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Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns provided by Nautilus Aviation

Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns

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2 adults
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The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s most visited attractions, and the UNESCO-listed landscapes are home to an incredible variety of marine life. On this tour, choose to experience the natural wonder from all angles—flying overhead in a helicopter, taking a boat cruise to the outer reefs, then jumping in to swim, snorkel, or scuba dive along the reef.
You’ll have 2 starting options
See Important Information for details
  • 1
    1 Spence St
    Stop: 60 minutes -
    See details
  • 2
    Great Barrier Reef
    Stop: 5 hours -
    See details
You'll end at
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  • Unforgettable views of the Great Barrier Reef by helicopter and boat
  • Marvel at the underwater wonders of the Great Barrier Reef
  • Options for all: snorkeling, certified dives, or introductory dive course
  • Personalized experience: limited to six passengers per helicopter
What to Expect
Depending on the tour option selected, make your way to Cairns Airport or Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal, and set out for the outer reefs by either boat or helicopter. While boats set sail in the morning, helicopter flights depart around midday, affording spectacular views over Cairns as well as the reefs and islands of the Great Barrier Reef. On arrival at the Hastings Reef floating helicopter pad, transfer to the cruise ship, which has space for up to 100 passengers and is fully equipped for snorkelers, scuba divers, and nonswimmers. During your time onboard, visit two different locations around the Saxon Reef, Norman Reef, or Hastings Reef, stopping at exclusive moorings. On the full-day excursion, scuba divers can enjoy up to three dives, either taking part in a beginner’s introductory course or exploring dive sites accessible only to certified divers. All tours offer swimming and snorkeling along the reefs, with floatation devices available for nonswimmers. After working up an appetite in the water, enjoy a delicious onboard buffet lunch, including fresh fish, barbecued meats, and a selection of salads and pasta. Finally, you are dropped back at the helipad for the return journey to Cairns, where your tour ends.
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Important Information
Departure Point
1 Spence St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia Nautilus Aviation, Hangar 9 Bush Pilots Ave, General Aviation,, Aeroglen QLD 4870, Australia
2–7 hours
Return Details
Nautilus Aviation, Hangar 9 Bush Pilots Ave, General Aviation,, Aeroglen QLD 4870, Australia 1 Spence St, Cairns City QLD 4870, Australia
  • BBQ lunch
  • Use of Snorkelling 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
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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 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
  • Travellers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 7 travellers
Cancellation Policy
For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.
Traveller rating
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Time of year
Popular mentions
David C wrote a review Feb 2020
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania4 contributions
Everything was good, but just not enough time in the water for snookeling. For longer snookeling try to flight out earliest as possible. we flight out 12:40 pm and have to get out of the reef at 2:45 pm.
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Date of experience: February 2020
Robert B wrote a review Feb 2020
Green Bay, United States28 contributions15 helpful votes
This is the way to see the reef if you can do it financially. For a small additional cost, you see the reef from the air, then snorkel and boat back. The snorkel/boat is what we did and I highly recommend it. Nice to have the overview first. Food, service etc. was all fantastic.
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Date of experience: January 2020
markridler wrote a review Jan 2020
La Cala de Mijas, Spain467 contributions96 helpful votes
Really was a once in a life time experience taking the helicopter out to the outer reef. Spending two hours snorkelling and being in a sub for 15 minutes saw turtles sharks and loads of different fish. See photos but not to clear. We were lucky that the ocean was so clear on the
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Share wrote a review Jan 2020
Sydney, Australia4 contributions
Beautiful views from the helicopter. The great barrier reef is even more amazing from the sky. The pilot was very friendly and helped us spot some sea life from up above as well.
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Julian wrote a review Jan 2020
Warfield, United Kingdom2 contributions
To fly over the great barrier reef in a helicopter is amazing. To then land, be taken to a boat and then snorkle from there is even more special. This is one incredible trip which I highly recommend.
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Date of experience: January 2020
About the operator

Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator.

By: Nautilus Aviation
A Must Do While In Cairns
There is nothing like looking over the Great Barrier Reef than from the seat of a helicopter. It was a smooth journ
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Great Experience
I highly recommend Nautilus. It was my first time in a helicopter and it was such an amazing experience. The pilot
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A quick getaway
Amazing service from start to finish it’s great to see a company that does the 1% like circle back around an island
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Please review my enquire send by Gleny.
I booke the $496 experience and when I checked in I found out that there was no helicopter flight back available. P
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Attractions are excellent, just drive yourself
As the company didn’t provide pickup from our AirBnB we had to pay for an uber since the meeting spot was a 35 minu
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Reef to Cairns helicopter scenic flight
My partner and I took this flight as part of a Cruise/snorkel/helicopter flight Great Barrier Reef experience. We'
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From the professional team picking us up and dropping us off, to all of the activities in between - this adventure
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Savanna B
Incredible views, ride and staff!
You cannot put a price tag on the experience I had with Nautilus Aviation flying over the great barrier reef! The s
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Stunning views
We took a 30 minute rainforest scenic flight in July 2019. Booking was a simple phone call, and everything ran on
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Helicopter transfers to and from Orpheus Island
The helicopter pilots were outstanding. Safe, professional, on time. The helicopter was meticulously maintained.
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Grant C
Wow! Great way to kick off a holiday.
We flew into cairns airport and headed straight over to nautilus for the 45 minute reef and rainforest helicopter t
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The title says it all. From start to finish this was a great day. One piece of advice. Take the travel sickness pil
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Heli tour
Just back from 14 day circumnavigation of NZI and 30 day circumnavigation of Oz. One o& the highlights was snorkell
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Patricia T
I suggest you to do the flight from pontoon to Cairns. It's a 25 min flight where you can see few islands, reef cor
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Celebrate our anniversary with a GBR scenic flights
No regrets flying with nautilus in their good looking red helicopter. The pilot provides informative Commentary abo
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Key Details
  • Duration: 2–7 hours
  • Mobile Ticket Accepted
  • Free Cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
  • Instant Confirmation
  • Languages Offered: English
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Frequently Asked Questions about Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Tour and Cruise from Cairns