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