May 29, 2017

Flying Through the Whitsunday Skies on a Reef and Island Scenic Flight

Flying Through the Whitsunday Skies on a Reef and Island Scenic Flight . Anna Johnston -

Monday’s are BREATHTAKING and AMAZING and INSPIRING and BEAUTIFUL in the Whitsundays, especially when the good people at GSL Aviation kindly allowed me to hitch a ride on a Reef and Island scenic flight.

Flying Through the Whitsunday Skies on a Reef and Island Scenic Flight . Anna Johnston -

Just another Monday in the Whitsundays 😎

Flying Through the Whitsunday Skies on a Reef and Island Scenic Flight . Anna Johnston -

Make today so AWESOME that yesterday gets jealous!

I know this is winter because the calendar tells me so, but for me it feels more like an endless summer with warm tropical breezes and blue skies dotted with fluffy white clouds that go on forever, perfect to see all the highlights of the Whitsundays in One. Big. Gulp!!!

Flying Through the Whitsunday Skies on a Reef and Island Scenic Flight . Anna Johnston -

Cyclone Debbie who??? The Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef are looking great! 👌🏻✈️🚁

Chuffed as to find myself with a ticket earmarked as Co-Pilot, I scored the seat up the front of the plane beside Jimmy the pilot who kept us all informed on the amazing scenes below as we flew over most of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays, Whitehaven Beach and the renowned Hill Inlet.

Flying Through the Whitsunday Skies on a Reef and Island Scenic Flight . Anna Johnston -

Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet, AMAZING!!! 🙌

Not gonna lie friends, the squeals of delight were heard by everyone  as we buzzed over the famous Heart Reef which is nestled amongst the bright colours and patterns of Hardy Reef.

Flying Through the Whitsunday Skies on a Reef and Island Scenic Flight . Anna Johnston -

The Heart of the Whitsundays 💙

The Heart Reef is a natural formation of coral in the shape of a heart which was discovered in 1975 by one of the Air Whitsunday’s pilots.  As you are unable to snorkel or dive at the site due to it’s protected status, it must be experienced from the air. Hands down this reef and island scenic flight was one of the most magical experiences of my life, seeing such an amazing place from the sky really proved to be an extraordinary experience which in my humble opinion every one MUST cross off their travel bucket list.

Flying Through the Whitsunday Skies on a Reef and Island Scenic Flight . Anna Johnston -

Home is where the heart is 💙

A small moment of heart tugging emotion welled inside as we flew over an almost unrecognizable cyclone damaged brown blob that is Daydream Island, but before we knew it Jimmy had me gawking in wonder and just like a kid in a candy shop my mood returned to wonder and joy.

Flying Through the Whitsunday Skies on a Reef and Island Scenic Flight . Anna Johnston -

The colours of the Great Barrier Reef 🙌

If you only have a short time in the Whitsundays, or even if you’re like me and call this place home, I totally and absolutely recommend taking an hour out of your life for this INCREDIBLE experience, it is an amazing way to see the Great Barrier Reef in all her glory and the Whitsundays properly.

So tell me Dear Reader, has winter settled in for those of you in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere? Have you been ticking things off your travel bucket list this year? And who’s booking a reef and island scenic flight when they are next in the Whitsundays? 

Flying Through the Whitsunday Skies on a Reef and Island Scenic Flight . Anna Johnston -

It doesn’t get much better than seeing the reef from above! Did you know that the Great Barrier Reef is approximately the same area as Italy, Germany, Malaysia or Japan?

shenANNAgans was a guest of GSL Aviation but all opinions remain her own. See website below for tour options that start at $119.00 per person.

GSL Aviation

Whitsunday Airport, Shute Harbour Rd, Flametree, QLD 4870
Phone: 1300 475 247 or 07 4946 9097

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shenANNAgans is Anna Johnston, a 30 - something Aussie gal with an unwavering passion for the Hospitality industry. I love the quirky and unusual, designing events, travelling far and wide and eating food from all around the world. I am coffee blooded, a craft beer enthusiast, wine drinking yogi who enjoys writing about her adventures.

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Danijela - September 24, 2017 Reply

This must have been one great experience! I mean, look at those photos. Such a beautiful landscape. And the colors of the sea and the sky… Oh, breath taking!
The Heart Reef really looks amazing. This is certainly an adventure one should consider having. 🙂

Marion Halliday - September 24, 2017 Reply

I’m such a flight tragic (the unkind would call that ‘paranoic’) that I’d only do a scenic flight of any kind it was a totally perfect day with no strong winds or threats of thunderstorms. Luckily, it looks like the Whitsundays has got that covered – STUNNING photos, although I’m sad to hear about Daydream – visited there on my previous Whitsundays tour and thought it was paradise on earth. But it will be again 😀

Anne Slater-Brooks - September 23, 2017 Reply

Having dived and sailed around the Whitsundays I can honestly say they are one of the most beautiful places I have been. I did not however do the plane and having seen this, I definitely would when I finally return.

