If you want to do a scenic flight then the first thing yoiu will need to do is choose between a heli and a small plane. The plane option will always be cheaper since they chew up much less fuel but helicopter flights can be affordable if they are tacked on top of a boat based reef trip. If you really are on a budget then it is worth checking out the “Get High up Top” tour which includes a full day on the reef, snorkelling + 1 intro dive, your lunch and a 10 minute heli reef fllight. Although 10 minutes sounds very short, the flight departs from a heli pad on the reef so the whole time is spent flying over the reef. If you pay for a 30 minute flight out of Cairns airport 10 minutes each way will be spent just getting to the reef so you are paying to see a lot of nothing water.
Fly over Green Island, Arlington Reef, and Upolo sand cay during this truly unforgettable flight.