Peering down into the opalescent waters of the Coral Sea, Reefworld—a three-storey pontoon anchored to the seabed—is the last word Nice Barrier Reef expertise. You possibly can even spend then night time right here!
We’ve been fortunate sufficient to go to the Nice Barrier Reef a couple of occasions, both crusing between the gorgeous archipelago of the Whitsunday Islands or snorkelling amongst its coral. We’ve even pushed distant submersibles across the reef.
However that is the primary time we’ve been in a position to spend two days right here.
Leaving Hamilton Island—one of many greatest within the Whitsunday group—within the morning, our catamaran hurtles by the water to moor towards Reefworld’s 45-metre-long rig a few hours later, disgorging its 200 or so passengers.
Nearly all of them are day-trippers, spending a blissful 4 hours on the reef earlier than motoring again to dry land at 3pm.
For the 2 dozen of us which might be left, we get the entire place to ourselves till 11am the following day when the Sail Whitsundays boat returns.
Reefworld has change into Reefsleep!
Take a look at our video of our time on Reefworld and Reefsleep right here:
What Is Reefworld And What Do You Do Right here?
Completely moored over Hardy Reef 71km from Hamilton Island and a few 40km from the closest land, Reefworld is the right vacation spot for anybody eager to get to know the Nice Barrier Reef extra intimately than only a fast boat tour.
The construction is sort of 50m lengthy and over 10m extensive, its two above-water decks offering you with almost 1,100m² of house—loads of room for the over-night guests, that are capped at 24.
Reefworld’s High Deck
On the highest deck, are the 12 surprisingly comfy Reefsleep beds. These double beds have a twin cover (one fly-screen/privateness layer and a thick canvas layer) that zips up at night time. They’re additionally arrange as waterproof daybeds so that you can take pleasure in post-swim, snorkel or scuba.
Additionally on the highest deck are the showers and bathrooms for Reefsleep in addition to the bar, which in a single day company have free rein of (although spirits and cocktails are additional).
Reefworld’s Predominant Deck And Semi-Submersible
On the water stage, issues are a bit extra practical. Snorkelling gear, together with wetsuits and stinger fits, are right here. Additionally the kitchen, the place you’ll discover breakfast within the morning and the place dinner is served on the communal desk, are on this stage.
This deck offers you entry to the patrolled ‘pool’ space the place you may snorkel the reef proper from the pontoon.
There’s additionally a scuba base right here the place you may dive instantly too.
When you don’t wish to go within the water although, you may entry the semi-submersible, which is at all times moored alongside the pontoon. This half-boat half-submarine has seating and home windows in its hull, and common excursions present you around the reef with out getting your toes moist.
Reefworld’s Underwater Deck And Reefsuites
Under the waterline, there are additionally issues to see. An observatory has home windows that allow you to see what’s taking place underneath the waves. Sitting right here watching the underwater world go by is mesmerising.
In actual fact, the wonderful crew onboard organise a romantic dinner for Christina and me.
Whereas the remainder of the in a single day company dine upstairs on the principle deck, we’re served our scrumptious three-course meal at a desk for 2 within the observatory.
We watch the silver flashes of trevally, whitebait and a range tropical fish—to not point out the gargantuan shadow of George the large 300kg large groper—whereas we eat. It’s a very unforgettable expertise.
However maybe most spectacular are the 2 Reefsuite bedrooms which might be down right here.
Under the extent of the water, down a personal stairway, these bed room suites, which have their very own loos with full showers, are beneath sea stage. The mattress appears to be like instantly out into the open ocean by floor-to-ceiling home windows to the deep blue yonder. There are even glass panels within the ground.
These Reefsuites are—clearly—very talked-about and guide out early, so be sure you don’t wait too lengthy if you wish to keep right here in these distinctive rooms.
Meals And Drink On Reefworld
For everybody who involves Reefworld—in a single day company and day-trippers alike—lunch is supplied onboard the catamaran. It’s buffet type with a great vary of tasty morsels.
As soon as the catamaran leaves once more at 3pm, the bar opens for folks staying in a single day. Beer, wine, cider and gentle drinks are included in your keep.
Dinner begins with a choice of tasty hors d’oeuvres like grilled prawns, sautéed scallops and recent oysters.
Mains and desserts are a la carte, and—maybe for the sake of excellent style—there are not any fish dishes for us to decide on. In actual fact, Christina and I each go for the thick-cut steak with greens and a wealthy red-wine jus.
We additionally go for a similar dessert of chocolate brownie, although the cheese choice nearly wins me over.
Breakfast is resort buffet type, with eggs, bacon, sausages and hash browns, in addition to fruit, yoghurt and barista-made espresso. You may even be tempted by a breakfast mimosa!
You even have lunch at Reefworld earlier than the catamaran leaves for Hamilton Island at 3pm.
Snorkelling, Scuba Diving And Scenic Flights
Reefworld is located getting ready to what was as soon as an enormous river valley. Because the finish of the final Ice Age although, this nutrient-rich river system has been fully submerged, offering the right atmosphere for coral to develop.
From the pontoon, you may borrow moist fits, stinger fits, masks, snorkels and fins to take a look at the reef.
Nonetheless, there’s an choice to go on a guided ‘snorkel safari’ with the wonderful divemasters onsite.
A whole lot of the reef is definitely explorable from the floor simply with snorkels, however for a extra immersive expertise (pun meant), scuba dives will present you extra of the secrets and techniques this historical river valley holds.
And the perfect a part of that is you may even attempt a dive if you happen to don’t have a licence.
The divemasters will actually maintain your hand and take you deep beneath the waves to see the gorgeous coral, inquisitive fish and different marine life additional down than snorkels can take you.
When you do have a diving licence, you may guide dives additional afield at among the designated websites across the reef.
Scuba dives and guided snorkel excursions price additional and it’s a good suggestion to guide them beforehand.
Semi-submersible excursions and the underwater observatory are free for everybody to take pleasure in all through their keep.
Whilst you’re right here, there’s additionally a possibility to actually take your keep to the following stage. Scenic helicopter flights take off and land from a pontoon near Reefworld!
From the air you get to see proof of the traditional river system and the reef in all its glory.
As effectively, you may try iconic Coronary heart Reef, the ethereal white and blue swirls of Hill Inlet and the pristine stretch of silica sand of Whitehaven Seashore.
For us, it’s an expertise we’ll always remember.