Sreekar - September 17, 2017 Reply

Seeing your awesome, pictures I regret not flying over the reef. Never realised Turquoise could have so many shades. When I had been there a cyclone had hit a week earlier, but still the waters were perfect for diving and the corals and marine life seemed teeming! So guess it did not affect that much. Great collection!

Megan Jerrard - September 11, 2017 Reply

The WhitSundays from above is probably the most spectacular way to enjoy the scenery! I don’t know why, but the birds eye view always brings out the true beauty of a place! Definitely can’t tell it’s winter from your photos! GSL Aviation sound great – so cool that you got a seat at the front of the plane!

Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet are incredible, obviously! It’s incredible that you can see such a distinct outline of the coral reef as you keep flying. Definitely a must do!

    Anna - September 12, 2017 Reply

    It is Meg, thinking about it to this day gives me goosebumps. Seriously one of the most magical and awe-inspiring hours of my life. When you are next up here, I do hope that you get on a flight with GSL… Ill be coming with you. 🙂

Jody - September 11, 2017 Reply

I had no idea the Great Barrier Reef was the size of Japan! Also, I’d never heard of Whitsundays. Those islands and reefs look incredible. They must be protected. Are they? Thanks for putting this on my bucket list. The destination and the scenic flight!

    Anna - September 12, 2017 Reply

    Jody, I do hope you get to come and visit my magical, amazing, beautiful and inspiring little tropical paradise. I can’t recommend seeing this part of the world highly enough. Seriously girl… its INCREDIBLE. Also, yes to the area being protected!

Queen Suebah - September 11, 2017 Reply

WOW! Just WOW that aqua blue water really is something else! What a treat we get to call this beautiful tropical paradise home, and that all that is in our very own backyard! 🙂

    Anna - September 11, 2017 Reply

    Yep… cant remember ever being happier in life than I have since living in this beautiful part of the world. Something about the light makes the blues in the sky and water just POP! 🙂

Mags - September 11, 2017 Reply

Wow! That water is stunning. Who knew the Whitsundays were even more gorgeous from above.

    Anna - September 11, 2017 Reply

    Yes, it was truly one of the most magical and incredible experiences of my life. WOWZA!!! <3

Sarah - September 10, 2017 Reply

What an incredible experience, Co-pilot Anna! Those photos are just stunning, the colour of the sea and the reefs is just unbelievably blue. I will check this out for sure if I am ever in this area – $119 for views like that seems like a total bargain to me. You are really lucky to live in this part of the world. Thanks for sharing such an amazing travel memory!

    Anna - September 11, 2017 Reply

    Yeah, i thought the price for such an incredible experience was good also. Def one I would recommend to people who are only in the area for a short time. Glad you enjoyed the post Sarah. 🙂

Jennifer Melroy - September 6, 2017 Reply

Look at those island views. I bet the snorkeling and diving here is amazing.

    Anna - September 11, 2017 Reply

    Yeah, some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world is to be had at the GBR. Hope you can come for a visit some time soon Jennifer. 🙂

David - August 23, 2017 Reply

Wow! That is a spectacular view! The Great Barrier reef looks awesome.

    Anna - August 24, 2017 Reply

    If you are ever in this neck of the woods, totes recommend you get on a scenic flight. It was by far one of the most magnificent experiences I have ever had. The GBR is INCREDIBLE!!!

Arnav Mathur - June 15, 2017 Reply

Breathtaking photos of mesmerizing views. Kind of reminds me of the flight from Male to Maamigilli in Maldives. Pristine blue waters everywhere and then these islands surrounded by reefs. Did you try out snorkeling or scuba diving too?

    Anna - June 15, 2017 Reply

    Yeah, I’ve heard that a lot, many people say the Whitsunday’s are similar looking to the Maldives. I sure am lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world, even more that I got to witness the area from the sky. 🙂

Genie Patra - June 15, 2017 Reply

omg those views are insane! the color of the water is perfect. did you get motion sick at all in the small plane?

    Anna - June 15, 2017 Reply

    They really, really are huh Genie! 🙂 And couldn’t agree more re the picture perfect colour of the water.
    No, I don’t get motion sickness – thank goodness! 🙂

Anita Hendrieka - June 14, 2017 Reply

I have wanted to visit the Whitsundays for so long now! Reading your post has confirmed I am making it a priority for next year. Great post!

