WOW, JUST WOW! If there’s one thing thing I would tell someone travelling to Australia to do during their trip, it would be taking a trip with the guys at GSL Aviation.
I am not a fan of flying, yet I love travelling so I do it, but I dread the flights for days beforehand and I never manage to get comfortable or sleep during a flight, long haul or otherwise. However, when I was offered the experience by GSL Aviation, I decided it was something I couldn’t opt out of because of a stupid fear. So I didn’t hesitate and I took the risk of jumping in a six seater plane in an attempt to cure my flying phobias forever. And I am so glad I did.
I booked in for my flight a couple of days before and arranged my pick-up bus for 1.30pm, ready to fly at 2.15pm. Pre-flight, I was quite nervous, okay very nervous, and even as I jumped in the pick-up bus from my stop in Airlie Beach town, I felt my heart skip a few beats. I was actually doing this!
The pick-up bus drives you from town over to the Airlie Beach airport about five miles out of town and drops you at the GSL Aviation office where you are check-in, lock your bags up and head over to the plane. There were four of us on the flight, with another two passengers who we picked up from Hamilton Island.
First, we, took in the sights above Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour, Dent Island, Hamilton Island and Daydream Island before landing at Hamilton airport. We then shot back up in to the atmosphere heading away from Hamilton over to Whitehaven beach and the Whitehaven Hill Inlet.
The views of the ocean from the air were absolutely incredible! The colours and the shapes you could see from the air really did look like the stock images from Google. Then we flew down to Whitehaven Beach above all the boats docking on the beach and headed back down again so the other side of the plane could get that perfect snapshot too!
We headed off towards the Great Barrier Reef, taking in the views of the various islands that are part of the Whitsundays Isles. As we approached the reef there was no debating we had arrived, the atmosphere instantly changed and the views became even more dramatic. I really can’t describe how beautiful the reef looked from above; there’s one thing diving on the reef but seeing it in all its glory from above was absolutely incredible.
We flew over Hardy Reef, Hook Reef and the infamous Heart Reef where we were all promoted with a countdown from 5 to 1 as we approached the reef. We flew over Reefworld, where we would spend our next few days with another tour we had included in our package.
As we circled back round, I dropped the camera and really appreciated the views I was lucky enough to see. Focusing in on some of the reefs I managed to spot several Manta Rays, Sting Rays, a few turtles and even a SHARK!
As we touched back down in Airlie Beach, I instantly realised that at no point from Hamilton Island to when I put my feet back on the ground had I been scared or nervous about the fact I was sitting in a minute airplane hundreds of feet above the sea. All fear had subsided and the sheer beauty of the reef and the Islands had taken away my fear instantly. To my surprise the plane was surprisingly stable for the entire trip and there were only a few times in the whole hour of flying where there was a little turbulence and my stomach sank.
Overall, the experience was absolutely incredible and I am so grateful for GSL Aviation for giving me the opportunity to try out one of their packages. I would fully recommend this to anyone travelling to Australia and the East Coast and without a doubt it is the best and most inspiring thing I have done on this trip.
Thank you GSL Aviation for allowing me a FOC stand-by place on our Island and Reef tour. All views are my own etc.
Photo credit: GSL Aviation – https://gslaviation.com.au/airlie/gallery