Stop press: You’ve never been able to access Heart Reef like this before
There’s a heart-shaped reef in The Whitsundays you may have heard of. It’s the main attraction to many a romantic, swooping seaplane flight; a precursor to proposals; and absolute A-grade Instagram fodder.
But getting up close and personal with Heart Reef is now possible in a whole new way.
Welcome to Heart Island
The ‘island’ is one man’s fantasy turned reality, on offer from early June as a luxury Great Barrier Reef experience from Hamilton Island. Brad Graves from Hamilton Island Air has spent the past decade selling his vision and working with boat builders, environmental scientists, and all manner of tradies and logistics specialists to make Heart Island a reality.
Shimmering in a neighbouring lagoon to the iconic Heart Reef – about 60kms north-east of Hamilton Island – the Heart Island pontoon is essentially a private, floating lair for you and a maximum of five others.
The Heart Island experience
It kicks off with a 30-minute scenic helicopter flight over the islands of the Whitsundays to reach the turquoise jewel-scape that is the outer reef. Then, once you land on the floating heli pad, a secret staircase is revealed for you to descend into a plush ‘boat shed’ where a glass-bottom boat awaits, sleek enough to make James Bond weak at the knees. “It doesn’t go fast – it doesn’t need to – but we wanted it to look fast,” Brad says.
As the side of the building lifts, the boat lowers into the water for you to step aboard for an exclusive ride out and around the heart. Due to its protected status, you can’t dive or snorkel at Heart Reef but you’ll drop anchor in a nearby lagoon to explore impressive walls of coral with a marine biologist on hand, far from the crowds of any other day trips.
Back on board, it’s time to pop the champagne and enjoy canapés while basking in the beauty of this special spot.
Hamilton Island’s Heart Island experience departs daily, including return scenic flight, glass-bottom boat tour of Heart Reef lagoon, snorkelling equipment, light catering and beverages. The three-hour experience costs $999 per person aged 14 years and above.