Have you ever dreamt of just waking up, jumping on a fast ocean-going catamaran and spending two wonderful days on the Great Barrier Reef?
I had the opportunity to do just that. It was a quick little getaway and a fantastic experience like no other.
The trip out to Hardy Reef left from the port of Airlie, we had a quick stop at Hamilton Island along the way before arriving at Reefworld Pontoon. The trip took around three hours overall and can get a little bumpy, so pack some Kwells if you experience motion sickness.
And the adventure starts here!
On the first day you are a day passenger with access to the public areas of the pontoon, including a buffet lunch. You can upgrade your experience and book a dive or snorkel safari, complete with all the equipment you will need - you can even hire an underwater camera!
There is also a semi-submarine and you can visit the underwater observatory 24 hours a day. You can swim as much as you want to or sit and watch the day go by. After the day trippers depart the pontoon, this is when you get access to your Reefsleep Pod, or Reefsuite. You now have access to the reef with only the other overnight guests, a few of the crew (including experienced divers) and a wonderful chef who will feed you like royalty.
There are 12 Reefsleep pods located on the top deck of the pontoon which can each take one or two guests, and two Reefsuites which can accommodate two guests. These suites are underwater rooms located below the main deck and feature glass walls and floor. Just remember to close the curtain if you don't want anyone peeking in!
There is an abundance of beautiful coral and marine life around the pontoon, and if you're really lucky you can meet the friendly grouper fish or turtles that live nearby!
So after a full day of snorkeling or diving, you can have a hot shower (there are shared facilities on the top deck or private bathrooms for the Reefsuites) before it's time for a sunset drink or two followed by a three course dinner served on the deck. I had a wonderful night getting to know the other guests onboard, and then we all slipped away to our pods for our night under the stars!
The pods were very comfortable and very stable. We had an extremely windy night, but I was all snug inside my pod. I even got up a few times throughout the night and looked over the side at the large fish around the pontoon. It was very surreal.
I woke to a spectacular sunrise, enjoyed breakfast, then it was back into the water for some additional snorkeling time before the day trippers arrived. Before we left the pontoon later that afternoon, we were served a two course lunch in a private area, and then a little later it was time to board the boat (where they allocated us a private section) and head back to Hamilton Island or Airlie Beach.
This quick getaway was one of those trips that have become a memory of a lifetime!