Millions of people a year want to see and experience “the reef” but only a select few get exclusive access to this world-class wonder.

When you plunge into the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef you can feel as if you have been dropped into another world; colourful collections of tropical fish zooming towards you like squadrons of fighter planes, peeling off at the last second to avoid crashing into your goggles, then going about their business in the nooks and crannies of the myriad varieties of coral.

It can be a sensory experience that makes you very reluctant to get into your boat and head back to dry land. But what if you didn’t have to? Cruise Whitsunday’s Reefsleep is a very unique way to experience one of our biggest tourist attractions.


Where is Reefsleep?


Reefsleep takes place on the permanently moored pontoon at Hardy Reef, 40 nautical miles offshore. Hardy Reef is in the outer regions of the Great Barrier Reef and has incredible sea life and coral to explore. The pontoon itself is positioned alongside the coral wall with undercover seating and shade – it even has its own ecosystem growing from the pontoon that makes for a great first look at the reef.


What is Reefsleep?


Well, it’s all in the name. Like normal daytrippers you head out from Airlie Beach for a day of diving amongst the Maori wrasse, clownfish and fusiliers. You can snorkel for hours – or take part in extra activities like diving or a helicopter flight (for an additional cost) to see the Insta-essential Heart Reef. But, the key difference is that when all the daytrippers jump on their boats to head home – you don’t!

At 3pm in the afternoon when the day guests have to turn back, you get the pontoon all to yourself, just you and the very small group of fellow travellers. You can jump back in for a less-crowded snorkel or chill out on the pontoon with a bottle of bubbly.


Why spend the night?


Because it is nothing like a day on the reef. As the sun sets you might see green sea turtles feeding nearby on the seagrass, search for the faintly phosphorescent sea creatures from your vantage point on the reef and watch the sunset over the water as your delicious dinner is being prepared for you.

You feel more connected to this natural wonder with extra time to soak it in; you are on reef time now, there is nowhere else to be.

See a reef sunset and sunrise and spend the night stargazing in your swag without the distraction of ambient light. Check out the nocturnal creatures of the sea via the underwater viewing platform or share a drink with a friend as you float miles away from anywhere.

Then in the morning, the ocean is all yours once more before the daytrippers arrive.


Reefsleep is a two-day, one-night experience that includes breakfast, two-morning teas,two-afternoon teas, two buffet lunches and a dinner as part of the experience.

Cruise Whitsundays is offering travel agents the chance to win a Reefsleep experience for two. CLICK HERE to enter.

For a limited time only, when you book a Reefsleep you’ll get the second at 50% off. Conditions apply. CLICK HERE to book.

READ: Travel industry GMs help to save the Barrier Reef

READ: Tourism winner takes a stand for the Great Barrier Reef

Have you ever spent a night under the stars?

Written by Paul Chai, KarryOn contributor

This story brought to you by:

Cruise Whitsundays