Scenic Flight Over The Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands ⋆ Who do I do
  • A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

Scenic Flight Over The Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands

Opting for a scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands is well worth the money!

Having travelled down in our campervan from Cape Tribulation for a four week road trip honeymoon (click here for our road trip tips), we decided to stop over for a few days at Airlie beach to explore the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands.  Airlie beach is a perfect base to see the Reef and the Whitsunday Islands from the air.  It’s also the largest town along the Whitsunday coast, so great if you’re looking for nightlife, shopping and some tasty restaurants too.

Whitehaven Beach, the ‘number one beach in Australia’ - Tripadvisor Travellers' Choice Beach Awards (2017)    

We booked our scenic flight in the morning for the 13.45pm afternoon flight with GSL Aviation.   We chose the 60 minute flight over the Reef and Island and snagged the last two available seats for that flight 😉  Luckily for us the airport just so happened to be behind the campsite where we were staying for a few days, so a mere five minute walk.  Check in for the flight was 30 minutes before (13.15pm) and upon arrival we were handed a blue card with our row number.

A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

Our plane

GSL Aviation guarantees a window seat for everyone, it was a 10 seater plane, that meant single seats on each side with a gangway down the middle – cool 😎 We were given row number 5 … at the back.  I hoped being seated at the back wouldn’t restrict our view but in fact we had excellent views both front and back!  A short safety briefing was given and life jackets were provided prior to boarding the plane.  We watched other planes taxi in and take off then we boarded the plane, sat in our seats in the allocated row, clicked in our seat belts and off we went.  Up, up and away!

A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

Inside the plane

It took roughly twenty minutes to reach the Great Barrier Reef.  OH WOW!  You can’t get over the sheer size of the reef …. so many different hues of blue, green, turquoise and emerald… such rich vibrant colours!  I’ve never seen turquoise waters like that before.  The views of the reef from above were truly spectacular!

A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef, consisting of over 3000 coral cays and reef systems and has become one of the top places to visit.  This is the only living thing that can be seen from outer space, it is also bigger than the Great Wall of China, and is the world’s largest single structure created by a living organism.  The many islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef come under the umbrella of ‘The Whitsunday Islands’. This includes the Hayman Island, which features the luxurious 5-star Hayman Island Resort.  If you wish to indulge yourself with stunning views of the lagoon and the Whitsunday passage, or experience some culinary delights at the restaurants surrounded by the reef, then stay here.

A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

Hayman Island

The Whitsunday Islands consist of some 74 wondrous islands, although most of them are uninhabited and protected by the National Park.  The beach you’ve probably seen all over instagram and the internet is the iconic Whitehaven Beach. This has been named in the ‘Top 25 Beaches In The World’ time and time again.  A seven kilometre stretch of pure white silica sand – I’ve never seen anything so pristine.  The tide at the inlet creates beautiful swirls of green and blue within the sand that look just magical.  The sand is actually pure white and luminescent due to it being 98% white silica.  I was mesmerized by the magnificent beauty of the beach.  There are many sailing companies which organise sailing trips around the Whitsunday Islands and to Whitehaven beach itself if you wish to spend some time there – who wouldn’t!

A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

A truly ‘stunning’ Beach

Here are a few more pics of a bird’s eye view of the reef and islands.  Let us try and tempt you to visit these natural wonders of Australia!

A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

One of the larger Islands


A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo


A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

It seems neverending

A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

My favourite view of the magical Whitehaven Beach


A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

Look at the tiny speed boats


A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

Such beautiful colours

A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

On our way back


A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

A large sandbar just beneath the water


A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

The dark blue showing the deep water around the reef

A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

White sand at Whitehaven Beach

A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach.

The bird’s eye views were amazing

Have you seen the Great Barrier Reef?  Is it on your bucket list?

 

 

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A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands – WhodoIdo: Enjoy spectacular bird’s eye views of the world’s largest coral reef and the Whitsunday islands, including the iconic Whitehaven beach. The bird’s eye views were amazing” />

44 Comments

  • BonBon 08/09/2017 (01:06)

    On my bucket list but not for the scenic flight – DIVING!!! But this is also a cool one to take if you’re not a diver…. WOW!!! beautiful!!!

