Our website uses cookies.

Sign up on TourScanner

Create an account to save tours, things to do and travel guides to your wishlist.
I agree to sign up to the newsletter and receive occasional email from TourScanner
By creating an account you agree to our terms and conditions and privacy policy.

Helicopter tours in Cairns

Cairns, Australia is home to some of the world’s most awe-inspiring sights including the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef - the world’s largest coral reef system and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

For a first time visitor to the area, seeing all of Cairns’ must see tropical locations in one trip can be a daunting task. That’s why a helicopter tour is the perfect way to introduce yourself to all of the natural beauty that Cairns has to offer. Whether you decide to opt for just a short flight or a combination luxury cruise package, you won’t come away disappointed!

What kinds of Helicopter tour packages are available in Cairns?

There are several types of Cairns helicopter tour packages available.

Helicopter flight-only tour package

There’s no better way to get a sense of the area’s truly awe-inspiring natural beauty than by jumping in a helicopter and taking a scenic tour of the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforest indigenous to Cairns. These tours last roughly an hour and include a guide who will provide detailed information to go along with what you’re seeing.

Combination helicopter tour and luxury cruise package

If you select one of the helicopter tour and cruise packages, then the scenic flight will only be a small but memorable part of your day-long adventure on the Great Barrier Reef. The rest of the day will be spent on a luxury catamaran as you jump from location to location along the Great Barrier Reef and take part in activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and more!

Helicopter pub tour

This one obviously isn’t for the kids, but if you’re planning a vacation with a few friends in Cairns, then a helicopter pub tour might be the perfect option for you. See pyramids, rainforest, and mountains on your way to Cairns’ most famous pubs including the Mountain View Hotel, the historic Peeramon Hotel, Mt. Uncle Distillery, and of course, The Billabong in Kuranda.

Secluded cay tour with private lunch

If you’ve got a little more money to spend, you may want to try out one of the private helicopter tours that feature stops at either Vlassof Cay or Turtle Beach. Once you’ve touched down, you’ll be treated to a private gourmet picnic lunch and plenty of swim time.

What is there to see on a helicopter tour around Cairns?

Thanks to Cairns’ tropical temperatures and natural beauty, there are plenty of things to see in a helicopter tour around the area.

Cairns City

As you take off from inside the city, there’s no way to avoid getting a beautiful view of Cairns in all its glory - and you wouldn’t want to anyway! Thanks to the Great Barrier Reef and the rainforests, Cairns’ own quaint beauty can sometimes be overlooked, but not here!

The Great Barrier Reef

Take a trip to Saxon Reef, Norman Reef, or one of the other world famous dive locations along the outer Great Barrier Reef. Take in the incredible view as you fly there in a helicopter, and see if you can spot exotic sea creatures like manta rays, turtles, and in the winter months, even whales.

The Rainforest

Pass over Barron Gorge National Park and get a view of the lush rainforest that dives into the majestic waterfalls of the Barron Gorge, then pass by the Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail Rainforest Cableway on your way to the mountain town of Kuranda.

Vlassof Cay or Turtle Beach

Take a private helicopter tour of the Great Barrier Reef and land on a secluded sand cay in the middle of the reef for a private catered lunch, and two hours of uninterrupted snorkeling and leisure time.

Famous Local Pubs

If you opt for a helicopter pub tour package, you’ll be treated to stops at some of Cairns cities oldest and most famous watering holes including the Mountain View Hotel, the historic Peeramon Hotel, Mt. Uncle Distillery, and of course, The Billabong in Kuranda.

Where do helicopter tours in Cairns depart from?

There are designated launchpads throughout Cairns City that are conveniently located and easy to find. With some packages, hotel pickup and drop off is also available, so you don’t even need to worry about having to find your adventure, it’ll come to you!

How much will I pay for a helicopter tour in Cairns?

The prices for helicopter tour packages in Cairns are a little bit all over the place, but expect to spend at least AUD 350. There are options for both flight-only packages and combination cruise packages available for that price.

How long will I spend in the air on a helicopter tour in Cairns?

Helicopter tour packages in Cairns come in all shapes and sizes, but expect to spend anywhere between 10 and 45 minutes in the air on a single scenic helicopter flight.

How many people can I bring with me on a helicopter tour in Cairns?

Helicopter tours in Cairns usually allow between 4 and 7 passengers. That means that there are packages available that should accommodate just about any family! For larger groups, the option for part of the group to take a cruise to the designated location and back is also usually available. You can even alternate!

Travel Tips

Because there are so many different options available for helicopter tours around the area of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, there are a number of things to keep in mind before booking your trip.

  • Make sure you know where your meeting point is. Some packages offer door to door hotel pickup and drop-off while others don’t and there are a number of different takeoff zones in Cairns. You don’t want to end up at the wrong location and miss your takeoff!
  • Due to the nature of the areas you’ll be visiting, tour itineraries are always subject to change without notice, depending on tide, wind, and other weather conditions.
  • Don’t forget to bring your passport or some other form of locally accepted identification.
  • If your helicopter package is part of a cruise or a private island lunch, don’t forget to bring swimwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a towel!