Great Barrier Reef
Scuba diving and snorkeling the Great Barrier
Reef in Australia topped the list when early 2004 a survey was held
in the U.K. asking people about the 50 things to do before you die.
The Great Barrier Reef
is the largest living coral system in the world, stretching over 2000km.
along Queensland's coast from Bundaberg through Cairns to the top of Cape
York, it contains 2900 reefs, 600 islands and 300 coral cayes. This amazing
place is home to 1500 species of fish, 360 species of hard coral, 30%
of the world's soft corals, 7000 species of molluscs, 17 species of sea
snakes, 6 species of endangered sea turtles, 1330 species of crustacea,
30 species of cetacea (whales and dolphins), and 14,000 of Australia's
Photograph from Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
The Great Barrier Reef is the site of the biggest orgasm
in the universe. This is one of the terms the North Queensland scuba dive
industry uses to describe the annual coral spawning where three to five
nights after the full moon in November or December when the water temperature
hits 28 degrees, the entire 2300 kms of Great Barrier Reef lets go of
zillions and zillions of brightly colored sperm and eggs that float around
for several days and fertilize eachother. Fish go into a feeding frenzy
and the ocean sometimes resembles an oiltanker disaster site but all this
is done to propagate new corals to ensure the survival of the Great Barrier
Reef. If you find yourself in North Queensland around this time you can
witness this spectacular event as many of the reef tour operators run
extra night trips.
The Great Barrier Reef was the first Australian site to be placed on UNESCO's
World Heritage list in 1981, now there are 15 Australian sites. The coral
on the reef is estimated to be around 18 million years old, and is thought
to be about 500 metres thick in some places. Coral is made by tiny little
polyps, which are marine animals from the Cindaria family. When the polyps
die, their skeletons turn white (which is how you know if coral is alive
or dead) and then more polyps grow on top of them.
It is extremely important you do not touch the coral or stand
on it, the pressure of your finger is enough to squash and kill the tiny
There are a few conditions that are required for healthy growth of coral.
The water must be salty, clear and not lower in temperature than 17.5
degrees and lower in depth than 30 metres. An amazing sight is seeing
the spawning of the coral, which happens in late spring/early summer and
is often called an 'underwater snowstorm'.
Some of the best places to see the reef from are Cairns,
and especially Cape Tribulation
where the reef comes closest to the coast.
Below we have a great selection of tours and accommodation
on the Great Barrier Reef.
First-Time Visitor's Guide To Seeing The Great Barrier Reef
is a gorgeous, breathtaking country, particularly in certain regions.
From wild, untamed coastlines to stunning cities - there's a lot to see
and do on a trip to Australia. You can explore subtropical rainforests,
surf beaches, dry deserts, grasslands, lakes, rivers, mountain peaks and
more. There is an incredible diversity in plant life, fauna and stunning
sunburnt country is also home to one of the world's seven natural wonders,
the Great Barrier Reef. If you plan a trip to Australia, you should include
this location on your itinerary. But the massive reef spans a large section
of Australia's northeastern coastline. You might be at a loss as to where
to start exploring the reef. Lucky for you, this helpful article will
share everything a first-time visitor to the Great Barrier Reef should
know. Read on to discover more.
on Hamilton Island
of an island chain called the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island is one of the
largest of 74 islands. This is the place to be if you want to chill out
with a cocktail and go for a leisurely swim. Plenty of family-friendly
accommodation options are available, so you can enjoy some relaxing quality
time with the family.
