If Sir David Attenborough declares somewhere to be the most magical place on Earth, you can’t help but sit up and take notice.
The naturalist has spent more than 60 years uncovering the world’s greatest natural wonders, but it’s Australia’s Great Barrier Reef that has him firmly under its spell – ever since he first visited back in the 1950s.
He returned for landmark BBC series Great Barrier Reef in 2016, a glorious exploration of otherworldly corals, majestic marine mammals and phosphorescent fish, a series that left me with a serious hankering to visit myself.
And this year my bucket-list fantasy finally became a reality when my husband and I jetted into Queensland, taking a one-hour 50-minute hop-over flight from Brisbane Airport to Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays.
Hamilton is one of multiple points in Queensland from which to explore the reef, which snakes along the north-east coast of Australia for 1,430 miles, and thankfully this southern part hasn’t been affected by the much-publicised coral bleaching, caused by rising sea temperatures.
Lush, wild and mountainous, the Whitsundays is made up of 74 islands, with Hamilton the largest of the eight inhabited ones and the only to benefit from its own airport.