4.5 star rating: Recommended 92 Reviews

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  • Location: Cairns, Northern Beaches and Palm Cove, Australia
  • Duration:  Varies
Explore the Great Barrier Reef on a half-day or full-day excursion that travels by helicopter and boat so that you can make the most of your time. Choose from three options for your tour of one of the world’s best coral reefs and enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving and a glass-bottom boat tour (payable direct). Admire views of the Great Barrier Reef from your helicopter as you get a multi-angled perspective on one of the world’s top natural wonders.

Highlights

  • Half-day or full-day guided Great Barrier Reef tour by helicopter and boat
  • Snorkel, swim or scuba dive with expert guides at exclusive locations on one of the most famous coral reefs in the world
  • Marvel at aerial views of the Great Barrier Reef during a 25-minute helicopter flight
  • Learn from informative commentary during your helicopter flight and boat cruise
  • See colorful fish and coral up close while staying dry during a glass-bottom boat tour (payable direct)
  • Maximum of 6 passengers permitted per helicopter

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns

Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour from Cairns

Choose from three options for your Great Barrier Reef experience. Fly by helicopter in and out of the reef for a 3-hour excursion; fly there and return by boat for a 4.5-hour round-trip. Or get the most time on the reef if you choose the full-day excursion, traveling to the reef by boat and spending five hours exploring there before returning by helicopter to Cairns in the afternoon. More details are in the Itinerary below.

All options spend time on the Great Barrier Reef aboard a deluxe boat that holds a maximum of 100 people, with 18 expert guides to show you the amazing underwater world.

If you take the boat from Cairns in the morning, when you arrive at the reef you stop at two prime locations to see multi-colored coral gardens and schools of fish. Your friendly guides assist you with your snorkel or scuba diving equipment, and provide encouragement and instruction to both newcomers and experienced participants.

If you are a nervous first-time snorkeler or diver, your guides do their best to help you feel comfortable and enjoy your experience. Even non-swimmers can get in the water and see the reef! If you prefer to stay dry, the afternoon activities include a glass-bottom boat tour accompanied by informative commentary where you can observe the underwater world (payable direct to the operator).

You have a choice of included and optional activities on this tour. If you want to learn to scuba dive, a 10-minute SCUBA lesson is included, allowing you to try it out before purchasing the introductory dive course. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience one of the world’s top locations for diving!

If you already have your scuba diving certification, you can scuba dive as many as three times at two different locations during the full-day excursion, plus have plenty of time for snorkeling or relaxation between dives. Simply book the dives when you are on the boat. All dive gear and dive computers are provided.

Depending on the day’s weather conditions and water clarity, your guides choose from 12 exclusive moorings at six locations for the best possible experience for all activities. Generally, in the morning the boat visits one of the true Outer Great Barrier Reef locations (Norman Reef or Saxon Reef). In the afternoon you then head to North Hastings Reef for more snorkeling, the glass-bottom boat tour, and helicopter flight connections.

For lunch, enjoy a tasty Australian barbecue buffet served on the boat. Select from a spread consisting of fresh fish, sausages and steak, accompanied by a selection of salads, pastas and prawns.

After a memorable visit to the Great Barrier Reef, return to the mainland by boat or helicopter in the afternoon. If you return by boat, snack on a tropical fruit and cheese platter while your talented crew provides live musical entertainment.

Itinerary

There are many options to choose from on this tour. Helicopter flights land at the Hastings Reef floating helicopter pad, from where you transfer to a sleek 100-foot (30-meter), high-speed vessel.

Helicopter-Cruise Reef Tour (4.5 hours)
Fly by helicopter to the Outer Great Barrier Reef, have lunch and enjoy two hours of snorkeling, diving, swimming and glass-bottom boat tour (payable direct), then cruise by boat back to Cairns. Departs Cairns at 12:30pm and return at approximately 4:45pm. Hotel pick-ups commence between 30-60 minutes prior to this time.

Cruise-Helicopter Reef Tour (7 hours)

This option gives you the most time on the Great Barrier Reef! Depart by boat from Cairns and enjoy five hours of snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming, plus the barbecue lunch and glass-bottom boat tour (at own expense). In the afternoon, transfer to the helicopter pad for your return flight to Cairns. Departs Cairns at 8:30am and returns at approximately 3.30pm. Hotel pick-ups commence between 30-60 minutes prior to this time.

Round-trip Helicopter Reef Tour (3 hours)
Fly by helicopter to the Outer Great Barrier Reef, enjoy two hours for lunch and your snorkeling, swimming, diving and glass-bottom boat tour (at own expense), then depart by helicopter for Cairns. Departs Cairns at 12:30pm and returns to Cairns at approximately 3:30pm. Hotel pick-ups commence between 30-60 minutes prior to this time.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

This tour was amazing!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

By far the best tour I have ever experienced. To Elvis and crew: Much thanks for your professionalism and hospitality.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

This tour was amazing!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

The whole day was amazing, from the staff on the boat to the barrier reef and snorkeling.
And of course the helicopter return.
Excellent

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

This tour was amazing!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2015

maravilhoso!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2014

We booked this trip for my son's 21st literally 12 hours before we flew to Cairns for a 24 hour round trip. the booking was so easy and the staff helpful when our first option wasn't available. I cannot recommend and rate this trip option highly enough and would use viator again in the future.
The booking team were awesome, the aviation team in Cairns really worked with us to make sure we got to our outbound flight. the staff on the cruise were fantastic, they helped to make my son's first experience on the reef and his 21st one to never forget. excellent crew all very friendly and the food was actually good, great kitchen hands. very well organised, the day just ran so smoothly with lots of laughs along the way. very knowledgeable staff. we will see you again sometime soon....

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2014

Helicopter ride was excellent great picture taking opportunity. Boat ride was very nice. Service very good staff very attentive. If u aren't a snorkel not sure you want to do. But overall very pleasant day.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2014

Had a great day :-),the staff were very good and helpful,food was very good but not for some!!! and for the reef well all i will say is if you are over there you have to swim over the reef its Amazing it is like you see it on TV full of colour and so many fish,the ride back by chopper will give you a sense of how big and beautiful the reef is,we got back the to the airport abit before our cab so a very kind member of staff gave us a lift to our hotel in her own car so we didnt have to wait,very nice thing to do

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2014

Was not sure about this one as I cant swim! However, that was not a problem - they supplied floatation jackets and whilst I got some confidence in the water, I was towed out by rubber-ring to a reef to have my first glance at fish with my head under water! After that, I was hooked and cant wait to go again! Went on the glass bottom sub and returned by helicopter - felt like royalty! Well recommended trip and good value for money - food good and plentyful

From USD $ 230.18

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Tour code: 3262FLY

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