The best way to see Heart Reef on the Great Barrier Reef in the Whitsundays is from the air by seaplane or helicopter
 
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Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, as seen from the air
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The Great Barrier Reef, as seen from the air
Said to be the world’s largest living structure and the only one visible from outer space, the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The Whitsundays region benefits from being located as the closest point off the Queensland coast to the Great Barrier Reef, which ensures it is the ideal hub from which to explore this aquatic wonderland.

Stretching over 2000 kilometres in length, the Great Barrier Reef protects the Whitsunday Coast and Islands from huge ocean swells providing the region with some of the safest sailing and cruising waters in the world.

The magical, naturally formed Heart Reef is located in the Whitsundays and is a sight to behold when viewed from the air. Take a seaplane or helicopter flight to admire this beautiful sight, or surprise a loved one with the ultimate romantic gesture over the region's most romantic natural icon.

 
 
 
 

"Great Barrier Reef" the Documentary

Airing on Australia’s channel 9 in early 2012, the impressive documentary "Great Barrier Reef" was filmed entirely on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland.

Watch a quick 1 minute preview of the documentary to the right  > 

If scuba diving is your passion, then this is your paradise. Home to tens of thousands of species of brilliantly coloured fish, coral and other marine life including whales, dolphins and turtles enjoy the diversity of your underwater playground. Local companies are able to cater for every skill level from novice to dive master.

If snorkelling is more your style, then the warm shallow waters of the Whitsundays provide some of the most colourful fish and coral formations anywhere in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Or stay dry, and enjoy the reef views from an underwater viewing chamber, glass bottom boat and coral semi-submersible. The Whitsundays offers the only opportunity to spend a night in a hotel room right on the Great Barrier Reef! There is definitely a reef experience on offer for everyone.

The Whitsundays also has some of the best fishing in Queensland. Charter Vessels operating out of Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island offer a variety of trips to the rich waters of the outer Great Barrier Reef chasing, tuna, mackerel and coral trout, or tagging and releasing sailfish and the legendary black marlin.
 

More than just fish and coral

The Great Barrier Reef is home to a stunning array of animals, from microscopic plankton to whales weighing more than 100 tonnes. More than just fish and coral, the Great Barrier Reef supports:

• 1625 species of fish, including 1400 coral reef species
• More than 3000 species of molluscs (shells)
• 630 species of echinoderm (starfish, sea urchins)
• 14 breeding species of sea snakes
• 215 species of birds including 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds
• Six of the world's seven species of marine turtle
• 30 species of whales and dolphins
• One of the world's most important dugong populations
• 133 species of sharks and rays
• ....and much more

The different types of animals found along the Great Barrier Reef help make it one of the richest and most complex natural systems on earth. While there is a lot known about some of the animals that make the reef home, vast amounts of information and species are yet to be discovered. 
 
Find out more about reef species
 
  

Want to visit the Great Barrier Reef? These operators can take you there

Cruising for Couples – Whitsundays Sailing Adventures
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A Cruise for Couples - Whitsundays Sailing Adventures

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Extended Tours, Full Day Tours, Night Tours, Overnight Sailing, Tailored Tours

A Cruise for Couples - Whitsundays Sailing Adventures is dedicated to offering you world class, quality live aboard sailing adventures in the spectacular Whitsunday Islands of the Great Barrier...

Powerpaly
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Adventure Catamaran and Sail - Explore Whitsundays

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Extended Tours, Full Day Tours, Night Tours, Overnight Sailing, Tailored Tours

The original Whitsunday Cruise, Dive and Sail Company, starting in 1985 - with Southern Cross Sailing Adventures. Today Prosail, Whitsunday Catamarans, Australian Tallships and Eureka Sailing...

Wings Diving Adventures
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Adventure Catamaran Dive and Sail - Wings Diving

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Extended Tours, Overnight Sailing, Tailored Tours

Wings Diving Adventures offers you a combination of diving, sailing and speed around the Whitsunday Islands or outer Great Barrier Reef. Their modern catamaran allows stable sailing and easy...

Adventure Catamarans Dive and Sail Powerplay
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Adventure Catamarans Dive and Sail

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Extended Tours, Tailored Tours

Adventure Catamarans Dive and Sail have three Catamarans in their fleet that provide sailing holidays in the Whitsundays. Whitsunday Blue is a luxury eight guest Catamaran for the Couples market...