Island and its surrounding azure waters is also the perfect destination
for those looking to do a little summertime sailing or snorkelling. You
can hire a kayak for a paddle close to shore, charter a glass bottom boat,
or take a snorkelling trip out to the reef. You'll see wonders lurking
just below the surface of the clear, glassy water. There are a
range of catamarans available in and around the Hamilton Island and
the wider Great Barrier Reef that will definitely help you make the most
of your time out on the Coral Sea.
you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer array of accommodation options
available to you during your stay in the Whitsundays, then we highly recommend
that you check out the Reef View Hotel. This beachside stay also happens
to be the perfect place to grab a beer or a chilled glass of wine, a gourmet
meal, or to simply relax after a long day of sailing, snorkelling, swimming,
and general exploring of all that Hamilton Island has to offer.
the Museum of Underwater Art
those seeking adventure that’s a little bit different or out of
the ordinary, then you simply cannot miss the opportunity to visit the
Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA). This truly unique location can be found
just off the coast of Townsville in northern Queensland. It is the only
underwater art museum in the Southern Hemisphere, and was developed originally
to share the stories of the Great Barrier Reef, both from contemporary
history as well as through the lens of Indigenous Australian storytelling.
In short, MOUA hopes to inspire visitors to become passionate about reef
conservation and want to protect this natural wonder.
museum has several installations that are well worth checking out, including
Ocean Siren, a female figure's statue that was first launched in 2019.
The second artwork launched in 2020 is called Coral Greenhouse and is
installed on the ocean floor, 18 metres below sea level. The best way
to see this installation is to tour the site, and dive deep down to the
ocean floor. MOUA staff will be able to guide you in this watery gallery
Island is a picturesque location, a twenty-minute ferry ride from
Townsville. It has a rocky landscape home to all sorts of local wildlife.
The island is filled with lush woodlands and huge granite boulders. This
distinguishes it from the typical tropical rainforest that covers the
other Great Barrier Reef islands.
find superb off-shore snorkelling at the Geoffrey Bay snorkel trail. The
kids will love visiting the Bungalow Bay Koala village or taking a leisurely
horse ride along the beach.
Booking a Diving Tour
of local companies along the coast of the Great Barrier Reef offer bespoke
tour experiences that will take you out to particular locations on
the reef and provide snorkelling or scuba diving equipment. Snorkelling
is an excellent idea for inexperienced divers, as you can paddle out from
the boat as far as you are comfortable.
you're keen on scuba diving, you'll need some lessons first, as there
are some risks to scuba diving that you need to be aware of and processes
to follow to ensure a safe dive. However, scuba diving is the best way
to explore this incredible natural wonder, allowing you to dive to a depth
where you can truly experience the reef's glory.
that the Great Barrier Reef is home to some stunning, gorgeous and mighty
sea life, including whales (humpbacks and minke), manta rays, turtles,
potato cod, giant clams, sharks, clownfish and Maori wrasse. You'll find
most of these critters on the reef all year round, and you'll likely see
one when snorkelling or diving on the reef.
addition to these magnificent sea creatures, you'll see many colourful
corals, thousands of smaller fish, and sea anemones. In short, a trip
to the Great Barrier Reef would be incomplete without a dive or a sailing
adventure, at the very least.
helpful article has shared the first-time visitor's guide to seeing the
Great Barrier Reef. Follow this guide for an enjoyable holiday to this
lush, breathtaking tropical wonderland nestled in Australia's sunny northeastern
coast. There is lots more to explore in this part of the world, so try
to explore some more locations and sights while you're visiting.
© Down Under Dive
The Supercat : If you are looking for a
day trip to the Great Barrier Reef on a high speed catamaran that is EXCEPTIONAL
VALUE, look no further. Offering one of the fastest day trips, visiting
two outer reef locations for an unforgettable day of fun, discovery and
adventure. The MV Supercat provides a superior and comfortable ride in
almost all weather conditions.
© Big Cat Green Island Cruises
The Big Cat : Green Island is a beautiful
coral cay which enjoys world acclaim as a tropical paradise on Australia's
Great Barrier Reef. The island is a protected Marine National Park, readily
identified by its emerald rainforest surrounded by white sandy beaches
and magnificent coral reefs. The marine life includes endless varieties
of colorful fish, turtles, giant clams, shells, starfish, sea anemones
and much more. More
Wavedancer : Quicksilver's 30 meter luxury
sailing catamaran, 'Wavedancer', offers the excitement of big ship sailing
combined with the ultimate in comfort. Let the crew pamper you in the
luxurious air-conditioned lounge with its fully licensed bar, or soak
up the sun and sea air under the sails on our expansive deck. 'Wavedancer'
is a memorable experience from the moment you step aboard. They will take
you to Low Isles ehich is situated 15 kilometers north-east of Port Douglas.