    • Lana
      Lana 08/09/2017 (12:45)

      We’re both divers and we have done both – highly recommend it! 🙂

  • Shaily 07/09/2017 (18:29)

    Wow! The pictures are simply stunning! So vibrant colours! It looks like some dreamland. This is definitely a place to be added to the travel bucket list!! Thanks for sharing this amazing experience! 🙂

    • Lana
      Lana 07/09/2017 (19:23)

      Thank you Shaily and we agree the colours are definitely almost unreal and a must see at some point.

  • The Wildest Tales 07/09/2017 (16:18)

    These pictures are stunning! You were really lucky to have such a wonderful opportunity – especially nowadays knowing that the reef is slowly dying 🙁 I am not sure my bf would go on that plane (was it bumpy?) though they are so small and because he is afraid of flying we would probably enjoy more diving there!

    • Lana
      Lana 07/09/2017 (16:32)

      I know such a shame ;( The ride wasn’t at all bumpy, but if he’s scared of flying might be tricky. Oh yes diving is amazing!! 🙂

  • amit 06/09/2017 (21:05)

    As usual amazing pics, I’m so envious of the pics you guys have. In saying how amazing is the view of the great barrier reef from above? …Although I didn’t do a scenic flight as such, I did my first sky dive over the great barrier reef and the view was breathtaking. I can still remember most of it, well after my parachute opened haha 😛

    • Lana
      Lana 06/09/2017 (23:50)

      Thanks Amit! I would love to do a skydive over the Great Barrier Reef – but prob end up screaming my head off haha! Must have been an amazing experience to sky dive over the reef. I’ll be doing that when I go back one day 😉

  • Anushka 06/09/2017 (17:37)

    Wow!! Simply gorgeous and what a great way to check out this natural phenomenon! Wonderful landscape and blue waters gives me fresh feeling!

    • Lana
      Lana 06/09/2017 (18:01)

      Can you believe that you can see it from outer space!? Would love to stay on one of the islands! 🙂

  • Bee 06/09/2017 (14:53)

    it absolutely is on my list! i had no idea you could take small tour flights over the reef, i always thought those were reserved for the media and conservationists. so cool that you guys shared this with us. a great idea and def a priority to make when visiting the Great Barrier Reef!

    • Lana
      Lana 06/09/2017 (17:59)

      I didn’t realise either till I saw it advertised. Such a great way to see the reef and Whitsunday islands! 🙂

  • Barry 06/09/2017 (10:05)

    Looks like a once in a lifetime trip and some great photos too! I visited the Great Barrier Reef a few years back but didn’t get to see it from the sky – I’m very jealous

    • Lana
      Lana 06/09/2017 (10:58)

      You can’t not see the Great Barrier Reef if you’re in Australia right?! We thought why not get a birds eye view of it! 😉

  • Mehr 06/09/2017 (07:55)

    This is perfect ! Infact you gave us one more reason to visit Australia. This is definetly worth the money. Also would like to visit Hayman island resort. It would be great if you could share how much you spent on the plane ride.

    • Lana
      Lana 06/09/2017 (10:56)

      We didn’t get the chance to visit Hayman Island but would love to. We paid $199 per person for the flight 🙂

  • Constance 06/09/2017 (00:11)

    Wow this is super beautiful! I never thought about flying over the Great Barrier Reef but it’s a great idea, especially since I can’t swim. Was it expensive to get a seat on this plane?

    • Lana
      Lana 06/09/2017 (10:54)

      We didn’t think about a scenic flight till the owner of the campsite recommended it. It was $199 per person for a 60 minute flight when we went last October. Definitely worth it! 🙂

  • Ritika 05/09/2017 (21:41)

    it is very useful post..Great barrier reef had always been in my bucket list.. your post have given me all the more reason to visit 🙂

    • Lana
      Lana 06/09/2017 (10:50)

      Thanks – I’m glad it’s inspired you to visit the Great Barrier Reef! 🙂

  • Helene 05/09/2017 (20:21)

