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Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns

star-4.5196 Reviews
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Cairns City, Australia
Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns

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Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon2 to 7 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English

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Overview

Customize your visit to the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns with your selection from three travel options with a choice of snorkeling, scuba diving, and a one-way or round-trip scenic helicopter tour. 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. Then enjoy a close experience of the coral reef by choosing to snorkel or enroll in an optional scuba diving course (additional expense).
  • Half-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 scenic helicopter flight
  • Learn from informative commentary during your helicopter flight and boat cruise
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BBQ lunch
Use of Snorkeling equipment
Optional introductory or certified dives, payable direct on travel date (morning cruise only)
AU$20per person Environmental Management Charge (EMC) and Fuel Levy is payable direct to the operator on the day of travel
Hotel pickup and drop off
  • 1 Spence St , 1 Spence St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

    For the Cruise and Fly option, this will be your starting point at the Reef Fleet Terminal at the Down Under Cruise and Dive check-in counter.

  • 2 Pier Point Rd , 2 Pier Point Rd, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

    For the Fly and Cruise, and Fly and Fly option, this will be your starting point.

  • This activity ends in a different location. See details below:
  • 2 Pier Point Rd , 2 Pier Point Rd, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

    For those doing the Cruise and Fly, Fly and Fly option, this will be your end point.

  • 1 Spence St , 1 Spence St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia

    For those doing the Fly and Cruise option, the boat will take you back to the Reef Fleet Terminal in Cairns.

  • Choose from three options for your Great Barrier Reef experience (please see details under Itinerary below). Helicopters land at Hastings Reef floating helicopter pad, with transfer from there to a high-speed 100-foot (30-meter) vessel that holds a maximum of 100 people.

    Eighteen expert guides lead activities, assist with snorkel or scuba diving equipment, and provide instruction to both newcomers and experienced participants. Even non-swimmers can get in the water with flotation devices and see the reef

    Optional activities include scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s top dive locations! A complimentary SCUBA demonstration is provided before the purchase of the introductory dive course. (Available only on the morning boat cruise). The full-day excursion has time for a total of three dives at two different locations for already certified scuba divers. The dives can be booked on the boat, and dive gear and dive computers are provided.

    Your guides choose from 12 exclusive moorings at six locations for the best possible experience on the day of your tour. Generally, the boat visits one of the true Outer Great Barrier Reef locations (Saxon Reef or Norman Reef) in the morning. The afternoon features North Hastings Reef for snorkeling and helicopter flight connections.

    A tasty Australian barbecue buffet lunch is served on the boat. The spread may include fresh fish, sausages, steak, salads, and pasta. At the end of your tour, return to the mainland by boat or helicopter, depending on the tour you choose.
    Itinerary
    Stop At:  
    1 Spence St
    For those doing the Cruise and Fly option, this will be your starting point. Check-in at the Reef Fleet Terminal at the Down Under Cruise and Dive desk and then make your way to the boat. Check-in is from 07.15 am to 08.00 am.
    Duration: 1 hour 
    Admission Ticket Free
    Stop At:  
    Great Barrier Reef
    For those doing Cruise and Fly option you will stop at one of our wonderful snorkelling/diving sites on the Great Barrier Reef. Your second Reef site for the day is Hastings reef. This is where you will join Evolution if you are doing the Fly/Cruise or Fly/Fly option. You will spend approximately 2 hours at this site, enjoy snorkelling or semi-submersible (additional cost), before boarding the boat or helicopter for your trip back to Cairns.
    Duration: 5 hours 
    Admission Ticket Free
    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • Weight Policy: Individual passenger weights and accompanying carry on luggage MUST be advised at time of booking. Weight variances greater than 10% may incur an additional fee. Maximum single seat payload of 130kg. For passenger comfort and aircraft weight and balance, passengers exceeding 130kg are required to purchase an additional seat at 50% of ticket price - this is non-commissionable and payable to Nautilus Aviation on day of travel.
    • There is a maximum of 6 to 7 passengers depending on aircraft availability.
    • Evidence of dive certification is required from all divers wishing to participate in a certified dive
    • Diving within 48 hours of flying is not recommended.(Please note: This does not include the helicopter flight). All participants will be required to complete a health questionnaire prior to diving. Some pre-existing medical conditions (eg asthma, heart conditions, etc) may prevent you from diving, please consult your doctor
    • Child Policy: Children 3 years and above are charged adult rates. Subject to conditions, children under 3 years may travel free of charge when seated on a parents/guardians lap.
    • For the Fly/Cruise option you will have a compulsory 20 minute safety briefing before being allowed enter the water, this is part of your two hours out at the reef. It is recommended that you wear swimmers upon check in for this option
    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Infants must sit on laps
    • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 7 travelers
    • OPERATED BY Nautilus Aviation
    You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
    • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
    • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
    • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
    • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
    • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

    Learn more about cancellations.

