Australia Oceania Travel

Exploring the great barrier reef

Exploring the Great Barrier Reef was the highlight of the trip for us. We had reserved the spots at Ocean rafting tours which took us to the Hill Inlet, Whitehaven beach, and also gave us a chance to snorkel into the great barrier reef. As our day was busy, we started early at about 7:45 AM, to get to marina where our boat was waiting for us. Our boat was called WildThing and it was a speedboat with capacity of 25 people. Before we hopped on, we were given stinger suits as there are lot of jelly fishes in the water around this time of the year, so it is better to be protected against them. We were all given instructions on the plan for the day and then it was time to hop on towards our first spot, the Hill inlet. The ride took about an hour to get to the Whitehaven beach and our tour guide asked us all to disembark and hike up to the viewpoint, which is about 15 mins of hike up the hill. The boat landed on the southern side, and tour boat would pick us up again on northern side from the Hill inlet.  It was quite bright and warm, so definitely recommend carrying lot of water & sunscreen on this trip. We got to the viewpoint to find ourselves with the bird’s eye of the Hill inlet. We were awestruck to see the different sand formations and we could see the people trying to go for a swim down in the water. While a number of boats can come to Whitehaven beach, our boat had a special access to the hill inlet. (They were the only touring company to have such a commercial access). Yesha had always seen the Hill inlet on TV shows and Vlogs and she was so excited to see it in real.
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Ovelooking Whitehaven beach, the second most famous beach in the world

We made our way down to the beach from the viewpoint, and then it was time to go for a short swim into the ocean. We didn’t go too far, as we had snorkeling left in the day but we were still able to see plenty of fishes near the beach,in the shallow waters. The sand here is also very rich with silica, so definitely recommend rubbing that while you get your feet wet. At this time, we were also provided with some really good food and drinks on the boat, so we had a very sumptuous meal onboard. After this, we all headed towards our first snorkeling point, which was called Macele bay. We jumped right from the boat, with our stinger suits on and it was truly a remarkable sight to see so many corals & colorful fishes. What was astonishing was the water clarity, which was so good that we could spot things from such long distances which otherwise isn’t possible. We snorkeled here for about 45 minutes and then came back to head to our second snorkeling point, which was called Mantaray bay. This snorkeling point is more famous for the fishes rather than the reef, so we saw a lot more fishes here, including some really big ones , which scared Shobhit for a bit. Our tour guide would often throw down food for the fishes and they will appear right next to us. We got plenty of nice pictures and videos here with our GoPro.

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At the beach with crystal clear water

 

The third day was another day we both had been really looking forward to. We had reserved a Seaplane tour over the Great Barrier Reef, including the world famous heart coral reef. After a nice breakfast, and some time in the villa, we made our way to the Whitsunday airport, not to be confused with the Whitsunday coast airport, which is for commercial flights. Once we got there, we were again provided with stinger suits and a small briefing about the safety instructions on board by our pilot. The entire tour was for about 2-2.5 hours with 60 minutes of flying and remaining time at the Whitehaven beach. We took off and first saw the different islands surrounding the Whitsunday island. Then we zeroed in to the heart of great barrier reef where we saw the amazing corals from above. Our pilot kept telling us the details of each of the coral islands we were seeing as we flew over them and finally it was time to cross over the much anticipated heart coral reef, our pilot giving us a countdown as we came near the reef. Both of us kept looking at the reef and amazing fauna all around us, with water so crystal clear that you can see 10’s of feet inside the ocean even though you are 100’s of feet in the air.

 

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Heart Reef seen from our seaplane tour
We then took a detour to the Whitehaven beach and as we landed, we got yet another spectacular view of the Hill inlet. As we came near the beach on our descend, we saw some manta rays and jelly fishes from above as the water was very clear and this area is known to be a breeding ground for manta rays. We made a smooth landing on water and quickly made our way to the beach where the pilot offered us some sparkling wine and lite snacks as refreshment while we soaked in the view around us. Yesha wanted to head into water again so we went for a quick swim. After spending a little more than an hour,we hopped back into the plane and this time Yesha had a chance to be on co-pilot’s chair and we flew back into the airport. On our way, we flew over the Hamilton islands and a few more islands, one of which is exceptionally expensive to stay- The Hayman Islands.

We were back in the town again by 6 PM, where we took another round exploring the streets and small shops, and also took a look at the man made lagoon right next to the marina, which is open to public till late and has all the facilities.  We watched the sunset from the lagoon and headed back home to pack up for Sydney, still inspired by the experience of last 3 days and a memory to save for lifetime.

 

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Our Seaplane from the beach

 

 

 

 

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