Cruise Whitsundays day trip to the Great Barrier Reef

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Planning a holiday to the Whitsundays and want to visit the Great Barrier Reef? Then you can’t go past an unforgettable Cruise Whitsunday’s day trip to Heart Pontoon on the famous Hardy Reef!   

The Cruise Whitsunday ferry departs from the Port of Airlie nice and early so you can maximise your time on the reef. Sitting on the top deck with the ocean breeze and that famous Whitsunday sun is a great way to get into the swing of things. The boat ride is about two hours and includes a quick stop at Hamilton Island to pick up guests and gives you the opportunity for a sneak peak at those famous million dollar yachts and views!  

Once you arrive at Heart Pontoon, the first thing you’ll notice is how unique it is, it's like a fully catered floating paradise with an underwater observatory, picnic tables, wet suits, bathrooms and sundeck. You can even stay overnight where you'll get to sleep under the stars and experience the reef from a whole other perspective.

To help you get the most out of your time here on Heart Pontoon, I’ve put together the activities that need to be on your 'to do list' including-  

6. Jump into the water as soon as you can to explore and track down Wally the friendly Maori Wrasse. He likes to hang around the main entry to the water and in front of the underwater observatory. He's like a family member and loves being around people! Just remember not to touch him, fish have a protective coating & if it gets wiped off, they could get sick.      

5. If you'd like to see a turtle then you're in luck! Hardy Reef is a great place for spotting them, they seem to love visiting the snorkellers and divers and can even be seen feeding along the edge of the pontoon. You'll be sure to hear the excited cheers when Squirt shows up!               

4. The underwater observatory is fun for the whole family, wander down the stairs below water level where you can watch all types of fish cruising by...this is one of the best spots in the house when it's time for the fish feeding activity.                                        

3. Remember to keep an eye out for lunch time, the Cruise Whitsundays team serve up a buffet feast on board and you don't want to miss out!

2. Want to learn a bit more about the reef? Then make sure you do one of the Semi Submarine tours that run throughout the day. The Semi Sub allows you to see the reef and fish without getting wet and onboard is a reef interpreter who’ll give you a running commentary on all the amazing marine life you can see.       

1. When you're in the water either snorkelling or diving, keep an eye out for the onboard photographer, they'll typically be swimming around ready to take your photo! Strike a pose with Wally and you can then purchase a souvenir photo on the boat trip home.

After a day out here it’s easy to see why the Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. A holiday at Airlie Beach (or the island resorts) wouldn't be complete without a trip to Hardy Reef and it’s an experience you’ll cherish forever.

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