Helicopter over the Great Barrier ReefPort Douglas, Australia
While it will never compare to experiencing the Great Barrier Reef under the water, a helicopter trip well above offers an amazing perspective. When you're travelling at more than 100 kilometres an hour the blues and greens below are chameleon like in their changes. The helicopter allows you to follow schools of mantas and the odd stray dugong then take off for another reef with more sea life lurking.
Your best bet is to book the transfer from Cairns to picturesque Port Douglas and not only save yourself a drive but enjoy the incredible view at the same time. You might just have to catch the bus back.
Take a 30-minute Reef Discovery tour for about US$310 a person (minimum two passengers). There’s also the option of cruising with Quicksilver one way to the reef and flying back (about US$450).