Incredible Helicopter Ride Over The Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands

I love words and have far more experience of writing them than I do taking pictures. But sometimes you need to let the pictures do the talking. My recent experience of flying in a helicopter over the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsundays is one of those occasions. The pictures say it all really.

In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands

In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands
First glimpse of Whitsunday Island, Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach

But let me give you a little context.

Last month I flew to Hamilton Island, the largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays and a very stylish place to base yourself whilst exploring the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding islands. From Hamilton Island I took a boat out to Reef World, where I spent a night sleeping on the Great Barrier Reef, swimming with sea turtles and viewing the most incredible sunrise I’ve ever seen in my life.

In my previous post I mentioned how I then transferred from the Reef World pontoon back to Hamilton Island in a helicopter. I hinted that it was one of the best experiences I had at the Great Barrier Reef but I felt I really wanted to show you why.

So without further ado..

Helicopter ride from Reef World to Hamilton Island

In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands
Reef World has two helipads floating a short distance away from the main pontoon. My ride is the one landing in the background.
In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands
The take off was incredibly smooth. You only need a little height before you start to see the stunning patterns of the reef.
The Great Barrier Reef from above
From above the Great Barrier Reef looks like a giant mass of veins – or maybe a confused world map?!
Heart Reef - the most photographed & famous section of the Great Barrier Reef is a short distance from Reef World.
Heart Reef – the most photographed & famous section of the Great Barrier Reef is a short distance from Reef World.
In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands
Our pilot looped the Heart Reef so we could see it from every angle.
In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands
The aircraft rises into the clouds as we head towards Hamilton Island.
In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands
But first we flew over something pretty special.
In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands
The pilot eyes up Hill Inlet on Whitsunday Island
In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands
Then flies us over the famous Whitehaven Beach -7 kms of practically pure silica sand.
In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands
Whitehaven is regularly voted one of Australia’s best beaches.
In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands
An incredible tricolour formed by the trees, sand and water.
Flying over Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays
How tempting is that water?
In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands
We pass more of the Whitsunday Islands (there are 74 in total) on the way back to Hamilton Island.
In pictures: Helicopter ride over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands
I think I’d like to live on this one.
Flying over Hamilton Island, Whitsundays
If your budget doesn’t stretch to a helicopter ride you get a pretty good view from Jetstar flights from Hamilton Island too!

More Info

Scenic helicopter rides from Reef World start from $135 per person for a 10 minute joy flight. Transfers from Reef World to Hamilton Island take approximately 35 minutes and cost $499 per person.

I travelled to the Whitsundays with Round The World Experts who arranged all my accommodation, transfers and activities with Cruise Whitsundays, Hamilton Island and Hamilton Island Air. Speak to one of the Round The World Experts about creating your dream Australia holiday.

About the author

I’m Jayne, a travel blogger, content creator and mum to a 4-year-old son. I’ve been blogging since 2010, travelled to 65 countries and share travel guides and tips to help you plan stylish, stress-free trips.

26 thoughts on “Incredible Helicopter Ride Over The Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands”

  1. Oh. Wow.

    I’ve visited the Whitsundays by boat but now I wish I had done it from the sky! I may just have to take a trip back as those views are simply stunning!

    Reply
    • I did it by boat on my first trip so was incredibly lucky to go back and see it from above. It was even prettier than I imagined from up there!

      Reply
  2. I have no words. This is incredibly beautiful, and enough to convince me that it would be worth every penny! I’ve been to the Whitsundays and loved it, but now I have to go back and do this!

    Reply
    • Aw thanks Kirsten. That’s what I was trying to express but was struggling to say!! I felt exactly the same though. I loved sailing the Whitsundays but felt I saw how truly beautiful they were from the sky.

      Reply
  3. What an incredible experience. I’ve visited the Great Barrier reef a number of times, I even learnt to dive on the reef but this is something special. What a beautiful day you had to take photos. Am just slightly envious!! 🙂

    Reply
  4. I took my first helicopter ride this year, out of the Grand Canyon – what a spectacular way to photograph scenery. Honestly, these photos of the reef are the first ones I’ve seen that make me actually consider Australia as a destination…who knows?! It definitely is gorgeous!

    Reply
  5. Wow I live and work in the Whitsundays but only travelled around by boat , those pictures are amazing and I’m definitely going to take my next trip by air 🙂

    Reply

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