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Aviation Adventures. Aviation Adventures has helicopter flights over the Whitsunday Islands (A$109–A$299); private champagne picnics with heli-transfers (A$219–A$599); and a daytrip to Whitehaven Beach and the Great Barrier Reef, flying over glorious Heart Reef and stopping near Langford Reef for snorkeling and a gourmet picnic lunch, returning over the Whitsunday Passage (A$669). They also transfer guests to various islands including Hayman, Hook, Long, Daydream, and South Molle. 2927 Shute Harbour Rd., Airlie Beach, QLD, 4802. 07/4946–9988. www.av8.com.au.
Fantasea. Fantasea Cruises runs "island discovery" and reef trips daily from Hamilton and Hook islands and Shute Harbour. From Hamilton Island, it's a 55-km (34-mi) trip to Fantasea's huge Reefworld pontoon inside magnificent Hardy Reef Lagoon, where you can swim and snorkel along easy coral trails teeming with thousands of tropical fish including 10-foot resident grouper George. You can also scuba dive, ride in a semisubmersible, or simply relax. The cost is A$225, including gear, Reefworld facilities, all taxes and charges, and a BBQ lunch. While you're there, take a guided snorkel tour for A$40, a dive lesson and introductory dive for A$115, or a certified dive for A$100. A scenic heli-flight over famous Heart Reef starts from A$110 per person. There's a kid-friendly safe snorkeling area and an on-reef child-minding service, a massage hut with reef views (massages from A$20). Club Seahorse.
Fantasea also runs a daily high-speed catamaran cruise to Whitehaven Beach, a justifiably famous stretch of pure white silica sand as fine as talcum powder. Find a secluded spot on the 6½-km (4-mi) beach—and apply sunblock: the sand acts as a reflector—or swim in the crystal-clear water. Trips on the air-conditioned vessels, including onboard commentary, barbecue lunch, afternoon tea, beach shelters, and games, costs A$150 from Shute Harbour (including pick-ups from Airlie Beach), 8 am–5:25 pm; A$110 from Hamilton Island, noon–4 pm. 07/4967–5455 or 1800/650–851. www.fantasea.com.au.
Reefsleep. Stay overnight on the Hardy Reef pontoon with a Reefworld host and up to five others on a Fantasea's terrific two-day Reefsleep package: it includes restaurant-quality meals, sunset cocktails, and drinks with dinner, a dive or a guided snorkeling tour (with gear), a reef appreciation presentation, unlimited access to the underwater viewing chamber, accommodation in a king room or four-bed bunkroom, reef tax, and use of Reefworld facilities during your stay (A$480–A$650 per person, min. 2 persons). 07/4967–5455 or 1800/650–851. www.fantasea.com.au.
Sunsail Australia. Sunsail Australia has various boats available for bareboat charter, with optional extras including professional skippers and cook, kayaks, and dinghy. Front St., Hamilton Island, QLD, 4803. 07/4948–9509 or 1800/803988. www.sunsail.com.au.
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