    Anna - June 17, 2017 Reply

    You MUST, MUST, MUST come visit. Hola if you do, too, alright?! 🙂

Carmen Edelson - June 14, 2017 Reply

WOW, it looks absolutely breathtaking! What an incredible way to see this beautiful part of the world. I’d definitely treat myself to something like this for a special occasion. Thanks for sharing and happy travels 🙂

    Anna - June 17, 2017 Reply

    Yes, it was one of the most spectacular experiences of my life, so much fun!!!
    And I cannot recommend it highly enough, seeing the Whitsundays from above is an incredible way to do it.

Chris - June 14, 2017 Reply

It feels criminal that I’m an Aussie who has never seen The Whitsundays, and this just makes my crime more evident.

While I don’t think I’ll be flying over it any time soon, I think I might need to try and squeeze it in to my next trip home.

    Anna - June 17, 2017 Reply

    Hahaha… yep, pretty uncool you haven’t been for a visit Chris. Best make that a priority. Lol! 🙂

Nancy - June 14, 2017 Reply

Thanks for the tour of the Whitsunday Islands. And from the co-pilot seat – lucky you! I’m hoping to visit later this year and appreciate the sneak peek.

    Anna - June 17, 2017 Reply

    Such fun being able to sit up front with the pilot, and all the YES to you visiting later this year. Hola when you are in town. 🙂

Juliette | Snorkels to Snow - June 14, 2017 Reply

How incredible! I would have been sqealing with delight too if that had been me on that flight! Those colours…just incredible. I’m gearing up for the ski season here in NZ – it’s most definitely winter here! But boy would I love to escape to the Whitsundays…

    Anna - June 17, 2017 Reply

    Yep, its a pretty spectacular part of the world. Very lucky I am to call it home. Happy snow season, you’ll need to come for a visit to thaw out.

Suruchi - June 13, 2017 Reply

Gosh! If its that surreal and magical in pictures, how awesome it will be in real life. All this looks like postcards. I think these views have already tranquilized me. Still wish to see these from height in real.

    Anna - June 17, 2017 Reply

    Well Suruchi…. it sounds like a visit to the Whitsundays and flight is in your future. 🙂

Divyakshi Gupta - June 13, 2017 Reply

Omg! Such absolutely stunning views. If the pictures are so surreal, I can’t imagine how it would be in real! I was lost and mesmerised by the views 🙂 the blue is sheer love<3

    Anna - June 13, 2017 Reply

    Yes Divyakshi, I spent the whole hour absolutely gobsmacked by the beauty of the reef. It was such an incredible experience, seeing it from the air was I think one of the most magical ways to take it ALL in. 🙂

Tarah Vongbouthdy - June 13, 2017 Reply

Wow those pictures are amazing!! Im sure it was even better in person. What a great experience- would love to see it for myself!

    Anna - June 13, 2017 Reply

    Why thank ya Tarah! I appreciate you saying you enjoyed my pictures. Seeing the reef in all its glory was so wonderful, I loved every minute of it. If you are up this way, I absolutely recommend checking it out.

Cat - June 13, 2017 Reply

wow this is such a scenic flight! Lucky you for getting the chance to see Great Barrier Reef from above! If I ever go to Whitsundays, I will definitely sign up for this!

    Anna - June 13, 2017 Reply

    I am totally and absolutely lucky to be able to experience the scenic flight with GSL, it was incredible!
    And YES, you really, really must check it out. Def not something you will ever forget. 🙂

Drew - June 13, 2017 Reply

Normally, I would say that reefs like those in Australia are best explored underwater. But doing the aerial tour looks pretty nice too, especially since some of the reefs are protected. What an amazing experience and those photos are gorgeous. Definitely makes me want to take some time this year and head down to Australia!

    Anna - June 13, 2017 Reply

    Doooooo it Drew, book your flights down under stat and come visit us in the Whitsundays. 🙂

Ryazan - June 13, 2017 Reply

OH MY GOODNESS!!! Upon reading your blog post, it makes me want to teleport to this location in the Great Barrier Reef! So beautiful!

So stunning images! Seems like you really had a fab day! 🙂

    Anna - June 13, 2017 Reply

    Haha… I wish for teleportation often. Hopefully that is something they figure out soon. 🙂
    Thanks re the photos too, glad you enjoyed them.

