You Can Now Visit the Great Barrier Reef’s ‘Heart Reef’


It’s perhaps the Great Barrier Reef’s most iconic sight, and although the heart-shaped reef known as, well, Heart Reef, had previously been available to enjoy only from above, for the first time, Whitsunday day-trippers will now be able to explore Heart Reef by snorkelling the crystal waters surrounding it.

Until recently, a scenic helicopter ride was the only way to see Heart Reef, but visitors to Hamilton Island can now embark on a three-hour day-trip to visit the romantic formation and swim near coral bommie.

The excursion begins with a 30-minute private helicopter ride departing from the luxurious Qualia resort. Flying over The Whitsundays islands, including Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet, you and five others will land safety atop a floating pontoon near Heart Reef.

Champagne and canapes greet you before you’re able to spend 90 minutes on board the pontoon, either swimming and snorkelling in the jewel-toned waters, or viewing the reef from a glass-bottomed boat.

Heart Reef itself is protected, which means you cannot dive or snorkel around the formation, however, the lagoon just nearby presents the same opportunities to witness the sea life in action, plus the diverse and colourful corals of the outer reef.

Following a day in the clear, untouched waters of the reef, you’ll fly 30 minutes back to the resort.


The decision to allow guests to come so close to Heart Reef came with a set of conditions. The ‘Heart Island’ pontoon was only allowed its position on the promise it would have none or very little impact on the environment in which it sits.

Its eco-conscious design means the pontoon is powered by wind and solar, plus it carries no waste and has been moored in sand to avoid damage to the reef.

A trip to Heart Reef doesn’t come cheap. Only six visitors to Hamilton Island are able to visit in a day, and the price of doing so will set each passenger back $1,100 each.

Still, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is worth your consideration for a day trip you’ll truly never forget.

Find out more about the Heart Island experience now.

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