We are local residents of Airlie Beach and decided to treat ourselves to a 5 star tour of the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach.
Everything they promised was delivered efficiently and with style.
Check in was simple in a modern terminal. We took off from Airlie strip at Flametree on time after Drew, our pilot explained our schedule and route and ran through a safety briefing. Our seaplane had 6 passengers and we chose the perfect day for weather - blue skies, light winds and low tide on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).
Drew gave an excellent commentary of local facts, tour highlights and history, centred on the beautiful Whitsunday Islands and the World Heritage Listed GBR and ensured that both sides of the plane had opportunities to photograph the GBR and its highlights of Heart Reef and Reef World.
We landed in the lagoon at Hardy Reef and taxied to the Air Whitsunday "semi-submersible" glass bottom boat which was anchored there for our use. We were the only ones there and watched the fantastic fish life and coral through the glass bottom boat as we travelled to our snorkelling area. Everything was supplied – good quality snorkel, face mask, flippers, floatation noodles and optional stinger suits (which we all wore). This sheltered area had warmer water than the general sea temperature and we spent an hour in the water watching an amazing array of fish, including the fabulous parrot fish, brightly coloured coral and large clams. It even had two moored resting stations.
When we boarded the dive boat again, Drew served us Australian sparkling wine and nibbles and we transferred back onto our Air Whitsunday sea plane for the 20 minute flight over the GBR, various Whitsunday islands and clear blue waters to the stunning Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach on the largest island, Whitsunday Island.
I have previously reviewed Whitehaven but continue to be amazed by its crystal clear water, pure fine white silica sand and array of sea planes, helicopters, deep water cruisers and daily tour boats. Drew's landing was flawless and he taxied us to the beach in shallow water for an hour of swimming, sunbaking and more sparkling wine and nibbles.
We then flew the short hop back to Airlie Beach and landed smoothly on time.
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