So, I’m wondering, can perfect be an understatement? If you are looking for that perfect little getaway to get amongst one of the seven natural wonders of the world, this is surely the best way to tick it off that bucket list and get an immense appreciation for life!
Let’s start with the most appealing part of the Whitsundays, the ever amazing Great Barrier Reef! Which is just that – Great, as in Gigantic Great! There are so many drop off points to snorkel, scuba, seaplane and submerge yourself into the vastness of the reef all along the northern east coast of Australia – we chose Hardy Reef, which is one of the main points from Hamilton Island, Daydream Island and Airlie Beach (which is where we stayed)
First debatable question, to scuba or not to scuba? Answer: definitely scuba! The best part is it’s only a mere 30minutes which goes surprisingly fast, when you have a total of four hours by the pontoon you can have time to do it all! Scuba for one, feels crazy cool, I mean you are breathing underwater, like Harry Potter when he eats gillyweed and grows gills, feel me? Two, you are deeper, seeing more of the amazing marine life and colorful corals that are vibrant from being untouched by the sun during low tide, and three, if a three is needed, there are so many amazing safety instructors that are there to make you feel 1000 percent a-ok, it’s only a short 7metre maximum depth for beginners and the induction only takes 10-15 minutes during the boat ride over so doesn’t cut into your time on the reef at all!
Next question: will I see sharks, sea turtles, sting rays and any other marine life? Which by the way are infact way more scared of you then you are of them (you’re an underwater air-breathing mystical creature remember? Kinda scary looking) answer: it depends when you go, here is a helpful hint that was brought to my attention on the cruise – every three weeks the reef day cruise change locations between Hardy Reef and Knuckle Reef. They do this because people are feeding the fish when they visit which attracts larger marine life that wouldn’t normally be inhabiting the area and kindve knocking around the normal, so they give the area a break for three weeks so the larger marine life can disappear again. So, back to the original question, if you want to see the reef sharks, sea turtles etc then ask your tour booker what period they are in in their location schedule and aim towards the third week, if you just want glimpses of amazing tropical fish and uninterrupted coral views then go towards the beginning of the week.
Third and Final Reef question: what can I expect that people DON’T tell me? Well, time flies when you’re having fun and even more so when you are not on land, those four hours will go super quick! Use them wisely! Personally my vote for the days activities, scuba, snorkel, glass-bottom-boat tour, grab your complimentary seafood buffet lunch and enjoy in the underwater viewing deck, more snorkeling or second scuba – cause hey, you’re in the Great Barrier Reef! As for the helicopter and/or seaplane ride, although RJ was dying to do it, they actually have a lot of those activities selling separately back inland that are the same price that you can choose to do when you have more time and still get to see that beautiful heart shaped reef that was on Oprah that one time! When you get to touch your toes in the oceans of the reef, don’t waste it, snorkel til you’re mouth is numb from salt water!! Another unexpected, if you are a little late (by little I mean 5-10 minutes) to board your cruise they WILL turn back for you, don’t look at me, I was on time, but some others from the Hamilton island pick-up were and we amazingly turned back which had me pretty impressed. My last little unexpected for the reef is of course photos, I mean, you want to remember it not only in your mind but on your Facebook too right? So make sure those cameras are charged, bring portable USB chargers to charge them on board if needed and for some amazing high-def images that will blow your mind, you have my full permission to stalk Garry and Esther the onboard photographers and get as many amazing pictures as you desire! The staff are lovely, everyone is having a great time and that ginormous smile will be plastered on your face all day whether you like it or not, but you’ll love it, trust me, it’s a world wonder for a reason!