After seeing incredible pictures with deep shades of blue, flying over the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef seemed a dream to me. I didn’t think I would be able to do this anytime soon until I finally set my heart on going to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays for a few days.
After booking the flying experience on Backpackers Deals, I was thrilled to know I would be flying over this blue paradise in October 2017 and finally see the oh-so-famous heart reef!
Discover my full experience below and why you should totally do it!
Seamless arrival at Whitsunday Airport
The plane company came directly to my hotel and also picked up other flying enthusiasts where they were staying, all of this for free! The little trip to the airport is quite pleasant and quick, and once arriving the excitement is really picking up. You can have a sneak peek of the little planes waiting for you. I just couldn’t wait to see what was next!
Before getting on the plane
Hang on, you can’t just jump on the plane and that’s it! There are a few things to know first but promise, they are very quick. First seating is already decided by the aeroplane crew but don’t worry, everyone will get a window seat no matter what. And if you get a little bit lucky (like me), you’ll get the copilot seat which is also very cool! You’ll also go through a few safety things, such as wearing a special belt with a lifejacket (mandatory as we are flying over the ocean) and how to use the seat belt as well as the headphones (which the pilot talks through during the flying.) Very easy and off we go!
This is the most amazing feeling from start to end. The take-off is actually super smooth and fun, quite different from big planes, of course, feels a lot lighter. It’s also quite fun with the headphones hearing the pilot talk through what he is doing, what we are seeing and when he talks to the control tower…
But let’s get to the real thing: it is one hour of pure beauty and amazing views. You’ll first discover the Whitsunday Islands where you can see Hamilton Island and Whitehaven Beach. So beautiful and unique, the pilot said every day looks different. We have the chance to pass Whitehaven Beach twice so that each side of the plane sees it clearly.
And then after a 10-minute relaxing ride, we are over the Great Barrier Reef or Outer Reef as they call it. Such a contrast from the islands and I think the best part of the flight! The colours and the shapes are just unbelievable. And the best part is yet to come… the famous Heart Reef! It is a bit smaller than I expected as I’ve seen many zoomed photos of it but nonetheless magnificent! Same as Whitehaven Beach, we had the opportunity to pass it twice so each side of the plane could see it.
Make sure to take a good camera or a good phone to take pictures with because you really want to remember this moment forever. The shades of blue speak for themselves! And the good news is because you have a full hour, you really have time to enjoy and take pictures.
Finally for those who are a bit scared of getting in a small plane, don’t be! The ride was so much smoother than I expected and it’s not scary at all. It is noisy but with the headphones, it’s really fine.
On the way back already
One hour of observing one of the world’s wonders goes fast but you do have time to enjoy it and it doesn’t feel like 10 minutes. So sit back and relax for the last bit of the flight and enjoy the last views and blue horizon. The landing is also very smooth and believe me, once you’re back on land, you just want to do it all again!
So overall, it’s really an experience of a lifetime when visiting the Whitsundays. It was without a doubt the highlight of my journey there and I would not hesitate to jump back on the plane! The best combination for the ultimate trip to the Whitsundays would be the flying + sailing experience and you’ll have the best overview of the islands and reef.