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In March we had Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Port Douglas. The weather on the day when our tour was originally scheduled was absolutely awful, some leftovers of the hurricane, very strong wind, showers and thunderstorms. We were very upset, this trip was supposed to be a highlight of our entire trip to Australia. We were lucky to re-schedule this tour to the very last day of our trip. We were also very fortunate: that day weather was absolutely fantastic, actually the best weather for the entire week. Bright and sunny with great visibility and water was almost calm, cloudy and a bit rainy on our way back
It was great opportunity to explore Australia's Great Barrier Reef from the air and the water! You can choose to travel by scenic helicopter one way and cruise by high-speed catamaran the other, or take the helicopter in both directions a bit more expensive too. I have motion sickness, we took helicopter first because I was afraid to get seasick on catamaran and feel sick entire day. I was determined to do it, with patch behind my ear, Travacalm pills and bracelets on my hands I managed it! I was good on both helicopter and catamaran!
In the morning we left our car on parking lot at PD Marina and went to Quicksilver office, where we were picked by GRB helicopter tour people and brought to their office for quick safety instructions. We started with 35-minute scenic helicopter flight that took us above Fort Douglas and rainforest up to Cape Tribulation and after above the ocean to the Outer Barrier Reef platform on Agincourt Reef. We had 5 passengers and pilot on board. Mid-flight probably 300 feet above the ocean the door near my husband and my daughter opened up! I was sitting next to the pilot we could feel sudden gust right away. Interesting that we all had cameras, but at that moment everybody was checking their seat belts and not making pictures. We needed to take emergency landing on tiny sand island in middle of nowhere to close the door. If door next to me would open, I probably would die on the spot I am afraid of heights. Anyway we stopped, pilot closed the door, checked all other doors and we continue our flight to Quicksilver platform. Views from above were beautiful!
On the platform we took a 30-min semi-submersible submarine tour first, which was great, very informative. After we had quick lunch, buffet style, plenty of food, many choices, average quality food, but you will not be hungry. After this we got into full protective lycra suits, they were free that day because stingers were seen in the water, and off for the reef snorkeling. There is also the underwater observatory if you dont want to go into the water. Time on the platform went by very quickly! We would be happy to have additional hour. I would do Moon Walking - Helmet Diving, but we didnt have time left. We came back by high-speed catamaran Quicksilver to Port Douglas, 90 min trip. Hot tea and snacks were available for free and also cash bar.
Yes, we liked the trip! A bit too crowded on the catamaran. We also would like to have a bit more time on the platform. But yes, we would recommend this tour! Helicopter flight definitely added to the experience.
Recommend to anyone that wants to see the reef and have a wonderful experience on the water!!!!!!!!!!
Incredible! Fantastic fun-filled day! Staff were amazing, informative and friendly. We saw green sea turtles, reef sharks, clams and an amazing array of fish. Snorkel or cruise the reef in a glass-bottom boat, or just laze on the beach. Great day all round. Good for any fitness level and for kids. Do as much or as little as you like.
Crew was great. Small and intimate. Lunch was amazing. Water was crystal clear.
Tony A United Kingdom
We had a wonderful day, blue skies and calm seas, to travel out to the Great Barrier Reef on the boat. There was plenty of staff to help and answer questions as well as advise which activities may suit. Once we arrived at the pontoon where all the activities are based, we did the underwater panoramic tour. For this you are sat in pairs behind other pairs of people in the bottom of a boat which has glass panel windows at either side. The guide for this trip was able to point out the various species of fish as well as turtles that were visible along the coral.
Lunch was served, which for all the people that were on this trip, was very good. A choice of salad with various meats and also a hot meal.
At the spot where those people who wished to go diving or snorkeling there is also an underwater viewing area, which is interesting watching the fish interact with all the people.
Our journey back to shore was by helicopter...this is definitely the way to see the great barrier reef. The view from above shows how beautiful it is and how vast an area it covers. The helicopter pilot was also very informative and willing to point out various amazing landmarks.
I would recommend this trip to family and friends.
Fantastic tour. Was a really fun day out exploring the reef. The crew were very friendly and informative. The lunch and nibbles provided were nice. We were able to spend a large amount of time in the water and a good amount of time on the island. It didn't feel like we were rushed at all. Overall, great experience!