    The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
    Q:
    What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns?
    A:The policy on face masks and attendee health is:

    • Temperature checks for travelers upon arrival
    See all safety measures taken by Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns.
    Q:
    What is the policy on sanitization during Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns?
    A:The policies on sanitization are:

    • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
    • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
    • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
    • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
    See all safety measures taken by Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns.
    Q:
    What is the social distancing policy during Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns?
    A:The policy on social distancing is:

    • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
    See all safety measures taken by Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns.
    Q:
    What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns?
    A:The policy on staff health & safety is:

    • Guides required to regularly wash hands
    See all safety measures taken by Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns.

    Traveler Photos

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    Traveler Tips


    • "You can get seasick so consider taking seasickness tablets beforehand to maximise your enjoyment." See review
    • "Also, many people got sick so would recommend bringing something for motion sickness." See review

    Reviews

    4.5
    star-4.5
    196 Reviews

    Reviews by Viator travelers

    We perform checks on reviews

    Showing 1-10 of 196 reviews
    star-5
    First time in a...
    Mary_M
    , Mar 2022
    First time in a helicopter and surpassed all expectations. The viewing of the Great Barrier Reef from the air was fantastic and then snorkeling at the Reef was a very special occasion. Really brings home the importance of conserving this beautiful planet of ours.
    star-5
    One for the bucket list
    Lilia_S
    , Jul 2021
    Wow, just wow. Being able to snorkel to see a tiny bit of paradise that’s the Great Barrier Reef is an experience of a lifetime. Brianna and Phil were excellent in guiding us while snorkeling while Cedric really looked after us while we were on board the Endeavour. The helicopter ride back to Cairns gave us a different perspective of the reef. So much fun! You can get seasick so consider taking seasickness tablets beforehand to maximise your enjoyment.
    1 traveler found this review helpful
    star-5
    Very enjoyable
    Dort_A
    , Jul 2021
    Going out on the boat was great and the lunch they supplied . And the swim in the nice blue water the crew were helpful and the helicopter was very enjoyable ride back.
    1 traveler found this review helpful
    star-5
    Brilliant day!
    Roger_W
    , May 2021
    Fantastic day. The boat Evolution has to be the best in Cairns. Spacious, clean, fast and the crew are excellent. The chopper trip home was brilliant! Brand new helicopter (had that new helicopter smell!) and the pilot was great. I asked him his background and he is super over qualified to be flying tourists around (Rescue/Oil Rig pilot). Can't recommend this tour enough.
    star-5
    Magical experience
    Sharryn_T
    , May 2021
    Rough trip out to the reef. Suggest taking tablets. Was a totally awesome day. Snorkelled. Did the introductory diving option and then home to Cairns via helicopter. Staff were amazing, attentive and very patient teaching you diving. Loved it.
    1 traveler found this review helpful
    star-5
    Mr
    Foster_Mbewe
    , May 2021
    Swimming in the Rife for the first time. The viewing of the Great Barrier rife on a helicopter was spectacular 👌
    star-5
    Amazing
    Barbara_T
    , May 2021
    I would have to say as wonderful as your staff, the stand out, and the person that made us laugh all day was Eddie! He is a staff member you need to hold on to. Thank you all for an amazingly memorable experience.
    star-5
    Life-changing experience
    Rakhesh
    , Mar 2021
    This was our first time visiting Cairns and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. At the outset, I was a bit sceptical due to the cost of the whole thing but I can tell you now, it is money well worth spending. The team is amazing, and their attitude towards ensuring the perfect customer experience is PHENOMENAL. I can't swim (can't even float), but they were able to even cater to a fool like me, and I snorkelled for a total of ~90 minutes on the day! There were people on hand throughout, checking how each customer was doing, and whether they had seen all that the reef had to offer. They tirelessly supported everyone throughout the whole day. The helicopter ride back to Cairns was the icing on an already delicious cake, and I can honestly say it was an experienced that changed my life. My wife had an incredible time as well, and spent the whole evening feeling sad that it was over! Huge congratulations to the team for delivering such an excellent product. I cannot recommend it highly enough. We will definitely be back.
    1 traveler found this review helpful
    star-5
    One of the top 3
    Mark_F
    , Oct 2020
