Cairns & the Tropical North

Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns

Cairns City, Australia

From USD 323.33

Select Date and Travellers

Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 2 to 7 hours (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


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

What's Included

  • BBQ lunch
  • Use of Snorkelling equipment
  • Optional introductory or certified dives, payable direct on travel date (morning cruise only)
  • AU$20per person Levy is payable direct to the operator on the day of travel
  • Hotel pickup and drop off

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting points

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End points

This activity ends in a different location. See details below:
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What To Expect

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.

1 Spence St

1 hour Admission Ticket Free

Great Barrier Reef

5 hours Admission Ticket Free

Additional Info

  • 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 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
  • Refunds: Cancellation notice of 48 hours is required for a full refund claim and 24 -48 hours, for a 50% refund claim. No refund applies if booking is cancelled inside 24 hours.
  • Tour and aircraft substitutions are subject to Management and/or pilot discretion, weather, air traffic control and availability
  • Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 7 travellers

Cancellation Policy

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 cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Traveller Photos

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Traveller Tips

You can get seasick so consider taking seasickness tablets beforehand to maximise your enjoyment.
Also, many people got sick so would recommend bringing something for motion sickness.
205 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travellers.
Showing 1-10 of 205 reviews
Erin_S, Jan 2023
Incredible! Loved doing the flight first so I wasn’t stuck on a boat for several hours. Then snorkel was perfect. Crew on the ship were awesome. It was an amazing day.
Response from Host, Jan 2023
Hi Erin, Thank you for taking the time to leave this incredible review, I agree with you that the flight out to the reef certainly makes a Reef trip much more enjoyable. Kind regards Kel
Great day at Great Barrior Reef
James_B, Nov 2022
The helicopter flight was beautiful and my favorite part of the day. The lunch served was fabulous and way too much food! The crew were all lovely and the snorkel was great.
Response from Host, Nov 2022
HI James I appreciate the time that you took to leave this 5* review, it is much appreciated. I am thrilled to hear that you had such a lovely day out on the reef and enjoyed your flight with us. Kind regards Kel
A must to do.
Ray_O, Nov 2022
Highly recommend this tour. The helicopter ride was fantastic and when you get to the boat the staff are great and helpful . I would do this again for sure, great experience and again the staff make it more enjoyable . AAA rating from me.
Response from Host, Nov 2022
Hi Ray Thank you so much for your feedback, I love starting my morning reading reviews like this. I hope we can welcome you back to fly with us again someday soon. Kind regards Kel
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.
One for the bucket list
Lilia_S, July 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.
Very enjoyable
Dort_A, July 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.
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.
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.
Foster_Mbewe, May 2021
Swimming in the Rife for the first time. The viewing of the Great Barrier rife on a helicopter was spectacular 👌
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
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
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!
Great experience!
Bethany S, July 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
Amazing and a Must do Tour - went perfectly
Bradley_B, June 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!
Amazing Scenic Tour
Brett_R, June 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!