Diving and Snorkeling
Cruise Whitsundays, Hayman Island. Hayman is the closest of the Whitsundays islands to the Great Barrier Reef—and it's a speedy ride on Cruise Whitsundays's wave-piercer craft to Knuckle Reef Lagoon pontoon on the outer Reef. There, you can snorkel and dive over myriad corals, alongside rainbow-hued wrasse and clownfish, reef sharks, rays, and green sea turtles. Picking up from Hayman daily, the daylong dive-and-snorkel cruise includes paddleboards, snorkeling gear, a giant waterslide, and a vast underwater viewing chamber. You also get priority access to coral-viewing tours and various optional extras: guided snorkel safaris, scuba diving, scenic helicopter flights over Heart Reef, even massages. Cruise Whitsundays also runs shorter cruises around the Whitsundays and Whitehaven Beach. Hayman Island Jetty, Hayman Island, QLD, 4803. 07/4946–9102. www.cruisewhitsundays.com. A$225 cruise, incl. buffet lunch; A$45 guided snorkeling safari, A$99 certified scuba dive, A$119 beginner dive, A$59 second dive.
Hayman Island Diving and Snorkeling. The only Whitsundays resort within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Hayman offers fast access to some of the world's best underwater sites. Their guided scuba and snorkel excursions visit several inner-reef hot spots, including Hayman's own Bali Hai (a green sea turtle hangout) and beautiful Blue Pearl Bay, where you can swim among 1,500-odd species of fishes and 400 hard and soft corals. A guided dive tour of nearby inner Barrier Reef sites offers certified divers the chance to swim alongside green turtles, manta rays, and more (A$185). Hayman has expert dive instructors on site and offers PADI scuba courses. Prices and times vary and are weather dependent; pre-book through Hayman's Marine Centre (daily 8-4:30) at the marina. Excursions depart from Hayman Island Jetty, Raintree Ave., Hayman Island, QLD, 4801. 07/4940–1838. www.hayman.com.au.
Hayman Marine Centre. Handily located at Hayman's marina, a short stroll or buggy ride from the resort complex, this scuba training facility—also the place to enquire about and book local dive, snorkel and sea kayaking tours and beach drop-offs—sells and rents out equipment, including dive and snorkel gear, accessories, and stinger suits. Nonmotorized water-sports equipment—catamarans, kayaks, windsurfers, and the like—can be found lined up along Hayman Beach in front of the main resort pool. Hayman Marina, off Raintree Ave., Hayman Island, QLD, 4801. 07/4940–1838. www.hayman.com.au.