RaW | Ramble and Wander - June 13, 2017 Reply

Queensland and the GBR are definitely on my list! Certainly wouldn’t mind hitching a ride as well like you just did! Haha! 😉 Having said that, I’m pleasantly surprised that the starting price is quite affordable considering the priceless views that you’re going to get from above.

    Anna - June 13, 2017 Reply

    The starting price with GSL is amazing! 🙂 I hope you get to ticking QLD and the GBR off your list super soon. 🙂

Natasha - June 12, 2017 Reply

This is absolutely amazing!! I would love to do something like this. Your pictures are incredible

    Anna - June 13, 2017 Reply

    Get on it Natasha! Def one to tick off the travel bucket list. 🙂

Darlene | Point and Shoot + Wanderlust - June 12, 2017 Reply

Wow! Those views are amazing! Although the thought of flying in a small plane scares me, those views surely are a great motivation!

    Anna - June 13, 2017 Reply

    They are Darlene, they are absolutely stunning. 🙂 The plane wasn’t scary at all, and I reckon that seeing the reef in all its glory would totally take your mind off being scared.

Christina Pfeiffer - June 12, 2017 Reply

The Whitsundays is one of my favourite places in Queensland. And seeing it from the air is extra special. I cruised around in a yacht with some friends a few years back. It was magical!

    Anna - June 13, 2017 Reply

    Here, here Christina. I agree wholeheartedly. 🙂 Hope you are headed back to the Whitsundays again some time soon.

Elaine J Masters - June 12, 2017 Reply

So frigging beautiful! I’d love to see those areas and it tweaked my scuba divers heart to learn you can only ‘visit’ most by flying over.

    Anna - June 13, 2017 Reply

    Hahaha… Yeah it is, its SO frigging beautiful, I love that I get to call this part of the world home. 🙂
    Guess you will have to take the scenic flight lovely one, there are a lot of amazing places to dive at the reef too.

Indrani - June 12, 2017 Reply

Whoa! This is indeed a wonderful nature’s creation. To spot it from high above can be thrilling.What a discovery by the alert pilot.

    Anna - June 13, 2017 Reply

    YEAH… seeing the reef from above was absolutely incredible. An experience I recommend everyone doing. 🙂

Carol Perehudoff - June 12, 2017 Reply

The Whitsundays look like a place to daydream about, and I enjoyed learning about your gorgeous home. I read this post in One. Big. Gulp.

    Anna - June 13, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for stopping by Carol, the Whitsundays are one of the most magical places on the planet, def recommend a visit one day soon. 🙂

Jean - June 11, 2017 Reply

Oh wow what a fun experience. Such a great way to explore the area. You’ve got some amazing photos of the beautiful blue water.

    Anna - June 11, 2017 Reply

    It was such a magical way to see my home in all its glory. If you get to the Whitsundays, I can absolutely recommend a scenic flight. AMAZING!

Paul - June 11, 2017 Reply

Somewhere I’d love to visit one day! The photos look great but I’m sure aren’t a patch on seeing it all first hand. Love the heart also!

    Anna - June 11, 2017 Reply

    Yep, the heart reef sure is a beauty! Hope you can come visit us in the Whitsundays some time soon.

Tim UrbanDuniya - June 9, 2017 Reply

How gorgeous! This one is definitely on the bucket list… and so true that home is where the <3 is!

    Anna - June 11, 2017 Reply

    Come visit me stat Tim, the food is fab, the coffee pretty delish and the sights magical.

Jem @ Lost in Utensils - June 7, 2017 Reply

Those photos are just amazing Anna. I would love to do something like this. Some of this landscape has been through hell but is still one of the most beautiful places on earth. You are blessed.

    Anna - June 11, 2017 Reply

    It’s amazing just how well the area has bounced back since the cyclone. I didn’t see the area prior to the storm, so can’t compare, but I reckon it’s even more amazingly beautiful because it survived.

Ala - June 5, 2017 Reply

OMG these photos are STUNNING! What an adventure!! I am insanely glad for you and your awesome experiences–I can’t believe what a gorgeous landscape you got to take in on your flight. So glad to be seeing this and catching up on your latest updates! <3

    Anna - June 6, 2017 Reply

    Thanks so much gurlfren. 🙂 I am so pleased you enjoyed hanging out with me in the skies above my home. It is a magnificent part of the world and Im super lucky to call it home. Hope you are kicking 2017 goals lady, havent seen you about the blog world for a while. Hugs and loves. xo

My Inner Chick - June 5, 2017 Reply

Absolutely breathtaking and mind-blowing, Anna! xx

    Anna - June 6, 2017 Reply

    It was Kimmy, it REALLY really REALLY was. 🙂

Sue Slaght - June 2, 2017 Reply

Anna this is remarkable! The water colour is the things magical day dreams are made of. Be assured should we come back to Australia I am looking into this scenic flight. Take me straight to Heart island please and thank you!

