The best lunch break ever, flying with GBR Heli

It started off as a standard Monday at work. Despite the brilliant weather we were quiet and I found myself replying to emails and doing some paperwork. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Until the phone rang.

“Hi Francesca, it’s Tash from GBR heli. We’ve got space on a scenic flight in 45 minutes, are you free?”

Umm…yes I was!


^^^The GBR helipad is out on the water just to the right of where the marina ends. Not bad!

One of the main advantages of flying with GBR over their competitors Nautilus Aviation is that they have a heli pad right in the centre of Cairns. So rather than traipsing out to the airport you can stroll over from your hotel to their office and upon your safe return can be sipping a cold one in the Salthouse in literally seconds.


It also means that my office is 500 metres away and so perfectly located for a lunch break flight.


Yes, that’s right, I got to fly over Green Island and Vlassoff Cay rather than grab some overpriced sushi rolls.


I’m well aware of how ridiculous my life is sometimes, but it did make up for my usual 8am start to the week!


It was an absurdly clear day and you could see right the way up the coast to Cape Tribulation.


The ocean was so calm I could actually see a reflection of Green Island off the beach and I spotted sting rays basking in the reef shallows.


Yeah, it had even me pretty damn speechless.


I have to remind myself sometimes of how I’d feel if I’d paid my own money for some tours, and there are some that I’d happily shell out for.


This experience was one of them.

I really recommend taking a helicopter flight if you can stretch your budget. It’s the only way to appreciate the vastness of this huge living structure and is genuinely quite a moving experience!


Our pilot varied the height of the helicopter and made sure to swing around points of interest a few times to ensure everyone on board got pictures we were happy with.


I had to remind myself a few times to put the camera down and enjoy the ride.

Especially as I kept capturing the reflection from the helicopter window along with the view…!


As we banked towards Valssoff Cay everyone on board audibly gasped.


The water was so calm and clear that all the boats surrounding the cay looked as though they were hovering on blue ground not floating on water.


Even though the flight was fantastic a little part of me did feel rather jealous of the people on that boat…good job that just a few weeks later I’d be sleeping overnight on a yacht in that very spot… (but more on that later!).


^^^One of my favourite dive boats Ocean Freedom looking gorgeous just off Vlassoff.


^^^I could make out some mooring lines in the water, that’s how low we were flying at points (advantage of a helicopter over a plane, fyi).


^^^Green Island with Fitzroy island in the background.


When I did a 10 minute scenic it wasn’t enough. My 20 minute flight with Nautilus wasn’t enough. And neither was this.


It’s pretty much impossible to get bored of this view. I asked my pilot if he ever did.


“I’ve been doing this for three and a half years now, and no, not yet. Not even a little bit”


Thank you GBR for giving me the best lunch break ever, and I don’t think that’s exaggerating.


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