Exploring the islands east of Airlie Beach provides an excellent opportunity to see the marine fauna near the Great Barrier Reef. Instead of driving for 100 km to the reef itself, which requires a three-day tour, something that will cost you around 700 AUD + this trip takes only one day and allows you seeing the beatiful white beach of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island at a reasonable fare of 150 AUD. The fairly fast boat leaves at 8:00 and returns around 17:00. A good BBQ is offered on Whitsunday Island where you will stay for around 1.5 hours. You will have a snorkelling opportunity thereafter in Mantaray Bay, although I was a bit disappointed in comparison to reefs in the Red Sea. Altogether it was a very nice experience, guided by some very nice chaps on the boat.
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