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Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns

86 Reviews

  • Location: Cairns, Northern Beaches and Palm Cove, Australia
  • Duration: Varies (approx.)
  • Tour code: 3262FLY
Explore the Great Barrier Reef on a half-day or full-day excursion that travels by helicopter and boat so that you can make the most of your time. Choose from three options for your tour of one of the world’s best coral reefs and enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving and a glass-bottom boat 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.


  • Instant Confirmation
  • Scenic helicopter flight
  • Snorkel gear included
  • Lunch included
Choose from three options for your Great Barrier Reef experience. Fly by helicopter in and out of the reef for a 3-hour excursion; fly there and return by boat for a 4.5-hour round-trip. Or get the most time on the reef if you choose the full-day excursion, traveling to the reef by boat and spending five hours exploring there before returning by helicopter to Cairns in the afternoon. More details are in the Itinerary below.

All options spend time on the Great Barrier Reef aboard a deluxe boat that holds a maximum of 100 people, with 18 expert guides to show you the amazing underwater world.

If you take the boat from Cairns in the morning, when you arrive at the reef you stop at two prime locations to see multi-colored coral gardens and schools of fish. Your friendly guides assist you with your snorkel or scuba diving equipment, and provide encouragement and instruction to both newcomers and experienced participants.

If you are a nervous first-time snorkeler or diver, your guides do their best to help you feel comfortable and enjoy your experience. Even non-swimmers can get in the water and see the reef! If you prefer to stay dry, the afternoon activities include a glass-bottom boat tour accompanied by informative commentary where you can observe the underwater world.

You have a choice of included and optional activities on this tour. If you want to learn to scuba dive, a 10-minute SCUBA lesson is included, allowing you to try it out before purchasing the introductory dive course. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience one of the world’s top locations for diving!

If you already have your scuba diving certification, you can scuba dive as many as three times at two different locations during the full-day excursion, plus have plenty of time for snorkeling or relaxation between dives. Simply book the dives when you are on the boat. All dive gear and dive computers are provided.

Depending on the day’s weather conditions and water clarity, your guides choose from 12 exclusive moorings at six locations for the best possible experience for all activities. Generally, in the morning the boat visits one of the true Outer Great Barrier Reef locations (Norman Reef or Saxon Reef). In the afternoon you then head to North Hastings Reef for more snorkeling, the glass-bottom boat tour, and helicopter flight connections.

For lunch, enjoy a tasty Australian barbecue buffet served on the boat. Select from a spread consisting of fresh fish, sausages and steak, accompanied by a selection of salads, pastas and prawns.

After a memorable visit to the Great Barrier Reef, return to the mainland by boat or helicopter in the afternoon. If you return by boat, snack on a tropical fruit and cheese platter while your talented crew provides live musical entertainment.

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Schedule details

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Departure Dates:
Departure Point:
Cairns Airport, Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal or Cairns and Northern Beaches hotels 
Return Details:

Returns to original departure point

Pricing information

Click the link below to check pricing & availability on your preferred travel date. Our pricing is constantly updated to ensure you always receive the lowest price possible.

Helicopter-Cruise Reef Tour
Code: HCRT

Depart Cairns at 12:30pm for 25-min helicopter flight to Great Barrier Reef; 2 hrs of snorkeling, swimming, diving or coral-viewing tour; cruise to Cairns. Includes: lunch, snorkel gear

Pricing details
Cruise-Helicopter Reef Tour
Code: CHRT

Depart Cairns at 8:30am. Cruise to Hastings Reef. Norman Reef and Saxon Reef. 5-hours on the Great Barrier Reef. 25-min helicopter flight to Cairns. Includes: lunch, snorkel gear

Pricing details
Roundtrip Helicopter Reef Tour

Depart Cairns at 12:30pm for 25-min helicopter flight to Great Barrier Reef; 2 hrs of snorkeling, swimming, diving or coral-viewing tour; helicopter to Cairns. Includes: lunch, snorkel gear

Pricing details

Pricing information

Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns

Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Flight

  • BBQ lunch
  • Guided snorkeling tour
  • Scuba diving demonstration
  • Glass-bottom boat tour
  • Use of snorkel equipment
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off from Cairns and Northern Beaches hotels
  • Optional video record of your tour, payable direct
  • Optional introductory or certified dives, payable direct on travel date
  • AU$20 Environmental Management Charge (EMC) and Fuel Levy is payable direct to the operator on the day of travel
Additional Information:

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • All passenger weights MUST be advised at time of booking
  • Due to comfort, weight and balance of the aircraft, passengers weighing over (240 pounds) 110kg will be required to pay an extra 50% of an additional seat
  • There is a maximum of 6 passengers permitted per helicopter
  • 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
  • Minimum numbers apply. There is a possibility of cancellation after confirmation if there is not enough passengers to meet requirements. In the event of this occurring, you will be offered an alternative or full refund
  • Infants 2 years and under travel free of charge when seated in the lap of a parent or guardian
There are many options to choose from on this tour. Helicopter flights land at the Hastings Reef floating helicopter pad, from where you transfer to a sleek 100-foot (30-meter), high-speed vessel.

Helicopter-Cruise Reef Tour (4.5 hours)
Fly by helicopter to the Outer Great Barrier Reef, have lunch and enjoy two hours of snorkeling, diving, swimming and glass-bottom boat tour, then cruise by boat back to Cairns. Departs Cairns at 12:30pm and return at approximately 4:45pm. Hotel pick-ups commence between 30-60 minutes prior to this time.

Cruise-Helicopter Reef Tour (7 hours)

This option gives you the most time on the Great Barrier Reef! Depart by boat from Cairns and enjoy five hours of snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming, plus the barbecue lunch and glass-bottom boat tour. In the afternoon, transfer to the helicopter pad for your return flight to Cairns. Departs Cairns at 8:30am and returns at approximately 3.30pm. Hotel pick-ups commence between 30-60 minutes prior to this time.

Round-trip Helicopter Reef Tour (3 hours)
Fly by helicopter to the Outer Great Barrier Reef, enjoy two hours for lunch and your snorkeling, swimming, diving and glass-bottom boat tour, then depart by helicopter for Cairns. Departs Cairns at 12:30pm and returns to Cairns at approximately 3:30pm. Hotel pick-ups commence between 30-60 minutes prior to this time.
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Local Operator Information:
Complete Operator information, including local telephone numbers at your destination, are included on your Confirmation Voucher. Our Product Managers select only the most experienced and reliable operators in each destination, removing the guesswork for you, and ensuring your peace of mind.

Traveler Reviews

Reviewed by: PAULO S, January 2015


Reviewed by: Beverley B, December 2014

We booked this trip for my son's 21st literally 12 hours before we flew to Cairns for a 24 hour round trip. the booking was so easy and the staff helpful when our first option wasn't available. I cannot recommend and rate this trip option highly enough and would use viator again in the future.
The booking team were awesome, the aviation team in Cairns really worked with us to make sure we got to our outbound flight. the staff on the cruise were fantastic, they helped to make my son's first experience on the reef and his 21st one to never forget. excellent crew all very friendly and the food was actually good, great kitchen hands. very well organised, the day just ran so smoothly with lots of laughs along the way. very knowledgeable staff. we will see you again sometime soon....

From GBP173.17

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Tour code: 3262FLY