A heart-shaped reef in Australia known by the name of Heart Reef, that was closed to visitors for decades together, and could only be viewed aerially, is now finally accepting guests! By Amitha Ameen

 

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The world’s largest coral system, The Great Barrier Reef is home to over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching over 2,300 kilometres and situated off the coast of Queensland, Australia. And of those many reefs, the Heart Reef, famed for being naturally heart-shaped could until recently only be seen from above.

But now, this Heart Reef measuring less than 30 meters in diameter and situated near Hamilton Island, is home to a luxurious pontoon called Heart Island that is now welcoming day-visitors. After being off-limit for years, this pontoon that can be reached via a helicopter and can carry six guests at a time is offering exciting activities.

 

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The whole outing lasts over three hours and begins with a 30-minute helicopter ride that takes off from Hamilton Island and lands at the final destination. During the airtime, guests can enjoy gorgeous aerial views of the Whitsundays, with uninterrupted views of the White Haven Beach and Hill Inlet. Once guests arrive, although they are prohibited from diving and snorkelling in the Heart Reef, they are given 90 minutes to explore the area.

A small-glass bottom boat takes guests around the heart where they can explore the abundance of coral in the neighbouring lagoons. The pontoon comes equipped with a pool; it has eco-friendly, contemporary decor that is powered on solar energy. The place is well stocked with plenty of snacks and wine, too.

The ride back to Hamilton Island takes around an hour, as the pilot takes guests over a more scenic route that includes passing over Hook Island passage along with the previously traversed locations. The Heart Reef tour is open to anyone over 14 years of age and costs around INR 59,182 (AU$ 1,100).

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