Whitsundays Sailing Adventures
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Adventure Classic Cruising and Performance - Whitsundays Sailing Adventures

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Extended Tours, Full Day Tours, Night Tours, Overnight Sailing, Tailored Tours

Adventure Sailing on the Great Barrier Reef. Thrill and Chill, Aussie Classic or Multi Award Winning Eco Sailing Safaris. Sail, snorkel, explore, beach walk, bushwalk, learn or relax. If you...

Southern Cross Sailing Adventures
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Adventure Cruise Dive and Sail – Southern Cross Sailing

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Extended Tours, Full Day Tours, Overnight Sailing, Tailored Tours

Adventure Cruise Dive and Sail - Southern Cross Sailing Adventures specialise in overnight sailing holidays. Sail and dive the beautiful Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park on...

Adventure Sailing - ProSail Maxi Whitsundays
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Adventure Cruise Dive and Sailing - ProSail Maxi Whitsundays

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Extended Tours, Full Day Tours, Overnight Sailing, Tailored Tours

Adventure Sailing - ProSail Maxi Whitsundays allows you the opportunity to participate, take the wheel, hoist the sails and grind the winches on some of the most famous yachts in racing history,...

Sail, Snorkel, Kayak, Explore - Whitsundays Sailing Adventures
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Adventure Eco Tallships - Whitsundays Sailing Adventures

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Extended Tours, Full Day Tours, Night Tours, Overnight Sailing

As well as being a lot of fun and adventure for all ages, Tall Ship Adventures is one of the Whitsundays Multi Ecotourism Award winning crewed overnight tall ship sailing company, and one of the...

Air Whitsunday Seaplanes
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Air Whitsunday Seaplanes

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Full Day Tours, Half Day Tours

Fly with an award winning Whitsunday Tourism Icon, snorkel in secluded coral suspended lagoons, travel in style to Whitehaven Beach and arrive at the Great Barrier Reef in only 30 minutes. Air...

Australian Tallship Cruises
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Australian Tallship Cruises

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Extended Tours, Full Day Tours, Tailored Tours

Australian Tallship Cruises offer guests plenty of variety on their Whitsunday Sailing Adventure. Cruise the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park onboard a magnificent, fully...

Cruise Whitsundays
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Cruise Whitsundays

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Extended Tours, Full Day Tours, Half Day Tours, Night Tours

Cruise Whitsundays' day cruise range features trips to 'must see' Whitsunday icons, including the Great Barrier Reef Adventures trip to Cruise Whitsundays' innovative and spacious reef pontoon,...

Gone Fishing by Coral Sea Fishing Charters, Airlie Beach
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Gone Fishing by Coral Sea Fishing Charters, Airlie Beach

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Full Day Tours, Half Day Tours

Looking for a fishing adventure in Whitsundays that involves lots of action and the opportunity to catch different species? If you have answered "yes" then look no further, as Gone Fishing have...

Whitsundays
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GSL Aviation

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Half Day Tours

It's easy to understand why the Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the World, the amazing contrast of colours is something that's best experienced from the air. At GSL...

Ocean Rafting Whitsundays tour
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Ocean Rafting

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Full Day Tours

Ocean Rafting visits the "Wild Side" of the Whitsunday Islands, the uninhabited islands with beautiful natural scenery brimming with marine, bird and animal life. There are two exciting tour...

Derwent Hunter under full sail
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Tall Ship Adventures Whitsunday

Location: Airlie Beach, QLD   |   Type: Full Day Tours

Set sail on an adventure of a life time and experience the style, grace and pace of sailing on Derwent Hunter to some of the best snorkelling destinations in the Whitsundays. After a delicious...

Free educational feeding session at the Living Reef
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The Living Reef on Daydream Island

Location: Daydream Island, QLD   |   Type: Parks and Gardens, Zoos, Sanctuaries, Aquariums and Wildlife Parks

Daydream Island’s amazing Living Reef is a must see on the island. Located at the entrance to the resort, it is one of the world’s largest man-made living coral reef lagoons and features more than...

Whitehaven Beach
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True Blue Sailing

Location: Shute Harbour, QLD   |   Type: Extended Tours, Full Day Tours, Night Tours

Atlantic Clipper and New Horizon, operate two day, two night sailing trips out of the Whitsundays. Their market is 18-30's and therefore ideal for young at heart to have as an option for...

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