    What a lovely experience!! These photos are sooo beautiful, and like you said, such pristine beaches and waters:) They make me want to jump right in there and float in the sea forever! Do you know whether scuba diving is still allowed there? That’s definitely on my bucket list! Thanks for sharing:)

    • Lana
      Lana 06/09/2017 (10:48)

      Thanks Helene! It was on our list for ages! Yes you can scuba dive there -there’s a few dive centres at Airlie beach and you can also dive further up the east coast too. 🙂

  • Dieter 05/09/2017 (20:20)

    This is amazing, I love it. This looks like I need to add this to my bucketlist, thanks for taking us with you to this trip

    • Lana
      Lana 06/09/2017 (10:46)

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  • April 05/09/2017 (19:36)

    Omg what a small plane, but the views were so worth it huh!? My cousin lives in Aussie and I think I need to plan a trip to visit her sometime in the very near future!!!

    • Lana
      Lana 05/09/2017 (19:39)

      Thanks for the comment! Yes the plane was small but perfectly safe! I think you should book a trip to see your cousin soon! 🙂

  • Chrissy 05/09/2017 (17:08)

    Many beautiful views here. Splendid.

    • Lana
      Lana 05/09/2017 (17:20)

      Thanks! Views are amazing!

  • Claire Delplancq 05/09/2017 (16:26)

    Those pictures are AMAZING! Thank you sooo much for sharing! I wish I could do something like this, but the truth is I am terrified of flying 🙁

    • Lana
      Lana 05/09/2017 (17:20)

      Oh nooo! But there’s other way to see the Great Barrier Reef by scuba diving or snorkelling 🙂

  • Ajay 05/09/2017 (14:26)

    That is indeed WOOOW ! Such stunning views. I can spend a lifetime here and still be in awe looking at the views. It must have been an experience to cherish for a lifetime !

    • Lana
      Lana 05/09/2017 (17:19)

      It was WOOOW! hehe I couldn’t get over the colours and the size of it! Amazing exprience 🙂

  • Christine 05/09/2017 (14:18)

    Those pictures are absolutely breathtaking! The color of the water is amazing. Definitely something on my bucket list. We did a similar flight over the Grand Canyon several years ago. It’s a great way to experience those sites!

    • Lana
      Lana 05/09/2017 (17:17)

      I would love to fly over the Grand Canyon – that’s on my list to do! 🙂

  • Iam Izuken 05/09/2017 (13:55)

    Wonderful! Naturally made!! I have not been to Australia but have heard much about it is one of the places I MUST visit.

    • Lana
      Lana 05/09/2017 (17:16)

      Thanks! Definite must see when you go to Australia 🙂

  • Maša 03/09/2017 (15:38)

    Wooow! Those views are just incredible! So many amazing sea views and that blue and green color tones are to die for. 🙂 Love it!

    • Lana
      Lana 04/09/2017 (14:02)

      It’s amazing … such vibrant colours! I was mesmerised by the sheer size of the Great Barrier Reef! 🙂

  • Robert 01/09/2017 (16:14)

    What a Wonderful Way to the See the Great Barrier Reef and More! We traveled to Australia 2 seasons ago from Canada and just loved it! We only got as far as up as the Gold Coast. Hope to return and see much more! Thanks for the Travel Inspiration and Amazing Photos. 🙂

    • Lana
      Lana 02/09/2017 (15:16)

      Thank you for the wonderful comment! Australia is so big there’s never enough time to see it all. Hope you go back again son 🙂

  • Pia 01/09/2017 (07:04)

    I love these scenic flights. I had one over the Keys, Florida and it was just stunning views. Your pictures remind me so much of that. I haven´t been in Australia at all yet but it is on the list. And I believe I wouldn´t say no to such a flight.

    • Lana
      Lana 01/09/2017 (13:57)

      We’ve road tripped around florida but never took a scenic flight there… so definitely on OUR to do list! Thank you for commenting and so pleased you enjoyed our post 😉

  • Gabby 30/08/2017 (17:29)

    gorgeous! I’ve never been to the Great Barrier Reef but I would love to visit… it looks incredible!

    • Lana
      Lana 30/08/2017 (19:42)

      Thanks! It was high on our bucket list – definite must see when exploring the east coast of Australia!:)

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