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Tours To Heart Reef

Map Location


One of the biggest tourist attractions in Australia is Heart Reef Whitsundays. Located in the Great Barrier Reef 78km offshore of Airlie Beach is a coral reef that is heart-shaped and only 17 meters in diameter. Despite its small size, the beacon of love is clearly visible from an air tour on a helicopter or scenic flight. 

Heart reef whitsundays

Where Is The Love Heart Reef Whitsundays Location?

Heart Reef Whitsundays is located off the mainland of Airlie Beach, Queensland 4802 and is only accessible by boat, helicopter or scenic plane.

78 Km from Airlie Beach
71km from Hamilton Island
108km from Bowen
152km from Mackay

The exact coordinates are 19.7754° S, 149.2478° E. You can see the below Google map which also has a satellite view over Heart Reef.

How To Get To Heart Reef Whitsundays?

Heart Reef Whitsundays is located 78km over the coral sea from Airlie Beach, so the options to visit this location are limited. Your options are

  1. Scenic Flight By Plane
  2. Helicopter
  3. Boat

Option 1 – Scenic Flight Tour By Plane over islands and reef 

Taking an Airlie Beach Scenic Flight to Heart Reef Great Barrier Reef is the most popular and affordable way to see this so-called Heart Island.

FlyAus Charters have 6 to 8 flights departing daily for Whitsunday Airport just 5 minutes from Airlie Beach. The 70 Minute Flight takes a maximum of 5 people and flies over

  • Whitsunday Island
  • South Molle Island
  • Daydream Island
  • Whitehaven Beach
  • Hill Inlet (swirling sands)
  • Hayman Island
  • Hamilton Island
  • Hardy Reef
  • Hook Reef
  • Line Reef
  • Heart Reef

These flights can book out fast so make sure to book ahead. ZigZag Whitsundays have the Sea and Sky Combo which includes FlyAus Charters scenic flight and a Whitehaven Beach Tour . To Find out more about the Sea and Sky Combo by clicking the button below.

Scenic planes at whitsunday airport

Option 2 – Helicopter Flight From Airlie Beach Or Hamilton Island

Heart Reef Helicopters have flights to the heart island pontoon, there are a few different options including

  • Heart Reef Scenic Helicopter Flight
  • ‘Heart Island (pontoon landing)
  • Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef scenic
  • Whitehaven and Heart Reef Landings (time at each location)

for all the information visit their website here 

Option 3 – By Private Boat 

This option will take some planning as you can access the lagoon where the reef is by High Tide, and I mean very close to high tide. Even wait for the yearly King tides.

To access Heart Reef Whitsundays by boat will need to be very well prepared and have a good long-range vessel.

we only recommend this option for very experienced local boaties. To see more information on the marine area and restrictions please see below.

Locations visited on a heart reef scenic flight


Heart Reef Zoning Map

 Heart reef is covered by the Whitsunday plan of management zoning restrictions and is a green zone in the Great Barrier Marine Park. This means a lot of activities like fishing, spearfishing and harvesting are restricted and not allowed, however boating, snorkelling and scuba diving are permitted around Heart Reef Whitsundays.

The below 2 images show Heart Reef in a green zone and what activities are allowed in a green zone within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

To see the full PDF (4mb) zoning map issued by Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Click here

Heart reef whitsundays zoning map
Heart reef activities zoning plan

Closest Accommodation to Heart Reef


The closest accommodation to Heart Reef Whitsundays (ordered by shortest distance)

  1. Cruise Whitsundays Reef Sleep on their overnight pontoon. see full details here 
  2. Hayman Island Resort
  3. Hamilton Island
  4. Daydream Island
  5. Airlie Beach

All of these locations have options of seeing and experiencing Heart Reef Whitsundays by plane or helicopter


How Was Heart Reef Discovered?


It wasn’t until 1975 that Heart Reef was discovered by an Air Whitsunday pilot called John Ramsden, and he was on a routine scenic flight over the Great Barrier reef, as he passed over Hardy Reef Lagoon he detected a natural coral structure that was in the shape of a love heart.

47 years later and John would have never imagined the significance of his discovery that day. Businesses have taken visitors to this small reef, various organizations have it in their name, Tourism Bodys market regions through the Whitsunday council as ‘’’ Heart of …” E.g. Collinsville is Heart of the Outback, and last but not least, thousands of wedding proposals have been created passing over Hert reef (lovers reef).



Where is Heart Reef Whitsundays?

Heart Reef Whitsundays is located 78km offshore of Airlie Beach QLD 4802 Australia. Situated in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and beside Hardy Reef.

How Big Is Heart Reef?

Heart Reef has a 17km Diameter

How Old Is Heart Reef?

Coral of the Great Barrier Reef Including the Heart Reef dates back 20 million years.

Is Heart Reef Protected?

Zigzag whitsundays

Heart Reef is a protected Green Zone, However swimming and Diving are allowed. Please see the Great Barrier Reef Marine Parke Authority Zoning Map on this webpage

What is the best way to see Heart Reef

the best way and most affordable to see Heart Reef is by Scenic Flight From Airlie Beach with FlyAus Charters

What Tour Companies Visit Heart Reef From Airlie Beach

ZigZag Whitsundays (Sea and Sky Combo),
FlyAus Charters,
Heart Reef Helicopters.

Nath j

Nath J

Inbound Sales And Marketing Specialist At ZigZag Whitsundays

Nath J has lived and worked in the Whitsunday region since 2001. Over these 20 years, he has spent 18 of them in the tourism industry.

As always if you have any questions about the Heart Reef Whitsundays or any regional information , you can head over to our FAQ page or contact us on 07 4813 9007 or bookings@zigzagwhitsundays.com.au

Zigzag whitsundays day tour at whitehaven beach


ZigZag Whitsundays day tour checkin starts at 7.50 am and the trip returns at 4 pm, The tour visits Whitehaven Beach and the southern lookout, you will also get an opportunity to snorkel around the islands.

As we depart early and return later, you get more time on the water, and more locations visited than any other Whitehaven Beach Tours from Airlie Beach.
In 2020 the boat was refitted with high back padded seats making sure our guests have a comfortable safe ride every time! 

Secen fligh over great barrier reef and whitehaven beach
Sea And Air Combo

Holy Grail of Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef Packages. Save $$ by booking together
A 70-minute scenic flight of the Whitsunday Islands, Whitehaven Beach, Heart Reef and the Great Barrier Reef.
Headset and in-flight commentary by your experienced pilot.
Window seat for all passengers.
Unlimited photo opportunities.
Plus ZigZag Whitsunday Day Tour
Must be taken over multiple days Eg Day Tour one day Scenic Flight next day

Learn More About Our Whitsundays Scenic Flight Package