Checking off the bucket list: Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef
When our friends told us they’d be tying the knot in a wedding ceremony on The Whitsundays, David and I took that as an excuse to explore the region. One of the long standing items on my bucketlist was to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and I wasn’t going to leave The Whitsundays until I had crossed it off.
We booked our Great Barrier Reef day trip with Cruise Whitsundays to Reefworld pontoon on Hardy Reef. Hardy Reef is located 40 nautical miles off the coast of the Whitsundays and it takes roughly three hours to get to. We were staying on Daydream Island so we added the extra ferry transfer to Hamilton Island where we transferred on to our much larger catamaran, bound for the outer reef.
The weather on the day we went to the reef was partly cloudy but the sea was calm which meant no sea sickness (YAY!) and a quick trip out to sea. We had to stop a couple of times to allow humpback whales to pass though. We saw so many pods that the trip took an extra 20 minutes to get to the pontoon.
The pontoon has a sun deck, showers, change rooms and access back onto the catamaran. There are designated snorkel zones and snorkelling gear which is included in the cost of the tour. There’s also an underwater observatory and a semi-submersible which was a big hit with families. We started our day with a trip to the observatory before heading over the reef in a semi-submersible boat. Once we were satisfied, it was time to change into our wet suits and jump into the water.
David and I are both experienced swimmers so all we needed were flippers and snorkelling goggles before we could skim across the water and dive beside the reef. If you’re not comfortable swimming in the big blue, there are buoys and floatation devices to help you out. You can also wear a lifejacket.
The reef is amazing and snorkelling over it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience I will never forget. There are hundreds of fish and colourful coral to keep you occupied for hours! We stopped only to climb back aboard the catamaran for a lunch of fresh salads before it was back into the water until our time was up.
There are a number of extra activities you can pay for as well which include scuba diving, reef safari, and a helicopter ride over the famous heart reef. We didn’t pay for any of the extras, instead we spent our time snorkelling. We took our GoPro with us so we didn’t have to pay extra for souvenir photos too.
On the way back to Hamilton Island we were served afternoon tea of a muffin and tea and coffee. We made it back to Daydream Island at around 5:40pm, cold, wet and smiling from ear to ear.
Tour: Great Barrier Reef Adventures
Departure: Departs from Hamilton Island
Availability: All year
Have you seen the Great Barrier Reef? Let me know in the comments below!