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 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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.