Go To See this picturesque heart-shaped reef nestled within the stunning Whitsundays!

It is an iconic site, recognised by millions and splattered across the majority of the Great Barrier Reef’s postcards and advertisements. The stunning composition of coral that is coincidentally shaped in the form of a heart, hence its name!

How it formed

What amazes viewers most about this reef spot is that the heart shape was formed entirely by accident. The reef is a coral bommie, which is essentially an outcrop of coral reef, slowly forming hundreds of years ago to naturally take shape of a heart.

Where is it?

Located in the centre of Hardy reef, which is around 60 kilometres offshore to Airlie Beach. It was first discovered in 1975, by an Air Whitsunday’s pilot. Skyrocketing in popularity until it is now known as an internationally recognised attraction. It is under a protected status, so it faces less human harm

How you can See it

On a Scenic Flight

Due to the reef being under strict protection laws, no one can swim or snorkel in the region. However, there are Heart Reef flights which take you around the Whitsundays region to see the picturesque reef from a bird’s eye view! You may not be able to plunge into the waters, but in terms of seeing the iconic heart shape, by plane is best! There are a number of flights to choose from, departing from the larger islands, the mainland beach towns, and you can even do a flight from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns, stopping into Hamilton Island on your way. Many scenic flights to the reef also include other iconic breathtaking spots in the Whitsundays, such as the stunning Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet.

Land nearby in a Seaplane

The closest you can get to the Heart Reef is by landing the plane nearby! Certain plans offer extra experiences, parking the plane on a nearby section Great Barrier Reef. Hopping onto a glass-bottomed boat for a perfect view into the underwater world that you slowly glide over. Snorkelling is also available, otherwise, guests can enjoy a delicious glass of sparkling wine before heading back to the mainland.

Stay Nearby

Instead of heading back to the busy crowds of the mainland, instead, extend your Whitsunday Island’s adventure and stay at a nearby island resort. Hamilton Island offers a picture-perfect resort experience, equip with private homes and even your buggy to use throughout the island. The paradise Daydream Island gives travellers the pure white sand beaches and plenty of fun-filled kid activities! Even the popular Whitsunday Island offers exceptional experiences, surrounded by stunning teal waters and an abundance of marine and land life.

Explore the Whitsundays Tours!

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward began with a passion for travel and turned it into a thriving tourism business. He co-founded Sightseeing Tours Australia after starting out as a tour guide in Melbourne. Cameron delights in helping visitors get the most from their trip to Australia. Whether he's leading tours or writing about his favourite places, Cameron loves sharing his local insight with fellow travellers.

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