The Great Barrier Reef - The Blue Outlook
Known as Australia's Blue Outback, the Great Barrier Reef is a mesmerizing maze of 3,000 individual reefs shadowing the eastern coast of Queensland. Visible from outer space, the Reef is the largest living thing on our planet, stretching 1,250 miles to cover an area larger than Great Britain.
Travel agents know that with over 900 islands above the sea and 1,500 species of fish below, the Great Barrier Reef is the premier destination spot for diving and snorkeling. The tropical climate and clear waters enhance the experience, creating the perfect watery atmosphere for you to gaze at and grasp every subtle color on the carapace of a loggerhead turtle swimming just within your reach.
Beginners and experienced divers alike will find the perfect dive scenario at the Great Barrier Reef, depending on your fondness for submersion. Mainland vacationers enjoying seaside towns like Cairns and Cooktown can take dive boats out to the reef—which is anywhere from 12 to 185 miles offshore—for an afternoon of coral exploration.
Serious divers, the kind who wear their scuba mask to dinner because they like the way it looks, prefer live-aboard dive boats that go out for several days, visiting remote—and remarkable—spots. These divers can swim with minke whales at Ribbon Reef, hand-feed hordes of giant potato cods at Cod Hole, or encounter manta rays, turtles and barracudas at the Heron Bommie.
Diving down into the depths is a great way to experience the Reef, but hardly the only way. At most places the clear water is only 10 to 20 feet deep, allowing snorkelers to soak up the entire spectrum of coral and color. Snorkeling in such a vivid environment is hallucinogenic; where shapes interact in a dazzling display of motion, highlighted with fluttering fireworks of oranges, greens, reds and fuchsias.
To stay close to the aquatic action, check into a Dive Island Resort. Even though there are nearly 1,000 islands along the Queensland coast ranging from tiny coral cays to tropical islands, only a few contain resorts, with one resort per island in most cases. While each island resort is unique, they all enjoy the blessing of the Queensland sun and the warm hospitality of the locals.
Heron Island is a nature-lovers retreat, where you can step right off the sand and into coral gardens. Lizard Island visitors enjoy the magic formula of 80 divided by 24, for 80 is the maximum number of guests who can stay at the resort and 24 is the number of idyllic beaches at their disposal. Odds are you'll have a beach to yourself.
Guests on Green Island, a true coral cay that can be circumnavigated on foot in less than an hour, stay at the five-star Green Island Eco Resort; while visitors on Bedarra Island, Australia's most intimate and exclusive retreat with only 15 handcrafted timber villas, enjoy picnic lunches and chilled wine on secluded beaches.
Many enjoy the Whitsundays—a chain of 74 islands of which only 12 are inhabited. Most are drowned mainland mountains whose peaks are all that remain above the surface following millions of years of rising waters. The Whitsunday Passage, one of the smoothest bodies of water in the world, winds between the islands, making exploration a simple pleasure.
Making your way through this great coral maze has not always been easy. After badly damaging his boat twice, famed explorer Captain James Cook had to climb to the highest point on Lizard Island, to a perch now known as Cook's Look, and carefully chart a safe passage to sail.
For you to navigate the Great Barrier Reef and find your ideal vacation, just contact a trusted travel agent. A travel agent will help you explore your options and possibly save you money by combining your reef trips and accommodations into one great package. Travel agents also know the great secrets of the Reef, like which helicopter tour to take and which island-hopping expedition lands on the best beaches.
There is a lot to see around the Great Barrier Reef, both above and below the sea. Thankfully the waters here are some of the clearest in the world, with an average visibility of 65 feet. Apart from curious schools of colorful fish, there is little that will come between you and the view.
Make your next vacation crystal clear. Click here to find a travel agent and start planning your vacation to a unique wonder of the world—the Great Barrier Reef.
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FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Port Douglas Village Carnivale — May
Sunshine Coast Wineries Festival — September
Festival Cairns — September
Whitsunday Reef Festival — November
I often visited The Great Barrier Reef and I must say it's amazing. I also stayed at 8 Great Australian Hotel Restaurants and I must admit I was impressed by the conditions and the staff
By: jimmy sun At: 06/05/2012 00:00:00: AM
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By: Andrew Johnson At: 07/13/2012 00:00:00: AM