Ever since learning about the Great Barrier Reef in elementary school, I’ve always wanted to visit. And finally I was able to go down under and do so. I chose to explore the huge reef’s Whitsunday Islands part, meaning I headed out by fast going boat from Airlie Beach to Cruise Whitsundays’ Reefworld, atop Hardy Reef. A trip that took around 3 hours one way, and that due to very choppy seas made me feel not too good – I basically had to go to sleep to somehow make it through 🙁 On the way out the helpful staff onboard answered every bit of question you might have had to make you fully ready to get the most out of your time once there. At the reef the boat anchored up next to a pontoon, where all of the activities took place. From here you’d get ready to snorkel and dive, or explore the world below the surface without getting wet with the underwater observatory and the semi-submersible. For first time snorkelers and divers (you could do an introductory dive), it looked like a very safe environment to take the plunge. For snorkelers there were ropes across the waters to help when you needed to take a breather. I didn’t dive, which I sometimes regret, but I did go snorkeling. And unfortunately I wasn’t impressed… I don’t know why, I just thought it was going to be a lot better… I found the observatory and submarine a bit boring too. A good thing the sub trip was a fairly short one 😉 While at the pontoon you were still able to make use of the boat. Lunch was served here, and its facilities always open for you to use.
I went with Cruise Whitsundays (cruisewhitsundays.com). It definitely wasn’t cheap, but making sure you have and use a backpacker card (I had a Hostelling International card) you get a sizable discount – actually the biggest deduction I’ve ever gotten using the card 🙂