    Anna - June 6, 2017 Reply

    WOW, thanks heaps for saying so Sue, that is quiet the compliment coming from you. 🙂 YES… if you do come back to Australia, I want in on the visit list.

Tandy | Lavender and Lime - June 1, 2017 Reply

Oh wow, that is an amazing experience. What a great view 🙂

    Anna - June 6, 2017 Reply

    Yeah it was Tandy, one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. 🙂

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - June 1, 2017 Reply

I’m in denial about the cold weather! Love your dress and outfit in that pic-you look retro chic! 😀

    Anna - June 6, 2017 Reply

    Thanks my lady, its a fave dress thats for sure. 🙂

John/Kitchen Riffs - June 1, 2017 Reply

Co-Pilot? Score! Terrific pictures, and sounds like a terrific time. Really fun read — thanks.

    Anna - June 6, 2017 Reply

    I know right?! Was sooooo much fun being sat up front of the plane. Had a blast I did. 🙂

Denise Browning - May 31, 2017 Reply

Lucky you! What a STUNNING place and great adventure. I wish I would not live so far away to go on a flight. Thanks for sharing! You made me jealous though. 🙂

    Anna - June 6, 2017 Reply

    I am incredibly lucky to have been able to experience this amazing flight over the reef and islands. I wish you didnt live so far away too, would be fun to hang out and show off my amazing home. 🙂

Liz (Good Things) - May 30, 2017 Reply

Wow, what an experience. So beautiful. Go gal!

    Anna - May 31, 2017 Reply

    It was absolutely amazing Lizzy, one of the most beautiful and breath taking experiences of my life. 🙂

Gary Lum - May 30, 2017 Reply

Beautiful photos Anna and what a great experience. I love that part of the world.

    Anna - May 31, 2017 Reply

    Thanks so much Gary! And I agree wholeheartedly, I love this part of the world a LOT! 🙂

mjskitchen - May 30, 2017 Reply

WOW! What an amazing little trip you just took us on! Wish I had been sitting in your lap. 🙂 Great shots! I’ve never heard of the Heart Reef. Headed to check it out. Thanks so much for sharing your flight. Definitely a little envy here. 🙂

    Anna - May 31, 2017 Reply

    Haha… wish you were here to experience it with me too MJ. I’ve a hunch you would have had a ball! 🙂 If you are ever in Australia and up this way, a scenic flight I will take with you.

Mandy - May 29, 2017 Reply

Perfection! Think I need to get my Pete and I there ASAP!
Have a glorious week darling Anna.
🙂 Mandy xoxo

    Anna - May 31, 2017 Reply

    YES PLEASE to a Mandy and Pete visit. When? When? When? Haha. 🙂
    Wishing you a magical week ahead too my friend. Hugs and love. xo

Mabel Kwong - May 29, 2017 Reply

What an amazing view from above! All that blue got me going <3 <3 <3 The Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef certainly look like paradise – picture postcard perfect and the weather looks amazing. Good to hear you are enjoying the warmth.

Winter has well and truly settled in here in Melbourne. But it was a very mild week last week. I got a feeling this winter may be a quick one….can't believe next month the days start getting longer again! Sending you lots of love your way. Stay safe and hope you get to go on the helicopter again x

    Anna - May 31, 2017 Reply

    The question is little sis, when are you visiting and enjoying some of this endless sunshine and warmth and amazingness? <3 <3 <3

    I am seeing the temps for you folk down south, can't believe I spent all those years in Canberra shivering my way through life. Haha. Sending you some sun and love and hugs. xoxo

      Mabel Kwong - June 9, 2017 Reply

      Haha, I hope I can visit at some point. Work is full speed at the moment…also looking at some side projects 😀 I will dream and dream of warmer weather like what you have up there. And one day, maybe I will move to a place with weather like that all year round. Enjoy the sunshine for me heaps 🙂 <3

        Anna - June 17, 2017 Reply

        YES…. I can’t wait for you to visit. The warmer weather is incredible, def makes me just feel happy! I shall take extra moments in my day to enjoy the sunshine for you little one. <3

        Anna - September 11, 2017 Reply

        I’ve been thinking… maybe if you wait until next winter to visit. It wont be sooooo stinkin hot, the stingers wont be around and there wont be as many tourists. Plus… it’ll give ya time to save for a ticket. YEAS. Excellent idea right? 🙂

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