On a recent Family trip to Airlie Beach, Australia we had planned a scenic Reef and Whitehaven Sea Plane tour. We had Chosen to go with Air Whitsunday who offer the scenic 1 hour flight from a sea plane over the Whitsunday Island’s including Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach and parts of the Great Barrier Reef where famous Heart Reef is located. Other companies offer similar trips via Helicopter but as I had never been in a Sea Plane, Air Whitsunday were the favourite.
Right from the word go the company were incredibly helpful, taking calls from my mother and I to try to fit the trip in around our itinerary needs as we had missed out on our preferred day on the online booking system.
The airport was less than 5 minute drive from Airlie Beach and we were welcomed and booked in by reception staff before sitting down to a safety video. Shortly after we met our pilot who showed us a map and pointed out the route we would be taking. Then, it was on to the run way to board our little sea plane.
The take off was surprisingly smooth for such a small plane and within seconds we had left the runway and were looking out over Airlie Beach, Abell Point Marina and the outlaying islands of the Whitsunday’s nestled in the glimmering turquoise waters. The pilot commentated as we passed various islands and resorts including Daydream Island and Hamilton Island.
The real treat came as we approached the Great Barrier Reef. The waters turned into a mass of blue and green patterns as we passed over the underwater world. The reefs consisted of Bait Reef, Hook Reef, Hardy Lagoon and finally Heart Reef.
Although smaller than I had imagined, Heart Reef was so perfectly heart shaped. After viewing Heart Reef from two different angles the Sea Plane did a brief land and take-off on the water. Again, this was so smooth it wasn’t until i saw the water spraying from the sides of the plane that i realised we had landed on the water. How cool!? There are other tours where you can disembark the plane on the beaches.
Next, the plane headed back towards Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet. Having seen Hill Inlet from the popular view point on land it was even more spectacular from above as the swirls of colour appeared even more prominent and the water meandered it’s way back through the Island.
As the plane headed back to the airport i appreciated the serenity of the trip, even with the earmuffs muffling the sound of a very small aircraft in motion, there is something very calming about the whole experience.
Next time you visit the Whitsunday’s, opt to appreciate it from the sky, you won’t be sorry!