Best for: families and couples
The Whitsundays region has snorkelling and diving experiences for everyone. Whether you’re a hardcore diver who wants three dives a day (and maybe a night dive as well), a family looking for a great day out on the Great Barrier Reef (the ‘Reef’), or even a couple looking for a romantic escape to snorkel your own private coral reef – the Whitsundays has a host of options for those who want to experience the magical underwater world of the Reef.
Here are just three of the many subaquatic adventures you can have in the Whitsundays.
Hardy Reef is just a 90-minute cruise from Airlie Beach, and moored at Hardy Reef is Cruise Whitsundays’ Reefworld pontoon. The daily boat from Airlie Beach arrives via Hamilton at 11.00m and the pontoon turns into a busy little town geared to maximising your experience on the outer reef.
Families can snorkel together, couples can dive together and even if you don’t want to get wet you can see the wonders of the reef from the comfort of a roomy semisubmersible. Through the large windows, you’ll see scuba divers exploring the sloping reef and snorkellers viewing the colourful coral and reef fish along the edge of the reef top.
The day boat departs at 3.00pm on the dot – but mad keen sub-Aquarians can stay and spend a night on the Great Barrier Reef sleeping out under the stars with the ‘Reef Sleep’ tour package.
Luncheon Bay, Hook Island
Luncheon Bay is the most northerly snorkel and dive site within the Whitsundays group. Practically halfway to the outer reef – it gives you the best chance of seeing something special.
The bay is full of coral bommies – divers’ slang for bombora – an Aboriginal word that refers to submerged reefs. The shallower reefs, better for snorkelling, are close to the beach and the bommies in the bay stand like big haystacks almost reaching the surface. The coral cover is nothing short of amazing; large leather corals, big round brain corals and meadows of xenia – the soft corals that look a little daisies using their petals to pluck nutrients out of the current.
Langford Island Reef
If you’re looking for a private little snorkel on a very colourful reef look no further than Langford Reef. Situated just south of Hayman Island it is well away from the hustle and bustle of both the mainland and even Hamilton Island.
Tiny damsels, butterflyfish and large angelfish wend their way amongst the mixture of hard and soft corals of all shapes, sizes and colours in a microcosm of life on the Reef.
You can get to Langford by private boat charter or helicopter tour – it makes a great spot for lunch too.