June 22, 2022

How To See Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef Australia: Helicopter Tour

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Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef are two of the most iconic natural wonders of Australia. In this blog we will share how to best see these gems – from your own private helicopter!

Whitehaven Beach was recently voted Australia’s best beach, and one of the best in the world, thanks to its long stretch of empty, pristine white sand beach with calm lapping turquoise waters. Heart Reef is another must-see attraction that is part of the Great Barrier Reef. Its naturally formed heart shape is stunning, set among turquoise and emerald waters of the surrounding reef system.

How To Get To Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef

Both Whitehaven and Heart Reef are found on the northeast coast of Queensland Australia, most accessible from the town of Airlie Beach on the mainland or from the Whitsunday Islands.

You can reach these sites via flights into Proserpine Airport, which will have you landing around 20min drive from the town of Airlie Beach, the region’s central hub. It’s from Airlie Beach that you can stay on the mainland and access these spots (as well as The Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef) through boat tours or scenic flights. 

Another option is to fly into Hamilton Island, which is one of the Whitsunday islands that puts you closer to the action. It’s from Hamilton Island that Chesh and I organised our one-hour helicopter tour with Hamilton Island Air to see Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef (since they are literally minutes away by air).

Helicopter over Whitehaven Beach

Heart Reef

Leaving Hamilton Island the chopper took us over nearby islands of The Whitsundays with plenty of scenic views before we hit a 10 minute stretch of ocean preceeding the Great Barrier Reef. As soon as you see the outline of the reef, have your cameras ready for the stunning mosaic of the reef system. Finally approaching heart reef, we were able to circle it twice and take in the perfection of this natural creation before heading back towards Whitehaven Beach.

TIP: We took a late morning tour and the sun glare was behind us as we viewed heart reef (with the heart facing towards us) by air. Try not to go too early or late on your flight to make sure you get bright beautiful colours. 

Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Heart Reef, Australia

Whitehaven Beach

Then approaching Whitehaven Beach you’ll see the 7km stretch of white silica sand beach with the iconic Hill Inlet located at the northern end. Hill Inlet is best seen by air and the views from the helicopter far surpassed the views from the ground at the Hill Inlet lookout. Taking a pass over the landscape of blue and white hues created by shifting white sands was honestly breathtaking. 

Then as if we needed more, the helicopter landed right on Whitehaven Beach where we couldn’t see another soul and had a private champagne picnic and swim!

Whitehaven Beach, Australia
Whitehaven Beach, Australia

Best Time To Visit Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef

The Whitsundays region is sub-tropical, meaning there’s humid summers and warm winters. The summer months have warmer temperatures (with highs of around 30 degrees C) as well as higher humidity and rainfall. The winter months are still pleasantly warm (highs in the low 20s) and are much drier. 

Personally, we prefer visiting the Whitsundays in the shoulder months of June and September. Generally the days are warm, the nights are cool and there are less showers to contend with. I’d also suggest checking the weather to choose a clear, cloudless day (if possible) so you can enjoy all the vivid colours of the beach and reef. The forecast is not always guaranteed in the tropics but it’s a special experience either way.

Does this blog make you want to book a flight to the Whitsundays? Check out our recent blog, Sailing the Whitsundays. You can also check out our other blogs here.

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