If you’re planning a family holiday to Australia then a visit to the Great Barrier Reef is likely to be right up there on your list of priorities. We find out more about a day trip to the reef from Hamilton Island with opportunities to swim, snorkel and explore the magically colourful world amongst the coral
Family Trip to the Great Barrier Reef
There was lots of interest in our post about a family trip to Australia, especially the visit to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. Charlotte and family visited the Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays. The company runs a daily Great Barrier Reef Experience trip so we asked them if they could supply some more photos – and here they are. If it isn’t already on your bucket list – these pictures might just persuade you!
For our original post A Family Trip to Hamilton Island and the Great Barrier Reef click here
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef stretches almost 1,500 miles along the coast of Queensland. Access to it is controlled to protect its fragile eco-system but there are still multiple ways in which it can be visited. Charlotte and family stayed at Hamilton Island which has the only airport in the Whitsundays and can be reached directly from Sydney.
An Outing from Hamilton Island
The Cruise Whitsundays catamaran picks up passengers from Hamilton Island to take them to the Reefworld pontoon on Hardy Reef. The journey through the beautiful Whitsundays islands is around two and a half hours each way.
Passengers who want to get into the water don wetsuits and snorkels to explore the marine life of the Great Barrier Reef. Charlotte’s family were some of the first in the water as they wanted to get ahead and avoid queues. But in fact they found the snorkellers were pretty well spaced out – on the day they visited it didn’t feel overly busy in the water. Wetsuits, wet shoes and lifejackets are all available on the boat.
The snorkelling route is clearly marked with ropes and buoys and there are regular stations to stop and rest if needed. Lifeguards are at hand
keeping an eye on visitors
and from a semi-submersible, aquarium-style.
Charlotte’s children Francesca and Edward were 13 and 10 years old respectively on this trip. They loved the snorkelling though Charlotte points out that they did lots of practising on the days leading up to the Barrier Reef outing. It’s not the best place to try out snorkelling for the first time – for the simple reason you can’t just stand up if water goes the wrong way! Coral is also very sharp and Charlotte said there are places where the water is shallow and the coral felt close to their knees. Wetsuits offer some protection but they moved quickly into deeper water to avoid accidents.
This Cruise Whitsundays trip is a full day experience with snacks, buffet lunch and afternoon tea laid on. The boat cruises home at the end of the afternoon – or there’s a bookable option to take the quick route – by helicopter – to see the beautiful Heart Reef from the air.
Have you been to the Great Barrier Reef? Have you any tips you’d pass on to other families?
Day Trip to the Great Barrier Reef
Charlotte and family travelled with tailor-made holiday specialists ScottDunn
They flew to Hamilton Island from Sydney then continued to Brisbane at the end of their stay. The Cruise Whitsundays trip to the Great Barrier Reef was booked in advance. For more details check out their website here
The aerial photos of Heart Reef and surroundings, numbers 1 and 12 were taken by Francesca and are all rights reserved. Photos may not be reproduced without prior written consent. All other images of Reefworld and the Great Barrier Reef are courtesy of Cruise Whitsundays www.cruisewhitsundays.com