Set just off the coast of Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, a heart-shaped reef lagoon is now open to six lucky visitors at a time. To access the previously inaccessible coral reefs, you’ll take a helicopter ride over the shimmering waters of the Great Barrier Reef and land atop a floating pontoon that’s been dubbed “Heart Island.” Then, you can hit the warm water to swim with the tropical fish and get a close-up look at the coral reef ecosystems. Or, just kick back with a glass of champagne and enjoy the bright, colorful view.
Photography: Salty Wings
Great Barrier Reef Day Trip
For a cool thousand bucks (AUD), you’ll score the day trip of a lifetime. Starting with a helicopter ride over Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet, Whitsunday Island, Hook Island passage and Heart Reef, you’ll see silica sands and the brightest, bluest water from a whole new vantage point. Once your helicopters arrives on the pontoon, you’ll have the option to jump in the water and swim or snorkel around the coral reefs, or stay in the glass-bottom boat for a tour of the heart reef lagoon. The whole experience includes snorkel gear, light catering and beverages, and lasts about three hours. It’s short and sweet, and easily the most memorable experience you’ll have in this stunning region.
Photography: Salty Wings
Taking Care of the Reef
It’s no secret that the natural wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef is under constant threat. So, it’s important that any new businesses in the area take care to prevent damage to the life of the reef. In the case of Heart Island, the owners spent a solid decade planning the experience so it has no impact on the surrounding coral reef. The pontoon uses wind turbines to power the vessel, with solar panels adding a little extra buzz.
Photography: Hamilton Island
The Great Barrier Reef sees something like two million annual visitors to the area, but you’d never know it during a stay at the secluded, peaceful haven of Hamilton Island. This destination offers a lovely mix of local businesses, including multiple luxury resorts, dining options, rental villas, quiet beaches and tons of natural hidden gems. If you’re considering a stay on the island, qualia is the top-of-the-line luxury option, while the Hamilton Island Beach Club offers a cozy, boutique style resort. There’s also a collection of luxury villas to be found at Hamilton Island Yacht Club, if that’s more your style.
Plan your visit to Hamilton Island & the Whitsundays now →
Book your trip to Heart Island now (you know you want to) →