Great Barrier Reef scenic flight

Blog Post

Top Scenic Flights

TNQ Writer

From scenic flights over the Great Barrier Reef and the tropical rainforest to flying to an ancient aboriginal rock art site or undertaking an epic helicopter pub crawl, take to the sky on your Tropical North Queensland adventure.

Vlasoff Cay Heli Picnic

The white contrasts spectacularly with the blues of the sea

Spend two hours on the private sand cay

Picnic locations don't get much better

No commercial boats visit the cay so the only way to get here is via helicopter

A private sand cay ringed by cerulean waters and fringing reef awaits as the most incredible place to picnic. The only way to this jewel of the sea is via a scenic helicopter from Cairns where your flight in is as enjoyable of your time on the tiny island. Crack a celebratory bottle of bubbles as your picnic is laid out for you before testing the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Heli Pub Tour

The Billabong

A pub crawl with a twist

Mt Uncle Distillery

Walshs Pyramid

Experience a favourite Aussie pastime, the pub crawl, with a spin like no other. Depart from Cairns via helicopter to the Atherton Tablelands, past the iconic Walshs Pyramid, before touching down at the Mountain View Tavern for your first cold beer overlooking the Little Mulgrave River. Onwards and upwards over pristine Crater Lakes National Park and rolling hills of the tropical highlands stopping by quintessential Aussie pubs and a unique boutique distillery before a scenic flight home via the mighty Barron Falls and Gorge.

Great Barrier Reef

Nature's masterpiece

Sometimes things have to be seen to be believed and the sight of the Great Barrier Reef from above unfolding before your eyes is one of them. Each reef system transforms into a completely different sight, some dotted with islands or sand cays, others with whispers of white sand weaving their way between bommies out to the boundaries where the waves crash on the edge of the continental shelf. The diversity of blues will make your heart skip a beat in awe of its beauty and splendour.

Rainforest discovery

Nautilus Aviation Rainforest Scenic Flight over Barron Gorge

Lake Morris, Cairns

A rainforest dating back 120-million years is bound to invoke curiosity and wonder. Rivers snake their way through the carpet of green like the veins of the Earth while majestic mountain ranges enveloped by a sea of foliage climb towards the sky. It’s a sight to behold from above as your pilot shows off the ancient landscape in all its glory, past deep gorges and unique peaks, perhaps even landing atop of a hidden waterfall in the Daintree.

Reef to rainforest

Reef and rainforest of Cape Tribulation

Whoever said “blue and green should never be seen” has obviously never come to the Tropical North where the blue of the sea collides with the green of the rainforest in a stunning natural fusion. Take in the best of both worlds with highlights of the reef and rainforest from a view that only birds have been lucky enough to observe for thousands of years.

Jarramali Rock Art Tours

Visit a 20,000 year old rock art gallery

Best seat in the house

Incredible views

Discover what true connection to country feels at a remote outback location north of Cairns with Jarramali Rock Art Tours. Your one-hour helicopter flight over rugged the outback lands at an exclusive location that will take your breath away, perched atop a sandstone escarpment overlooking steep cliff-faces and a deep gorge filled with eucalypt forest. A gourmet spread of seafood or a classic Aussie damper cooked over hot coals is to be savoured whilst chatting with a local Traditional Custodian.

Reflect on the deep history of the ancient landscape and its people as your Kuku Yalanji guide teaches you about the local bush foods and medicines on your way down to the 20,000-year-old Magnificent Rock Art Gallery exhibiting approximately 450 separate paintings. This intimate experience is guaranteed to stay with you for life.

Cobbold Gorge

Cobbold Gorge from above

Fly over Roberston Gorge

Fractured land of the Hampstead Sandstone Conglomerate

Cobbold Gorge from below

Carving its way through the Gulf Savannah is a hidden gorge surrounded by 30-foot sandstone cliffs separated only by a narrow two-metres in some parts. From below, the cliffs tower above you rising from the still waters; from above, the millions of years of layering of sediment solidifying to sandstone becomes apparent as the gorge weaves its way through a remarkable fractured landscape.

Customise your helicopter experience to include gem fossicking at nearby Agate Creek, a heli-fish adventure in search of the prized barramundi or a sunset picnic atop of a sandstone escarpment.

Lizard Island

Flying into Lizard Island

If you’re all about coupling a flight over the Great Barrier Reef with an ultra-luxurious getaway then Lizard Island is your answer. As the northern-most resort on the Great Barrier Reef, the only way to get here is to take to the sky – deep sapphire waters flecked with the turquoise of the shallower reefs blanketing your view below. A luxury resort awaits your arrival with only 40 suites and villas and 24 private beaches to explore at your own leisure. Leaving would be more difficult if it weren’t for the anticipation of your flight back to Cairns over the World Heritage wonder.

Trip to the tip

Tip of Cape York

A trip to Cape York is a bucket list item for many travellers, most spending weeks preparing and making the arduous journey north through a tapestry of challenging 4WD tracks. If time is a luxury you can’t afford, there is a simpler but by no means less appealing route north – via the world’s longest scenic flight. Complete with your own friendly local tour guide, this adventure to the northernmost point of the continent takes in the scenes of Cape York Peninsula including the pure white silica sands of Cape Flattery, rainforest clad mountains and winding rivers, finishing with a 4WD journey and short walk to the official sign confirming you have reached your destination.

Nautilus Aviation HeliFish

Visit exclusive locations in search of prized species

Why waste precious fishing time driving a boat when you take to the sky with Nautilus Aviation and visit exclusive fishing sites including a floating pontoon via means of a helicopter. Anglers are able to target prized species including barramundi, mangrove jack, giant trevally, mackerel and coral trout and enjoy the spectacular scenery from beaches to rainforest and of course, over the Great Barrier Reef.

Jaques gyrocopter

Jaques Coffee Plantation aerial

If you’ve had your caffeine fix from locally grown coffee beans at Jaques Coffee Plantation and you’re looking for something to spike your adrenaline then there’s a seat waiting for you on the Jaques gyrocopter. Take to the sky over the coffee plantation and surrounds or head further afield to Lake Mitchell where birds make the wetlands home and fish can be spotted from the air.

Atherton Tablelands Hot Air Balloon

Hot air ballooning overlooking the Lamb Ranges

Sunrise from the air

Fly over symmetrical farmlands on the Atherton Tablelands

Sunrise has never been more memorable as you rise with the first golden rays of the day on a hot air balloon. Launching from Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands, you’ll soar above manicured farms, winding creeks and bushlands that look like a miniature world below alive with the morning activity of people and wildlife. Spot wallabies bounding through the scrub below or toy-like cars weaving through the streets before touching down at a separate location for departure.

Create your own journey

Flying into Burketown

Kalkani Crater Undara Volcanic National Park

You decide where the day takes you

Got a taste for the sky or want to inject your own unique spin on a trip? Maybe you’re after an epic outback adventure to catch the sunrise at Karumba before fishing your way through the Gulf Savannah, or perhaps you’re on a photography mission and need to head somewhere off the beaten track. Whatever your reason, there’s always the option to customise your own charter flight to cater exactly for your desires.


You’ve seen it from above, now it’s time to discover from below.

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