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Family bareboating holidays

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Bareboating and the Great Barrier Reef

October 19, 2016

When you go bareboating in the Whitsunday Islands, you are cruising in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. There are hundreds and hundreds of different species of corals, and over 1000 different species of fish!


It's quite extraordinary and something you simply must see at least once in your lifetime. 


The Great Barrier Reef itself is enormous! It stretches over 2300km and covers over 344,000km2.  


Let’s put that into perspective, the Great Barrier Reef:  

  • is as long as the entire west coast of America, from Vancouver to Mexico! 

  • covers as much area as the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands combined!  

  • is half the size of Texas!  


The entire reef system is huge, and the islands of the Whitsundays where you go bareboating are within it. While there is an ‘outer reef’ about 50 miles off shore of the islands that bareboats can’t visit, you can certainly enjoy some of the most beautiful reefs right off the edge of the islands. In many cases, you can even walk straight in off the beach and snorkel over reef in the shallows! It’s very easy, and snorkelling gear is included free of charge.  


Across the length of the entire reef, there are 600 continental islands. 74 of those are in the Whitsundays, and when you go bareboating you can explore them all. You definitely won’t be able to visit them all in just a week, impossible! You’ll have to come back again and again to see them all.  


Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park 

Snorkelling is one of the highlights of a visit to the Whitsundays. With much talk of coral bleaching lately it must be pointed out that the Whitsundays has been left relatively unscathed. Certainly the further south you travel, the better the quality of the reef, and here in the Whitsundays we have some extraordinarily beautiful reefs easily accessed by bareboat.  


When you go bareboating, you will be provided with free snorkeling gear, which includes a mask, fins and snorkel, and yes, child sizes are available. Make sure you get in and have a look around!  


Our favourite snorkeling spots: 

  • Blue Pearl Bay, western side of Hayman Island  

  • The five bays across the top of Hook Island which includes Butterfly Bay, Luncheon Bay, Maureens’s Cove, Manta Ray Bay and the Pinnacles  

  • Dumbell Island, north east of Whitehaven Beach  

  • Black Island, also known as Bali Hai, near Hayman Island  

  • Langford Island, south of Hayman Island  

Diving in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park 

You can also go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. When it comes to diving, you have two choices. If you are certified, you can hire a full set of dive gear at the marina in Airlie Beach and go diving wherever you please.  


If you are a beginner diving for the first time, or want a guided dive with the local experts, you can meet up with the rendezvous dive boat, Tornado Dive. They operate around the islands of the Whitsundays 6 days a week, and generally stay around the northern islands of Hook Island and Hayman Island. All gear is provided for a very good price.