A great experience and honestly cannot express just how much I would HIGHLY recommend this company in particular. I had REALLY bad sea sickness sailing there and back due to the rough waters that day and unfortunately couldn't say it was as enjoyable as I may have hoped, but that was definitely not without effort from the crew. They were all very knowledgeable, kind, caring and understanding of the water conditions and made the experience as great as it could have possibly been despite it all.
Food was surprisingly delicious for what could be whipped up or at least packed up at sea and I would do it all over again the next time I come back under better conditions. The professionalism of the crew, not to mention the small size of our group no crowding really made this booking the perfect choice for our trip : You CANNOT go wrong sailing with Sailaway!
This was an amazing day brilliant team, everything so well organised. The marine biologist was so informative loved going snorkelling with him and doing the beach walk. Buffett lunch was also great and time on the glass bottom boat.
This was an excellent trip and the crew were great.
We decided to do the glass bottom boat trip first,
then return to the catarmaran for lunch before
venturing onto Low Isles in the afternoon.
Would definitely recommend hiring one of the
all-over lycra suits for 8AUS as this stopped us getting
sunburnt, and allowed us to still swim in the water around
the isle, even as we did not paticipate in the snorkelling.
From beginning to end this was a fantastic trip that was well organised. We enjoyed the high speed catamaran trip out to the reef and while my husband did the snorkelling, which he said was out of this world, I took a trip on the semi-submersible which was brilliant. After a beautiful buffet lunch we then finished our day with a helicopter ride by to Port Douglas, during which our Pilot took us over part of the reef and along the coast, enabling us to see the beautiful coastline and beaches and the Daintree River. Would do it all again in a heartbeat. Brilliant
What a day!!! Having been on the larger tours to the outer reefs in the past, ignore them and go on this one. Much better to be on a luxury smaller Catamaran, with an excellent skipper two great guides in and out of the water and superb lunch onboard afterwards. To see Turtles in their natural environment, a stunning coral reef, fish and blacktop reef sharks made the day one to remember for ever.
The trip out on the helicopter from Port Douglas was an experience of a lifetime. We had a beautifully clear and calm day and the pilot took us down to see turtles, sharks and rays. The reef are truly stunning and best appreciated some distance above them and underwater. If you don't want to get wet then there is a submersible which gives a guided tour and you can take good pics from. Lunch on board the catamaran was fine and the sail back was ok - but you don't appreciate the reefs this way - so if you do this once in your life book the helicopter trip.
Lucy United Kingdom
I cannot rate this tour high enough. Worth every penny.
I would 100 advise for anyone taking this tour to take travel sickness tablets. Ours was a very calm day according to staff however it was still quite sickness educing.
The staff were lovely handing out sea sickness tablets as we got on the ferry.
We had full safety briefings before each dive or snorkel. We were offered the chance to wear stinger protection suits and life jackets whist snorkelling which we took up.
There were always life guards in the water with use, a marine biologist to point out the fish on the reef and a spotter on the roof of the boat to water all the swimmers.
The food was amazing and fresh. There was also plenty of it. Every single member of staff were on hand to answer questions and most of them sat with the tourists on the journey.
The reef itself was absolutely beautiful. We swam with a range of fish, reef shark and turtles!
The tide was out when we were due to return to Port Douglas so they had organised for us to visit a fourth dive site which was fantastic.
The staff is amazing! We had some of the roughest water I've ever been on and half of the boat (literally) was out bag with white paper bags due to sea sickness. That didn't ruin the spirit or service of the staff though. Because the weather wasn't so great, we did have a choppy first dive but Kim (one of the dive instructors) was my saving grace and made sure I had a good time. Without Kim, I may have missed out on my chance to live a life's dream of diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
The food that was served was REALLY good and way better than I expected. I would definitely recommend this tour for anyone who is looking for good GBR experience.
Great trip, weather not great so reef was not as colourful as can be when we were snorkelling, 3 or 4 reef sharks came in on us but were more interested in the small fish on the reef who kept jumping right out of the water trying to get away from the sharks, we were also lucking enough to see quite a few big turtles, great to see. The lunch on the boat was excellent and plentiful for all tastes followed by a tour round the reefs in a glassed bottomed boat especially for those who couldn't swim, this tour is a must do for all.
