Sleep Under the Stars on the Great Barrier Reef

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Jun 23, 2016

Spend a night sleeping in a swag on a pontoon, under the stars on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. By Neil McMahon.

Imagine the Great Barrier Reef all yours, all night. In the man-made world, this scenario would be akin to a private tour of the Louvre or a solo climb of the Great Pyramid of Giza. With Reefsleep, a handful of visitors pay for the privilege of sleeping on a pontoon on Hardy Reef with the sky as their blanket and Nemo darting about below.

When the daytrippers return to shore, a maximum of nine reef sleepers revel in the silence and their exclusive access to a side of the reef most never see: the ocean wonderland at night.

“At 3 o’clock, once the boat departs, it’s completely silent and you have the pontoon to yourself so it’s a really small, intimate experience,” says Alyce Carter of Cruise Whitsundays

Staff serve dinner and breakfast and hand out swags – your bed for the night atop the pontoon. “That’s the magical part – going up to the top deck, getting in your swag and gazing at the stars,” she says.

The night gives way to an equally precious reef sunrise and diving experience. Oh, and for romantic couples who want their privacy, there’s one double room. But, really, it’s all about enjoying the sky, the stars and the sea so sleeping indoors would seem like a missed opportunity.

Tours depart from Port of Airlie, Daydream Island and Hamilton Island.

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