It was amazing! The staff were very friendly and helpful! It was the first time for us to go on snokerlying. And it was our first time to travel on a helicoptor. The view of the reef was amazing! My youngest son get to sit on the frong of the helicoptor, it was a wonderful experience for him.
This rating was difficult for me because right off the bat, Down Under Cruise and Dive were asking for money everywhere drinks, wetsuits, which you don't need, cameras, etc.. It really bugged us. We selected the all day cruise out and helicopter back w/Nautilus, the latter of which I HIGHLY recommend. In fact, due to unseasonable weather rough, rainy, the heli ride SAVED our trip.
On the way out, which takes at least 90 minutes, 3/4 of our boat was sick...and I mean sick, with the rest of the passengers simply green. The staff helped some, but it was a disaster due to weather. Very rocky. The first snorkeling area was rough and staff suggested many wear lifejackets, which wasn't conducive to floating on your stomach. Just take a noodle! The water was warmer than the air, and I didn't need a wetsuit even though I usually get cold.
Flying home was always planned, and required us to reserve weeks in advance since it fills up and only a few fit in the helicopters. If your budget allows it, DO IT, particularly if you're not much of a snorkeler. Even in bad weather, the view of the reefs is AMAZING, so I can only imagine what's it's like with the sun shining!
What bothered me the most was the nickel and dime approach to all the extras, even if weather was good. The lunch was okay, but most didn't eat much and the shrimp had to be peeled by the eater. A tip is to reconfirm your p/u location with the company. We were in Palm Cove and originally the choices didn't include our hotel but they all work together so check it out.
Finally, when I tried to confirm that the trip was still on we had rain, thunder and lightening all night w/o letting up, the phone rang then cut my line off. I suggest Viator recommend that each company should have a message on their machine rather than dropping calls before 7AM, no matter what the weather!
Best way to see the Reef! Yes, it is a little pricey, but it is totally worth it! If you are at all worried about getting sea-sick this is the way to go. Years ago I tried to view the reef from Cairns, but really had no idea of how long the boat ride was, and how choppy the waters could be. I tried taking precautions, but they didn't work, especially while trying to get some air but having to stand downwind from a cigar smoker! By the time we got to the reef for snorkeling, I couldn't even get in the water. Luckily we had another opportunity to see the Reef while at Hamilton Island, it was only by helicopter. At that time, we thought it was pricey, but less than the heli/cruise today! This time, I wasn't going to take a chance, and it worked out well. Seeing the GBR from the air is amazing in itself, something the cruises can't show you. The 25 minute ride was smooth, and closer to reaching the landing platform, the pilot explains what you are seeing. By the time you have been briefed on the equipment and procedures, you have about and hour and an a half of water/snorkeling time. It does go by quickly, but I noticed that some of the the passengers that had done the full day cruise and had already snorkeled in a different area, didn't stay in the water the whole time. Be prepared for beauty overload! The cruise back turned out to be fine, though we did have rough waters for just enough time to start to experience that feeling, but luckily, we weren't in it long. My advice to anyone who wants to have an amazing Reef Adventure, is to book this package. Nautilus Aviation was great, and the Down Under Cruise staff was too! If you think you won't have enough snorkel time, my advice is to do this one first and then if you need more, book another cruise.
Brought the whole family 5 of us on the helicopter / snorkeling / cruise combination tour on to the Great Barrier Reef. Informative commentary about the reefs by helicopter pilot was a real bonus as we flew out to Hastings reef. Snorkeling on the reef was wonderful seeing coral up close, we came with camera's for those once in a lifetime helicopter and underwater pics over and in the Barrier Reef. We welcomed the drinks and food provided especially after the snorkeling session on the very large boat called Evolution plus the professional and friendly service by crew was a credit to the operation. And a really nice and smooth cruise back to Cairns to wind down the tour. Recommend you put this on your MUST DO list, well worth the experience and service by this tour operator.
Die Kombination hin mit Schiff - zurück mit Hubschrauber ist absolut empfehlenswert!
Das absolute Hightlight war das Schnorcheln. Was man sonst nur vom Aquarium kennt, hat man hier live vor der Nase. So nah wie einem hier die Fische kommen, erlebt man Land die Tiere nicht. Dass es solch ein gutes Erlebnis wurde, lag aber auch an der Qualität der Ausrüstung und den kompetenten Betreuern. Vor Jahren hatte ich anderswo mit Billigausrüstung doch erhebliche Probleme. Auch der Tipp, dass man auch als Schwimmer ruhig eine Schwimmhilfe Schwimmnudel mitnehmen könnte, war Gold wert.
Auch für Profis wurde einiges geboten. Zum Beispiel konnte man Tauchen lernen. Zum Team gehörte auch eine Biologin, der man Fragen stellen konnte. Einer aus unserer Gruppe hat sich auch eine Unterwasserkamera ausgeliehen die SD-Karte durfte er dann mitnehmen, außerdem hat ein Fotograf Unterwasserfotos gemacht, die man hinterher erwerben konnte.
Der Hubschrauberflug war auch ein einmaliges Erlebnis. Ich hatte das Glück, vorne neben dem Piloten sitzen zu dürfen, wo man eine Super-Aussicht hatte. Der Boden war teilweise mit Glas. Der Hubschrauber ist auch nicht gleich direkt nach Cairns geflogen, sondern noch ein bisschen über dem Riff gekreist.
Meine Erwartungen an diesen Tag wurden bei weitem übertroffen! Danke an alle, die dazu beigetragen haben!