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Reefworld: Exploring The Great Barrier Reef | Don't Ever Look Back

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Reefworld: Exploring The Great Barrier Reef

Reefworld: Exploring The Great Barrier Reef

When we made the pledge to see more of our own Australian backyard after our round-the-world trip, one of the items at the top of the list was see the remarkable Great Barrier Reef.

For those who don’t know too much about the Great Barrier Reef, it’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the world’s largest coral reef system. The Reef is equivalent to the size of 70 million football fields and is actually bigger than New Zealand or the United Kingdom!

It’s also the only living thing on earth that can be seen from space… pretty impressive, huh?

The Great Barrier Reef From Above

The eco-certified Fantasea Adventure Cruising is the Whitsunday’s leading marine tourism operator and would be our tour guides for the day out on the Great Barrier Reef.

We hopped on their boat, the Fantasea Sunrise, at the Hamilton Island marina to begin the two-hour journey to their floating pontoon at Hardy Reef.

Fantasea Sunrise

While we were being transported to Reefworld, the Fantasea staff on-board explained all the optional extras that you could purchase which included introductory and certified dives, a guided snorkelling tour, photography and a helicopter ride over the famous Heart Reef which we totally splurged on.

A bit better than your typical, cramped domestic flights Australia but more about that later!

The staff then gave an extensive safety briefing and the attention to detail was fantastic as they asked Amy several questions about her asthma before giving her a green ribbon to place on her snorkel.

Following the safety information, the Marine Biologist played an introductory video which gave a great summary of the Great Barrier Reef and the marine life that calls it home, which includes 1500 species of fish and 360 species of hard corals. Before we knew it, we had arrived at Reefworld!

Reefworld

Our first stop on Reefworld was the semi-submersible coral viewing vessel that would give us our first glimpses of the Great Barrier Reef. From the air-conditioned comfort of this vessel you can get a fantastic introduction to the Reef by looking at the corals and marine life that lie beneath the surface – plus you don’t even have to get wet!

Semi-submersible coral viewer tours at Reefworld

Once the tour was done we wanted to see more of what lives on the Great Barrier Reef and went down into the seated underwater viewing chamber. There were colorful fish absolutely everywhere!

Underwater Viewing Chamber

The two of us were becoming excited about getting in the water but first there was a more important matter at hand – lunch. Fantasea had a dedicated cook on board that prepared a delicious barbecue lunch which included steaks, sausages, chicken and a variety of salads. Yummy!

BBQ Lunch on Reefworld

Remembering what our parents told us about not swimming directly after eating, we went upstairs on Reefworld to the large sundeck where we relaxed for a while and allowed our food to digest. We probably could have stayed up here all afternoon if we had the chance!

Reefworld Sundeck

But the main reason we had taken this tour was to go snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef so we had to get moving! More about our snorkelling experience in our next post.

As you can see, there is plenty do on the Reefworld pontoon before you even get into the water. They also had a Groper viewing station where you could look down and see some of the largest fish on the Great Barrier Reef and plenty to keep the kids occupied if you’re a family.

Tips for getting the most out of your Reefworld Experience:

  • Take Travacalm motion-sickness tablets 30 minutes before you get on board. The staff were great with handing out sick bags and assisting those not feeling well (including a poor little baby who threw up everywhere) but it’s best to avoid being in this situation altogether.
  • Consider which optional extras you want to take before you get on board, it’ll make things a lot easier. The Helicopter Ride is totally worth the splurge!
  • Make sure you bring along your credit card so that you can pay for any optional extras as well as any additional snacks/beverages.
  • A waterproof camera is a must! Invest in one if you don’t have one already.

Disclaimer: We received a discount from Fantasea Adventure Cruising. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

6 Comments

  1. Lindsey
    Posted May 13, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    I went out to Reef World on a day trip waaaaay back in 2001. It was amazing then and I imagine it’s still amazing now! When I was there the alpha groper was called Wendy and was totally tame. I can’t wait to read more!

    • Posted May 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

      Oh wow – yeah it still is amazing! Would be cool to compare the changes between then and now.

      There was a groper there called George but we’re not sure if we spotted him… for those who dive, they can actually go down and swim with them which would be totally awesome!

  2. Posted May 14, 2012 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Wow it looks like an incredible trip. The Great Barrier Reef is on my top five travel destinations for sure and is probably my number one diving destination. Looking forward to more about this!
    John recently posted..Making the Most of It: Or How I Squeezed in a Visit to Colonial Williamsburg Before My Coworkers Even Woke Up

    • Posted May 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      It’s a great destination! The two of us really need to learn how to dive so we can see even more of it, it would be spectacular down below.

  3. Posted May 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    We went snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef on our trip to Australia a few years back. We decided to buy one of those throwaway underwater cameras for the day. Those are of course no substitute for real underwater camera gear, but worked well enough to do a bit of underwater photography on a budget.
    David recently posted..GeoPosted Gazette VIII: Lots to think about…

    • Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      With any underwater photography, the biggest issue is lighting. We used a disposable underwater camera in Thailand and the photos were awful – the biggest benefit of investing in your own is that you can bring the images into Photoshop and heavily edit them to make them look like the pictures above. 🙂

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  • By A travel blogger is not on vacation... | GeoPosted on May 15, 2012 at 5:24 am

    […] Amy & Kieron (Don’t Ever Look Back) explore the Great Barrier Reef. […]

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