An epic destination like The Great Barrier Reef deserves an epic tour and a helicopter is the only way to do it. Here are 4 of the best helicopter tours on offer:
The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. It’s just a shame that a lot of people choose to see it through a cheap mask and snorkel set. There is only one way to really appreciate the scale of this 1430 mile, UNESCO World Heritage-listed, marvel, and that’s from the air. Helicopter tours leave Cairns almost constantly, taking sightseers across the reef and beyond into the surrounding rain forest. Thanks to the popularity of this type of experience, prices aren’t just for the 1% either – starting around €200 for a quick whizz around the reef. There are plenty more with all the frills to make it a truly memorable experience too – here are four of the best:
Ultimate Great Barrier Reef and Rainforest 45-minute Helicopter Tour
For pure, all-encompassing beauty, this is perhaps the best helicopter tour Cairns has on offer. This 45-minute trip takes in the best of both worlds, crossing both land and sea. The aerial views over the lush rain forest and thundering waterfalls of the Barron Gorge are nothing short of spectacular, but then you’re swooping over the vast reefs and aquamarine waters of the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef. Along the way are landmarks like Stoney Creek Falls, Green Island and Arlington Reef, the Northern Beaches and Palm Cove. From €309.97.
Book at viator.com
Great Barrier Reef Cruise & Scenic Helicopter Flight
The helicopter time in this tour is extremely limited – just 10 minutes – so it’s as much for the bragging rights as it is a glimpse of The Great Barrier Reef. That said it’s part of a much more relaxed day out, so arguably also well suited to those of us who would love to experience a helicopter, but prefer not to be suspended in the sky for too long. Most of the rest of the 8.5 hours will be spent on ‘Evolution’- a brand new, purpose-built, state of the art, 35-meter (120ft) superyacht – exploring coral gardens with a snorkel and eating steak, fish and prawns of a BBQ. It’s not bad value then considering and a nice chopper taster session wrapped up in a very low velocity day. From € 204.72.
Book at getyourguide.com
World Heritage Highlights: Reef/Daintree/Cape Tribulation
The itinerary of this one-day tour reads like a list of things that your average adventurer would hope to achieve in a month. It all begins with a helicopter from Cairns, flying across The Great Barrier Reef and on to the tropical rainforest of Daintree, 100km north of your starting point. Then it’s time to become acquainted with estuarine crocodiles as a river cruise navigates the dense mangroves, before climbing aboard a purpose-built tour vehicle and ascending the Alexandra Range for a selfie at the iconic Alexandra Range Lookout. By now this may even sound far-fetched for a day in the life of Ethan Hunt – but there’s more. It’s then off to Cape Tribulation Beach, a quick stop at Walu Wugirriga Lookout, then a cuppa and a BBQ at Lync-Haven Cafe. To round off the day an off-roader drives 7km to Emmagen Creek to swim with the turtles. Yes, it perhaps sounds a bit too much unless you really must fit all those things in to a short trip – most people would be happy with a chopper ride – but if you want to spend a day like an action hero, this is the one. From €766.12.
Book at viator.com
Private Helicopter Tour: Reef Island Snorkeling and Gourmet Picnic Lunch
There is something delightfully Bond villain about rocking up on a private island in a helicopter, just for a picnic. If this is your thing then thankfully you don’t need to be Blofeld to do it. For as little as €585.54 this tour will provide everything you need – that is: helicopter, helicopter pilot, gourmet picnic with champagne, beach umbrella, blanket, deck chairs and snorkeling equipment – for the perfect secluded day out. After a 25-minute flight the helicopter gently lands on the remote Vlasoff Cay, with pure white sands and crystal waters, and two hours later takes you back to the heliport at Cairns Airport, and, some might argue, the real world. From €585.54.
Book at viator.com