Blog Post

Sleep under the stars on the reef

  • Time

    48hrs

  • Close to

    Cairns

  • How

    Sunlover Reef Cruises

Is the Great Barrier Reef at the top of your travel bucket list? How about seeing the uninterrupted Southern night skies? Sunlover by Starlight gives you 48 hours of wanderlust-inducing experiences tied with a bow of exclusive reef tours, scrumptious food and five-star treatment. Get ready for sun-kissed days, epic sunsets and starry nights amongst your marine life favourites. Here’s what it’s like to spend two days and one night afloat the Great Barrier Reef.

9.15am - On Board for Moore Reef

Moore Reef Pontoon

It’s just hit you: you’re about to spend two days on one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. With fantasies of rainbows of reef and stunning sunsets on the mind, you board the Tropic Sunseeker.

After being led to a reserved area for ‘The Starlighters’, you’re introduced to your friendly hosts and told how the next two days of utter magic will play out. You start to feel a little bit like a tour ‘A-lister’. Let the Great Barrier Reef adventure commence.

11.30am - Wandering the Wonder

The slide at the Moore Reef Pontoon

Snorkelling at Moore Reef

Spotting Wally in the Underwater Observatory

The Moore Reef pontoon will make you feel like a kid in a toy store – although Barbies are swapped for fish, the challenging pogo stick is the idea of an introductory dive and that rare Pokemon card is the possible manta ray that you may be lucky enough to spot.

The double-story activity pontoon is equipped with the only waterslide on the Great Barrier Reef. Whether you ride it once or decide to break the current record of 212 slides, your inner seven-year-old is grinning from ear to ear.

With the reef waiting like the world’s most beautiful pool off the pontoon, you don a snorkel and flippers and dive in amongst hundreds of yellowtail fusiliers and are transported to a whole new world.

Feeling the rumble of a hungry tummy, you head back onto the pontoon for a sumptuous buffet lunch before taking full advantage of Sunlover’s ‘dry’ inclusions by marvelling at the coral drop-offs from the underwater observatory. Hey, is that Wally the Maori Wrasse, the local celebrity of Moore Reef?

3.45pm - Just you and the reef

A snorkel tour with Sunlover's Marine Biologist

A turtle at Moore Reef

Fruit Platter

Swag on the pontoon's top deck

As the day tour boat pulls away from the pontoon, you are met by nature’s serene silence. With only a handful of people left on the pontoon, you watch as Sunlover’s Moore Reef pontoon gradually transforms into a whole different world. Slowly but surely, birds begin to chirp and an abundance of turtles skirt across the top of the reef like underwater larks.

After you’ve taken in the newfound serenity, enjoy a snorkel tour to City Hall, a giant coral bommie east of the Moore Reef pontoon. This huge structure is teeming with wildlife and is even more colourful when swimming over the deep canyon straight down its centre. Not a confident swimmer? Hang onto the life ring being pulled by the snorkelling guide and look down through your mask and enjoy the view.

As you arrive back on the pontoon, you’re happy to see your swag waiting comfortably for you on the pontoon’s top deck with the promise of a hot shower and a scrumptious cheese and fruit platter to follow.

6.30pm - Nature’s Painting

Sunset over Moore Reef

Before the sky puts on its main attraction, you enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner on the pontoon’s lower deck. With an abundance of steak, chicken, prawns, breads and salads you find yourself replenished and re-energized after all your nautical adventures.

Like a perfectly timed symphony, the sky explodes into a painting of fiery reds and muted fuchsia. From the top deck of the pontoon, the sun seems to be bowing down to the majesty of the reef and soon disappears behind the mountains, leaving a looming silhouette as the final hurrah.

With full tummies and full hearts, you and your fellow Starlighters gather around and share tales of travel. The atmosphere is like the world’s most glamorous camping site; the air is lighter, but there isn’t a bug or fire in sight.

7.30pm - Life After Dark

Sleep under the stars

The reef is a little bit like New York, it never sleeps. You are treated to a sneak peek at night time marine life through a presentation in the underwater observatory. The hosts place halogen lights on the outside of the observatory, which seems to be like kryptonite to passing predators.

With the generator-powered lights keeping Moore Reef out of the dark, you enter a whole new world when the final light is turned off. As your eyes adjust, twinkles of stars began to appear in the dark night sky and before you know it, the constellations of the southern night sky are staring down at you. Your Sunlover By Starlight hosts seem to be astronomy buffs and marine experts rolled into one and point out various constellations including the iconic Southern Cross.

With a day of reef discovery planted firmly in your brain, you settle down in your deluxe swag and drift to sleep below a thousand sparkling stars.

6.15am - Rising with nature

Sunrise over Moore Reef

Finding Nemo

Glass bottom boat at Moore Reef

There’s no such thing as starting the day on the wrong foot when you wake up with both feet on a Great Barrier Reef pontoon. Begin your day by watching the sunrise over the still water of the world’s largest living organism before an early morning guided snorkel tour to another inaccessible area of Moore Reef – make sure you keep an eye out for Nemo.

Having built up an appetite, the full cooked breakfast is very welcome. Enjoy a scrumptious meal with bacon, eggs, hash browns and all the trimmings.

A private glass bottom boat tour takes you to yet another area of Moore Reef that is inaccessible on the day tour. One thing is for sure: there’s no such thing as too much reef time.

11.30am - Out of your comfort zone and into the deep

Diving Moore Reef

Scenic helicopter flight over Moore Reef

Sunlover's Moore Reef Pontoon

After enjoying pristine snorkelling off the pontoon, the moment has finally arrived: time to try an introductory dive. Sunlover’s professional scuba diving instructor teaches you how to use the equipment and before you know it you’re five metres into the big blue.

Having seen the reef up-close in all its glory, you’re on a total adrenaline high and decide to take a scenic helicopter flight with Nautilus Aviation to see the Great Barrier Reef just as Mother Nature designed it: an exquisite mosaic of blues and greens.

As you touch back down, delighted that you’ve explored the reef in almost every way imaginable, the time has finally come to leave the watery oasis of Moore Reef for dry land – but, you know that this isn’t goodbye, it’s just “until next time”.

Discover the beauty of the reef

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