Heart Reef

How to see and experience the iconic Heart Reef

Sir David Attenborough describes the Great Barrier Reef as “one of the most magical places on the planet”, and we don’t disagree, especially when there are spots like Heart Reef to see and experience.

Matters of the heart

Heart Reef

Heart Reef is part of Hardy Reef in the beautiful Whitsundays.

As the name suggests, Heart Reef is a composition of coral that is naturally formed in the shape of a heart. Not only that, but one glance and you’ll fall  head over heels in love.

It was first discovered in 1975 by a pilot and is now one of Australia’s most recognised attractions.

Seeing is believing

Heart Reef

Photo by @gsl_aviation

The best way to see and appreciate this beauty is from the air. You’ll spot it from a mile away.

GSL Aviation, Air Whitsundays and Hamilton Island Air all offer scenic flights or helicopter rides that fly over Heart Reef, with departures from Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island.

And best of all, the flights also visit (and can stop at) other iconic Whitsundays locations like Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet and the channel at Hardy Reef.

With Ocean Rafting you can combine a scenic flight with their thrilling raft tour that visits Whitehaven Beach, the Hill Inlet lookout and snorkelling spots nearby. Now that’s a day out so epic, it’s truly surreal.

Journey to the heart

You can’t dive or snorkel at Heart Reef due to its protected status.

But with the new journey to the heart tour from Hamilton Island, you can now see Heart Reef like never before.

A return helicopter trip takes guests to an exclusive Heart Island Pontoon located near the famous icon.

Once the helicopter lands on the pontoon, you can opt to snorkel in the turquoise lagoon, take a short boat trip around Heart Reef, or just relax and enjoy the remarkable setting. With a drink, of course.

Jump in

Heart Reef

Photo by @_markfitz

After all that time looking at Heart Reef, it’s time to dive in and explore the underwater world surrounding it.

Join Cruise Whitsundays for a full or half-day adventure to Hardy Reef, where you can swim, snorkel, dive or view the reef from a semi-submersible or the underwater observatory.

If you’re lucky you may spot one of the Great Eight, like a giant (and friendly) Maori Wrasse.

Every visit to the Reef helps with its management and long-term resilience.

$6.50 (full day) from every visitor to the Reef with a tour operator goes to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which looks after the day-to-day management and long term health of the Reef.

While you’re there

Heart Reef will certainly steal your heart, but is just the start of a Whitsundays holiday.

Why not try bareboating, jet skiing or skydiving on your next visit to the Whitsundays?

There’s so much to do, we can easily rattle off this list of things to do in the region.
Better get a move on if you want to tick them all off.