Experiencing A Helicopter Ride Over the Whitsunday Islands

Before I visited the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, I had conjured up images of sailing from island to island (74 in total), whilst sipping on cold beers and eating the freshest seafood imaginable.

Never had I considered seeing the Whitsunday Islands by helicopter, which offers a remarkable and unparalleled view of this tropical paradise.

The Whitsundays are known for their picturesque bays, warm tranquil waters, tiny forested islands and powdery white sand beaches that are considered some of the most amazing beaches in Australia.

girls giving peace signs while on a Helicopter Flight over the Whitsunday Islands,
Lorraine Murphy, Rosalie Coco and Caz.

Of course, you need to spend time sailing around and relaxing on the islands of the Whitsundays, but if you want to appreciate the enormity and intense beauty of the archipelago, then you’re going to need to take to the skies.

Here’s our experience on a helicopter flight of the Whitsunday Islands…

Disclaimer: We travelled to the Whitsunday Islands as guests of Tourism Queensland, but all thoughts, ideas and opinions in this guide are our own.

Our Helicopter Flight Over The Whitsundays Experience

Whitehaven Beach from above
World Famous Whitehaven Beach – 7km of pure white paradise!

I had always dreamed of visiting the world famous Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays, and while this dream came true, I never imagined I would get to experience it from above, in a helicopter.

In fact, our ride wasn’t intentional but more a happy accident, since to get to our accommodation on Hayman Island, the northernmost inhabited island of the Whitsundays, you can reach the island by one of two ways; by boat or, arrive in STYLE by helicopter.

You can guess what we did.

a helicopter on a landing pad

On the day of our helicopter flight, it was overcast with a few light showers, which isn’t the best weather conditions for a helicopter flight over The Whitsundays, but it’s not bad enough that flights are cancelled.

We did get the sun peaking its head out on occasion, which really made the landscape come alive once its illuminated in the sun’s glorious blaze.

If you can time your trip for a day of sunshine, then we highly recommend this. Not that clouds take away from the beauty of the area, but the sun does make it look more heavenly.

The other challenging aspect was taking photos. If you haven’t been in a helicopter before, it’s not always the smooth ride you see in movies. There was a little turbulence, which made it hard to take photos with the movement of the helicopter and shooting through the glass windows.

But all things considered, the beauty of this place left me in awe and I fell in love with Australia yet again.

There really is no better way to see the beauty of the Whitsunday Islands than from the air.

Whitehaven Beach & Hill Inlet: A Whitsunday Islands Helicopter Flight

overview of an island

We flew over many islands on the 75 minute flight on the way to Hayman. I was hoping we’d get to see Heart Reef, but that’s for another scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef.

Instead, we were able to see many other islands, including the star attraction, Whitehaven Beach. It’s just as beautiful as seeing it on the ground.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia
Whitehaven Beach

The feeling of soaring above the Whitsunday Islands in a helicopter was something I had never felt before.

Taking in the breathtaking aerial views of Whitehaven Beach and the surrounding pristine waters makes you truly appreciate the enormity of this region.

We didn’t get to land on this natural wonder, but we were going to visit it by boat another day, so we weren’t worried about this.

Simply being able to gaze upon the pristine sand and crystal-clear waters from a birds-eye perspective was a sight that only a fortunate few are able to witness, and I felt lucky to be one of them.

overview of an island
overview of a beach

After flying over Whitehaven Beach, we flew over Hill Inlet, located at the northern side of Whitehaven Beach.

The inlet is definitely best seen from above – seeing it from the ground doesn’t show you the beautiful mosaic of colors you get when the tides shift over the white sand beach.

aerial view of whitehaven beach
Awesome views of Whitehaven Beach
overview of a river
Hill Inlet, Whitehaven Beach

After flying over Hill Inlet, we continued on to our end destination on Hayman Island. I was sad when the flight was over, but I was ready to get on the ground and get up close to the beautiful landscapes I had just witnessed from the air.

Helicopter Tours of The Whitsundays

an island surrounded by water

You might be wondering which of the helicopter tours over The Whitsunday’s is right for you, since there are so many options to choose from.

Here is a quick run down of each one:

Helicopter Flights to The Heart Island

This tour takes you to the unique island known as Heart Island. Once you see it from above, you know why it receives this name.

The tour takes 4 hours and actually lands on the island, where you get a chance to sail and snorkel around the heart-shaped reef.

This flight has incredible views of The Great Barrier Reef.

Arlie Beach and Shute Harbour

If you want a short and sweet flight, then you can take a 20-minute helicopter ride over Arlie Beach and Shute Harbour, which departs from Shute Harbour Airport.

This flight gives you a brief glimpse of the enchanting reef systems of the Great Barrier Reef and to witness the beauty of the islands.

Whitehaven Beach From Above

aerial views of Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands
Looking towards Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach

Most people come to The Whitsundays to see Whitehaven Beach from above, and there are several tour options available for those people.

You can choose a 30-minute helicopter flight from Whitsunday Airport which takes you over Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island, and Hazelwood Island. You also get to see the beautiful Australia “Hill Inlet”.

a forested  island

This flight doesn’t land, but you can find tours that land on Whitehaven Beach and give you 1.5 hours or so to explore the beach on foot before going back.

Whitehaven Beach & Heart Reef

a beach

Ok so if we were to do a helicopter flight over The Whitsundays again, this is the option we would pick. This is basically the package that includes everything.

On a 2.5 hour helicopter flight, you get to fly over and land on Whitehaven Beach, as well as fly over the stunning Heart Island.

You also fly over the beautiful Shute Harbour, and see Molle Island, Hamilton Island, Hayman Island, Hill Inlet, Hook Reef, Bait Reef & Hardy Reef, Hook Island, and Long Island in the distance.

It really covers everything.

FAQs About Helicopter Flights Over The Whitsundays

An island in the middle of a body of water

Here are some frequently asked questions about helicopter flights over The Whitsundays…

Is A Helicopter Flight Over The Whitsunday’s Worth It?

Yes, we would 100% recommend flying over The Whitsunday Islands in a helicopter. This vantage point allows you to see the full 7km of Whitehaven Beach, see just how blue the Pacific Ocean is, and if you’re visiting in the right season, you may even spot a humpback whale, manta ray, and other marine life swimming in the waters.

What Should I Bring On A Helicopter Flight in The Whitsundays?

You only need to bring with you a camera, sunglasses, beach towel and sandals. Some helicopter flights land so you can enjoy Whitehaven Beach, in which case you’ll want to wear your swimsuit. If you are only taking a scenic helicopter tour of The Whitsundays without landing, the ride is only 75 minutes, so you don’t need to take too much with you.

Can Children Take Helicopter Flights Over The Whitsundays?

Most tour companies allow children over the age of 3 years old on their helicopter tours of The Whitsundays, but it will depend on the company, so it’s best to check in advance if you want to bring your children with you.

Final Thoughts

woman standing in front of a helicopter

If you ever get the opportunity to experience flying over Whitehaven Beach and the Whitsunday Islands, take it.

You get a whole new perspective and even greater appreciation for how beautiful this part of Australia really is.

Our helicopter flight was with Hamilton Island Air. They also offer a variety of scenic flights, particularly over Heart Reef and Hill Inlet / Whitehaven Beach.

You can also find scenic flights via Get Your Guide…

Is a helicopter flight over the Whitsundays on your Aussie bucket list? Tell us in the comments!

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