucket List – 150+ Places to See Before You Die
Visiting Whitehaven Beach
You know that beautiful white sand island that you see in all the Tourism Australia advertisements. That’s Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. It’s actually not possible to stay on Whitsunday Island unless you stay on a yacht or camp there. There are no hotels. But we reckon that nearby Hamilton Island is the best place to stay in the Whitsundays.
We chose the Heart Reef & Whitehaven Stopover tour, which meant we got to spend an hour frolicking on the whitest sand beach you’ve ever seen!
Related Post: 50+ Famous Landmarks in Australia to Add to Your Bucket List
Best Time to Visit
We visited the Great Barrier Reef in March and were blessed with incredible weather. However, March is right at the end of the wet season and tropical storms are common. Most people recommend September (Spring) as the best time of year to visit the Whitsundays.
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Have you got any additional tips for seeing the Great Barrier Reef from the air, or from the sea? Let our readers know about them in the comments below.
Planning a Queensland adventure? Read more:
- The Ultimate Australia Bucket List
- 15 Incredible Queensland Island Holidays & Resorts
- A Guide to Visiting Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays
- 20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit the Great Barrier Reef
- The Ultimate LUXE Guide to Hayman Island, Australia
- Noosa Heads: Where to Stay, What to Do + Where to Eat & Drink
- The Ultimate Travel Guide to Port Douglas, Australia
- How to See Tangalooma Wrecks on Moreton Island, Australia
- 10 Best Beaches on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland
- 50+ Famous Landmarks in Australia to add to your Bucket List
- 10 Best Airbnbs in Cairns, Australia
Planning a trip soon? Here’s a list of the websites we use for booking our trips:
- Skyscanner for the best flight deals
- Booking.com for the best rates on hotels
- HomeAway for the best price on apartment and home rentals
- Rentalcars.com for quick and easy car rentals
- Luxury Escapes | Expedia for luxury package holiday deals and tours
- Get Your Guide | Klook | Viator for booking day tours and attraction tickets
- Tourradar for a wide selection of multi-day tours
- Safety Wing for the most comprehensive worldwide travel insurance
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About the Author:
Amanda Twine is the founder and creator of Bucket List Seekers – a luxury travel blog sharing informative travel guides, food guides, hotel reviews, itineraries, and tips about how to make luxury travel more affordable.
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These pictures are beautiful! I cannot wait to head to Aus and try my hand at scuba diving, there’s nothing like golden sands and sparkling blue seas!
Amanda Twine says
Thanks! I’m so excited for you. You should definitely consider doing a heli tour as well. The reef is spectacular from the air (as you can see).