Where is it?

The reef is 60km out from Shute

Harbour/Airlie Beach

How to see it for yourself?

Most of the Great Barrier Reef’s attractions lie under the surface, of course, and Hardy Reef in its southern section (further from shore and therefore less trafficked) is a great place to see them. Expect a stunning array of polychromatic hard and soft corals, a couple of hundred fish species – including tusk fish, trevally, snapper, cuttlefish, moray eels, barracuda, unicorn fish, surgeonfish, angelfish, wrasse, gropers – not to mention starfish, giant clams and even the occasional passing whale. But you’ll have to take to the air to see this sight and the other major local attraction, Heart Reef, which is in a protected area off-limits to underwater tourists. Hardy Reef features Fantasea’s permanent Reefworld pontoon, where you can snorkel, dive, do a semi-submersible tour and even stay the night, while further out is Cruise Whitsundays’ Knuckle Reef pontoon. Both offer helicopter flights starting from $110/$129 for 10 minutes. This image was taken from a chopper at midday. Those with deeper pockets can also fly out from the Whitsunday Islands or the mainland – by helicopter or seaplane – in 30 minutes to save themselves the long boat ride.
Why I love it
“Hardy Reef is probably my favourite part of the Great Barrier Reef, because it features beautiful turquoise colours and incredible textured patterns. This particular view holds significance to me because it was my first ever helicopter flight and aerial photo shoot.” – Mark Gray


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