The stars & the sea ✧ Just a few of my favourite things…..
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to enjoy a first class camp-out on the Great Barrier Reef with Sunlover Reef Cruises who offer this incredible experience on board their pontoon at Moore Reef. From the moment I heard about this trip I was absolutely enthralled with the idea and could hardly contain my excitement when I learned it would become a reality.
Moore Reef is located on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, approx. 40km’s or a 2.5 hour boat ride from Cairns. It is absolutely teaming with vibrant marine-life, as well as loads of different colourful coral formations for you to admire from the shallow depths of the lagoon.
Our weekend started bright but not too early with a 9:30am departure on the Sunlover Catamaran from Cairns. This was not my first visit to the Moore Reef pontoon and on this day the boat was particularly busy. This would normally horrify me and even more so my partner Matt (a hater of crowds from way back), but today it only made me smile with the thought that come 3pm, we would be left with the reef all to ourselves.
Upon arriving at the pontoon we were greeted with pristine conditions. Nothing but sunshine, a slight breeze and crystal clear water – perfect for the day of diving and snorkelling that we had planned. I have always been an ocean lover and there is not much that brings me greater joy than diving down to meet the local marine life, to explore and learn more about their home. This day was no exception and therefore most of the four hours that followed were spent admiring the magical coral gardens that make up Moore Reef.
Not surprisingly 3pm came around quickly enough and before we knew it, we farewelled the day trippers and prepared for the night on the pontoon. We had two wonderful and very entertaining hosts from Sunlover who catered to our every need. From a delicious three course dinner, to comfy swags set up right on the water’s edge and even a warm shower to wash off from the days activities – this was definitely Glamping.
The sunset was like nothing else and so perfectly accompanied by cheese, wine and a few quick dives off the back of the pontoon! To admire the sun as it kissed the ocean horizon with the mountains surrounding Cairns silhouetted in the distance, was an absolute delight and to say I got snap happy would be a serious understatement.
What followed this epic sunset was an equally impressive three course meal complete with a dessert of chocolate pudding, layered with a salted caramel sauce good enough to drink. Did I mention that this is FIRST CLASS GLAMPING!
After dinner it wasn’t long before the skies began to darken and the universe opened up to thousands of stars twinkling above – honestly more than I have ever seen. And so content and sluggish from all the delicious food and the incredible day’s activities we snuggled up into our cozy swags and enjoyed a magical night of gazing up into the universe.
In the morning I awoke to the sound of water lapping against the pontoon and a glimpse of pink on the horizon. Eager for the sunrise, I emerged from my snuggly warm cocoon with not a moments hesitation, grabbed my camera gear and raced down the stairs to the water’s edge, where I found the temperature to be surprisingly pleasant.
A short time later, a not so eager Matt awoke to find me sitting waist deep in water trying to balance my camera and tripod on the edge of the pontoon, with the water lapping dangerously close to what would have been a very sad end to my poor camera’s life. Seeing that disaster was imminent my heat loving boyfriend whipped the very expensive gear from my hands and reluctantly submerged his feet into the cool water to help balance the tripod exactly where I wanted it. I can be quite pedantic at times like this and he was not overly impressed.
But then as if all our of stars aligned, the sun began to rise and the whole world turned a shade of peachy-pink. I looked back at Matt with the biggest goofy grin on my face, at which point he smiled, shook his head and jokingly muttered ‘I hate you.’
The sunrise that followed was absolute perfection.
As the colours faded and the golden sunshine began to fill the sky we finished up with the photos and began to prepare for day two on the reef. Starting with a an early morning guided snorkel to a private and untouched site. If you have never had the opportunity to experience the reef as it is waking up, then you are missing out! The underwater world comes to life and it is incredible!
As we emerged from the water, we were greeted with the smell of a delicious hot breakfast of bacon, eggs and my favourite – hash browns! Perfect to help regain our energy for another day in the ocean. I promise you will not go hungry on this trip!
Lastly, to finish up the morning, we were able to relax, soak up the sunshine and enjoy having this perfect natural wonder all to ourselves for another couple of hours.
Eventually however, the day boat was on the horizon, full of today’s eager passengers and while we were sad that what had become our little home for the night was about to be invaded, we were still so content and blown away by the fact that we had this little slice of paradise all to ourselves and it was magical, from start to finish.
For details on how to experience this trip for yourself visit: Sunlover.com.au
Check out the full album for Sunlover Reef cruises HERE.