The Great Barrier Reef is definitely a must see !!!!!
Beautiful trip out to the reef on a comfortable boat. Water was crystal clear with gorgeous colorful fish in the water. Had a great complimentary lunch aboard with ample time to snorkel or spend time on the beach.
Don't forget camera for fotos of the reef ...something you will never forget !
Highly recommend this tour !!!
Sheila H United Kingdom
Picked up at hotel, taken to Marina where we sailed out to the Lower Isles on a beautiful boat. Given all the gear for snorkelling plus lots of instruction and were accompanied out onto the reef. Saw coral, loads of fish and turtles then the highlight sharks feeding close to the beach - not when we were snorkelling thankfully! Lovely lunch on boat then sailed home in the sunshine - a perfect day.
Quicksilver is operated very well. After jumping on the catamaran, you are driving an hour and a half to the outer reef. During that time a marine biologist will give you a lesson in the animal life on the reef; if not, you can site inside near the coffee and biscuits or outside and soak up some sun. The platform on Agincourt reef easily accommodates the 100+ people on your catamaran.
The staff on at the dock, on the platform and on the boat are friendly and helpful. GET IN THE WATER IMMEDIATELY! After an hour or 2, the overabundance of suntan lotion and stirring up the waters, makes the water cloudy and reduces the visibility of the coral and fish. Rent a stingersuit (wetsuit) too- depending on the time of year you go, you can be surrounded by stingers. Don't worry about buying a rashie beforehand, the stinger suit is very affordable.
Spend the extra money on a helicopter ride too- you can do the 10 minute ride while you're there but I suggest taking the helicopter back to the mainland. There's nothing like the feeling of being swept away on a helicopter in front of everyone else--- you feel famous! LOL The pilot sweeps around several reefs and will help you spot turtles, rays, sharks, etc. Plus, it whisks you home in 35 minutes after a long day in the sun and water.
A great way to spend the day. Picked up at hotel and driven to the boat. Once on board the staff very friendly attentative and helpful. A marine biologist gave a talk on the area and the local wildlife. Safety run through was give for those snorkelling. The access to the water was fabulous for all ages and fitness levels and and the water was perfect. Take or hire a underwater camera. It is well worth it.
Alexander T USA
Well organized. NOte this departs ex Port Douglas so if you leave from Cairns you'll spend about 2-3 hours on the bus. Spend 3 hours cruising and 3 hours at the reef. Excellent service, semisubmersibles, underwater observation deck and snorkeling are all included and much fun. Options include helicopter ride, guided snorkeling, helmet diving and Scuba diving. One of the pricier tours available but worth every buck even the locals recommend this!.
We thought we would get some instruction in actual snorkelling when we got to the Low Isles but we didn't. Maybe the wording of the info on the trip needs to make that clear. The cruise stated that it was for people who hadn't snorkelled before so it would have been good to get some instruction in the water.
Great trip. Accessing the reef from the beach is a great idea, especially for those that are not that confident in the water.
This particular trip was cancelled but we went on the Agincourt cruise instea: really enjoyed the snorkelling, even though it was hard work! The water was very clear and there were lots of fish to see.
very nice tour with great experience snorkeling. However just a little remark: it is very difficult to snorkel from the beach and I prefer the trip to the pontoon as it was on the first trip.
The crew could not have been more helpful or supportive.
One concern. I had been on the same trip 20 years ago, and the coral within 30m of the platform was degraded and broken. The number of colourful fish were far less than last time and I was disappointed in what I saw. The first time I had brightly coloured fish swimming between my feet before I ventured in and it only got better.
The number of beginners was a concern. When I returned to the water I had trouble finding a space and got walloped with a spagetti support. Someone pushed passed as I was waiting for someone to move and personal space and manners seem to have declined. This may well be due to 300 passengers instead of 200. It may be a cultural thing, but not acceptable in Australia.
But I felt well looked after and save and the experience was good. The number of activities to do was good. I missed seeing the large cod fish (1 m) under the boat/platform that I saw the first time, but the environment wasjust not as good as then.
Maybe it needs to be announced where morning tea was ,,,I had no idea it was on and missed it.
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