The Great Barrier Reef is huge. We’re talking almost 350,000 square metres.
In fact it’s one of the oldest and largest ‘living things’ on Earth and so we don’t blame you if it all seems like the Victoria’s Secret model of must-see-sites—and by that we mean super beautiful but also kind of intimidating.
However, what if we said that you could take Friday off, fly to Hamilton, see the reef from all angles and be back in time for work on Monday?
Well it’s true. And not only is it doable but it’s darn fun and will make even the most jaded Aussie sing Waltzing Matilda on the flight home because, let’s be honest, Australia is home to some of the world’s most insane scenery.
So if you’re time poor but your soul won’t settle until you see the reef, scootch hither child because by joining the Cruise Whitsundays full-day tour you’re going to see more of the reef than you ever imagined and all in a single day…
You Don’t Need To Know How To Scuba To Scuba…
This is the big one because who hasn’t stared longingly at scuba divers as they confidently jump, flippers akimbo, into the waves?
Or backflip when they really want to show off. Well feel that FOMO no-more because you too can Jacque Cousteau it up with the Cruise Whitsundays introductory dives.
The team get you acclimated to breathing underwater in the onboard swimming pool and then you can hold hands with your buddy and step into the wide blue yonder to explore (ranging from 1-2 metres deep, depending on how brave you feel).
… But If You Are Certified Then You’re All Sorted
Need oxygen? They’ve got it. Need a wetsuit? Sorted. Need a world-class reef? They can definitely hook you up with one of those. The only thing you need to do is unblock your ears, breathe calmly and get up close and personal with the giant Trevally circling around the boat.
Or You Can Basically Just Jump In
You don’t need too much prep to be able to snorkel, just a pair of flippers, a mask and one of the handy stinger-suits (just in case, because the exquisite irony of Australia’s stunning coastline is that it’s also home to a few species of jellyfish and they pop up every now and then).
There’s a guide rope to hold onto should you need a break and a Cruise Whitsundays team member keeping an eye out for any nervous swimmers. Also to make sure nobody steps on the reef which is a BIG no-no.
Don’t Want To Get Wet? Okay Then, They Have Something For That Too
This is where the reef tour turns a little ‘Hunt For Red October’ because, yes, there’s a semi-submersible.
Except in this case it’s more ‘Hunt For The Red Bass’ as you perch inside a watertight enclosure as a guide talks you through some of the most pristine parts of the reef.
Why Swim When You Can Fly?
Look, we know helicopter flights aren’t exactly budget friendly travel options but you made it all the way to the Greatest Barrier Reef in the known universe, what are you going to do? NOT get the best photos possible?
A 10 minute scenic flight that takes off from the Heart Pontoon will set you back $155pp however to BUY one of those aerial shots from a photographer gallery in town is definitely going to set you back a lot more than at.
Actually, why are we even trying to talk this up? You’re guaranteed to love it.
Just Want To Kick Back & Watch Everyone Else Enjoy The Fun?
You’ve got 4 hours on the pontoon so there are definitely going to be moments when you’ll want to take to take time out. The beauty of the Heart Pontoon is you can experience the reef even in your down-time. You simply slip below decks and take in clear views right into all the underwater action.
This is ideal if you have babies or small children because it means you and your little ones can see all the fish (and there are a LOT) without any worries plus you’re just a few metres from the pram/the change-table/the buffet if needs arise.