One item that should be on everyones bucket list is a trip to The Great Barrier Reef. David Attenborough calls it 'the most magical thing' he has seen in his long career as a naturalist. It's one of the Worlds most beautiful natural sights and is the world's largest ecosystem, which can even be seen from space. It's made up of reefs, islands, corals and sand cays, with thousands of species of fish, coral, turtles, dolphins, sharks and other marine life.
I recently took a trip to Tropical North Queensland and not only did i take a day trip out to the reef, i also had an overnight stay in a swag on a pontoon in the middle of the reef. One experience i'll never forget.
Sunlover by Starlight: Sunlover Reef Cruises
We booked in for a Sunlover by Starlight experience with Sunlover Reef Cruises, which includes two days and one night on the Reef. Sleeping in a swag under a night sky blanketed in stars, with the sound of the reef beneath you. There’s nothing else in the world like this feeling.
You start the day by jumping on-board the Sunlover Reef Cruises air-conditioned catamaran in the Cairns marina with the rest of the day-trippers headed to the Sunlover Reef Cruise pontoon at Moore Reef, 40km off Cairns. The deluxe pontoon is designed for all ages and abilities, whether you want to get in the water or see the reef without even getting your feet wet, there’s something for everyone. Included in the Day Trip is snorkelling, an underwater observatory, semi-submersible tour, glass-bottom boat tour, fish feeding, tank touch presentation, an enclosed kids pool for the little ones. It even has a two story waterslide which spits you out from the top sundeck to the reef below (I went on it about 20 times it was so much fun). A delicious buffet lunch and tea and coffee is also included. They also have optional extras such as diving, a seawalker helmet dive and even scenic helicopter tours (which we did and it was a must do!).
The Reef is alive with colourful corals, anemones, vibrant fish, turtles and the occasional shark and dolphin. I had the song ‘under the sea’ from the little mermaid in my head the whole time, it’s like another world.
We spent most of our time snorkelling, however we also took a glass bottom boat tour and semi-submersible tour, which is a great way to see the Reef, and in particular parts of the Reef that you don’t get to snorkel. Sitting in the Underwater Observatory is mesmerising, it’s like looking in on a big fish tank.
One must do experience while you are out on the reef is a scenic helicopter flight. Seeing the reef from above is incredible and gives you a whole other perspective of just how big the reef really is.
At around 3.30pm the Day Trippers all board the catamaran for the trip back to Cairns. We however, stood on the deck of the pontoon and waved them all goodbye, as we were staying overnight on the pontoon for the Sunlover by Starlight experience. A glamping experience where we slept in deluxe swags on the pontoon, under ta blanket of stars as the reef was alive beneath us. They keep the numbers small so that you can truly experience having the reef all to yourself. It’s just you and a couple of others, and a couple of the sunlover staff who are there to host you.
We spent the rest of the afternoon snorkelling under the watchful eye of the sunlover staff, it was truly amazing being the only ones in the water for miles, just us and the fishies. After we’d managed to pull ourselves out of the water, we were treated to a hot shower and a cheese platter and beverage on the sun deck as the sunset over the reef. It’s times like these that make you truly appreciate how beautiful life is and how magical the natural world really is. We were served a delicious 3 course BBQ dinner under the stars as the reef beneath us started to come alive at night. We watched the reef from the underwater observatory, giant trevally swimming around. After a big day we retreated to our swags, drifting off to sleep under the stars, the sounds of the reef lapping beneath us.
We woke up as the sun was peaking over the horizon and watch the reef come alive yet again. After a yummy breakfast, served by our wonderful hosts, we were back in the water once again snorkelling with the reef all to ourselves. The day trippers arrive around 11.30am and the reef is again buzzing with people. We spent the rest of the day snorkelling before joining the rest of the day trippers for the cruise back Cairns.
This is one experience I cannot recommend highly enough. It allows you two days on the reef and an overnight experience you will never forget.
If you're interested in booking your own adventure with Sunlover Reef Cruises, click on on the website below. If you have any questions about the Sunlover by Starlight experience or Day Trip feel free to ask a question in the comments below, or send me an email.
Disclaimer - All photos in this Blog Post were taken and edited by myself. This trip was in partnership with Sunlover Reef Cruises. All opinions are my own, honest and unbiased.