    This was up there with one of the best. We’ve been travelling Oz for 2 years and this reef experience is up there with Uluru and horizontal falls. Well done Down Under - great team, great hospitality, great tour. Thanks.
    star-5
    Spectacular view
    Marty
    , Mar 2020
    Well worth every penny 😃 an incredible view of a one of the wonders of the world. Recommend this to everyone going to the Great Barrier Reef
    star-5
    Great Barrier Reef Fly fly tour
    Clara_C
    , Feb 2020
    The crews are very friendly and helpful. All the arrangements are just prefect. Crews are from different countries, can communicate in English or Chinese. Just a fantastic experience!
    star-5
    Amazing Tour!!
    ChelZ43
    , Nov 2019
    Best way to see the Great Barrier Reef by Far!! Absolutely loved our first helicopter ride. Worth every single penny! We actually wish we had taken the helicopter ride both ways as the ride back was ROUGH!! Only had about an hour to snorkel before it was time to head back, but that was enough for us. Perfect half day tour on the Great Barrier Reef!
    star-5
    Amazing Experience!
    Carol H
    , Nov 2019
    The whole tour/trip was very organized and well done. The boat was a good size and very comfortable and the crew were very accommodating. The food was good (not fantastic ) with plenty of choice. The reefs are spectacular - like swimming in a giant aquarium. The helicopter back was the cherry on top - saw more beautiful reefs from the air, and made for a shorter day
    star-5
    Stunning
    Explore827067
    , Nov 2019
    This was my favorite activity I did in Australia. I loved the order we did the tour with the helicopter 1st then the snorkeling second. We got to stay on the boat and take it back to the city after. The tour included lunch and a free glass of wine. I loved the tour! The Great Barrier Reef doesn’t disappoint!
    star-4
    Great experience!
    Bethany S
    , Jul 2019
    Beautiful cruise but the absolute highlight was the helicopter tour. What an amazing way to see the reef! Viator was extremely responsive and accommodating, everything was well coordinated, and went exactly as planned. My only critique would be the number of people on the cruise (close to 200) which made snorkeling a bit chaotic and crowded. Also, many people got sick so would recommend bringing something for motion sickness. But all absolutely worth it in my opinion
    star-5
    Amazing and a Must do Tour - went perfectly
    Bradley_B
    , Jun 2019
    This tour went perfectly! Pick-up was 10 minutes early at 715am, cruise left at 815am, started snorkeling at 10am, left for another reef around 12pm, then 2pm we got onto the helicopter. My wife and I were the only ones on the 8-seat helicopter; we felt like celebrities as the boat we went out with had 100 people on-board. The snorkeling was awesome and there's an underwater professional photographer on-board the "Down Under Cruise and Dive" boat. We bought all the photographs; like 70 photos for $80 AUD. They airdropped the photos to me right on-board before we left, but sometimes they may need dropbox them in a couple days. The photos turned out amazing and we're glad we didn't have to bring our own camera / worry about it. Our possessions were safe on-board when snorkeling - no issues. Several people did get sick unfortunately, but we took Sea Sickness pills an hour before the boat left and we were fine. The boat did smell of puke after a couple people vomited inside, despite the crew telling people before the boat even left to try to puke outside if they get sea sick. The crew was awesome. They were so kind and friendly; they were quite keen to show us things underwater too (giant clam, turtles, sting ray, etc). It was a beautiful and fun day out - we highly recommend it!
    star-5
    Amazing Scenic Tour
    Brett_R
    , Jun 2019
    Professional and friendly team, from arriving to Nautilus Aviation to arriving back from our 30 minute helicopter scenic flight, they were great! The seas were a bit rough, so we opted to view the great barrier reef via chopper and it did not disappoint! I thoroughly enjoyed this and would do again. Thanks guys for a terrific flight!
    star-5
    Great way to see the Reef!
    CHRIS_T
    , Apr 2019
    This was a great way to see the Reef! We stopped at two locations and got to snorkel for around an hour at both. Initially, we were led around by a crew member to help us get our bearings and then went on our own. After we finished at the second location, we jumped on a helicopter and flew back to Cairns. It really gave you a perspective of the size and scope of the Reef and also allowed us to avoid a 2.5 hour boat ride home. The staff was very friendly and I’d highly recommend the tour. The boat was large, so if you’re looking for a small group, this probably isn’t the tour for you but it really worked well for us.
    star-5
    barrier reef
    yolande_r
    , Oct 2018
    very nice trip snorkeling was very nice and pleasant the helicopter tour is very very good and interesting
    star-5
    It was amazing! The staff were very...
    HeyManSimmy_L
    , Apr 2018
    It was amazing! The staff were very friendly and helpful! It was the first time for us to go on snokerlying. And it was our first time to travel on a helicoptor. The view of the reef was amazing! My youngest son get to sit on the frong of the helicoptor, it was a wonderful experience for him.

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