How to visit the Great Barrier Reef – 5 Queensland Holiday Ideas
Australia Queensland

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.

26 Comments

  • Reply
    Angie Silver
    November 30, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Ahhh… we had this booked when we were there but had to cancel cos it was pouring with rain. So guttted, your pictures are incredible!
    Lots of love,
    Angie

    SilverSpoon London

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 1, 2015 at 6:04 am

      Ah Angie so sorry to hear that – what bad timing. Next time 😉

  • Reply
    Ayla
    November 30, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    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
      Jayne Gorman
      December 1, 2015 at 6:05 am

      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
    Gilda Baxter
    November 30, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Amazing pictures, I would love to do this trip on the helicopter over the Great Barrier Reef. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 1, 2015 at 6:05 am

      You’re welcome. Hop you get a chance to one day 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristin
    November 30, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    The color of that water is absolutely beautiful – and it really gives you a perspective on how HUGE the GBR is!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 1, 2015 at 6:07 am

      For sure – it goes on for MILES!

  • Reply
    Kirsten
    December 3, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    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
      Jayne Gorman
      December 4, 2015 at 12:24 am

      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
    The Weekly Legend: Vibrant colors from around the world & when do you know it's time go? - 12.4.2015 - Map Maiden
    December 4, 2015 at 8:04 am

    […] 1.How ’bout that view of the Great Barrier Reef?  […]

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    The Best Of Australia On Instagram - Jet Set Brunette
    December 9, 2015 at 9:23 am

    […] Credit: Jayne Gorman https://www.girltweetsworld.com   […]

  • Reply
    Julie Small
    December 10, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    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
      Jayne Gorman
      December 10, 2015 at 10:34 pm

      O wow, learning to dive out there must have been incredible. I did an introductory dive and it was a great place to start 😉

  • Reply
    Janice Stringer
    December 13, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    Hi Jayne,
    Looks amazing. Definately a must do on my list, when I finally get back over there again.
    🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle Christina
    December 15, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    So gorgeous! I can’t believe those colors actually exist in nature!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 16, 2015 at 12:25 am

      Me neither – and I saw them with my own eyes 😉

  • Reply
    Leigh
    December 16, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    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
      Jayne Gorman
      December 17, 2015 at 2:16 am

      O wow, that’s awesome if it’s made you consider visiting Oz. It really is an incredibly beautiful and diverse country.

  • Reply
    Nath
    December 30, 2015 at 12:02 am

    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
      Jayne Gorman
      December 30, 2015 at 7:32 am

      You won’t regret it 🙂

  • Reply
    Madhu
    January 29, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    WOW! What a stunning set of images! You just pushed this up on my bucket-list.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      January 29, 2016 at 9:36 pm

      Awesome! It’s totally worth it 🙂

  • Reply
    Peter Seymour - Lanzarote Villa
    March 22, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    oh my oh my, that looks so good! almost like they are pics from another planet. You wont find a sea view like that in England for sure. I would love to experience that.

  • Reply
    Austin Dixon
    March 29, 2016 at 5:46 am

    So gnarly! Loved the pictures — thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    Juliette - Snorkels To Snow
    July 25, 2016 at 2:08 am

    What incredible photos! I would be tempted to jump out of the helicopter into that water haha!

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