Low Isles is a 4 acre coral cay surrounded by 55 acres of reef. The corals
are very close to the island, which makes snorkeling an enjoyable experience.
The two small islands are separate with one common reef. The larger of
the two, Woody Island, is uninhabited except for a large bird population.
The smaller of the Low Isles is a coral cay with a lighthouse that has
been operating since 1878. More
© Ocean Spirit Cruises
Ocean Spirit Upolu Cay Reef Cruise : Set
sail aboard a luxury catamaran with Ocean Spirit Cruises for Upolu Cay,
an uninhabited coral cay lying about 18 nautical miles from Cairns, an
ideal reef destination for a range of different age groups. The surrounding
coral gardens play host to a myriad of marine life. Dugongs are often
seen raising their calves throughout the year in the protected waters
around the cay. You also have the opportunity to visit either Arlington
Reef or Oyster Reef as you sail out to beautiful Upolu Cay, both of which
are teeming with marine life and offer some of the best coral viewing
on the Great Barrier Reef. For those interested in exploring the coral
reef by diving on their day out to the Great Barrier Reef, Ocean Spirit
also offers introductory dives for the novice and certified dives for
experienced divers. More
© Deep Sea Divers Den
SeaQuest ADV - Certified Diver Day Trip
: SeaQuest ADV caters superbly for certified divers. With 14 permanent
moorings, Deep Sea Divers Den offer superb diving sites on the Outer Barrier
Reef which will excite divers of all experience levels. Dive guides are
available for those wanting close underwater supervision and certified
divers can explore two dive locations in one day. The dive locations on
the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef offer outstanding underwater
visibility, superb coral formations and abundant, colorful marine life
including 'Wally', a friendly 1.5 meter (5 feet) Maori Wrasse at Norman
While cruising on your boat to the Great Barrier Reef, it’s
always best to take the utmost precautions for safety. We recommend you
learn about all of the
boating and yacht safety regulations before heading out for diving
or snorkeling at the reef.
Overnight/liveaboard dive trips from Cairns
Cod hole - Two days/two nights. Day One
- is making our way North along the Agincourt and Ribbon Reef systems.
Enjoy 3 day dives and a night dive. The night dive you choose may be included
as part of the optional advanced diving course.
Day Two - Thursdays include diving at the famous Cod Hole and the Northern
Ribbons, as well as another night dive. Awake to breakfast on Friday morning
moored in the calm waters of Snapper Island. It is then a short journey
back to the Marina at Port Douglas. Enjoy a minimum of 8 dives, including
2 night dives during your Cod Hole Diving Adventure. Snorkelers are welcome
to join and have the opportunity to enjoy a FREE Introductory dive. More
Helicopter scenic flights from Cairns
Scenic flights over Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef
You can combine a helicopter flight and a reef cruise by
flying out to the Great Barrier Reef, landing at Hastings reef, and then
after some snorkeling head back to Cairns on the boat.
here for more information and accommodation in Cairns....
Cape Tribulation is where the reef comes closest to the
coast, and it will only take you an hour or less to get out there on one
of the boats that depart from here. James Cook discovered here in 1770
how close the reef came to the coast when he hit Endeavour Reef with his
ship and nearly sank, in his not too positive mood he then assigned the
name Cape Tribulation to the last cape he had passed before darkness fell.
( Tribulation = trouble). More
info on Great Barrier Reef trips from Cape Tribulation....
Reeftrips from Port
dive and snorkel
Silversonic is a luxury 29 meter catamaran with full bar
facilities, fresh water showers, change rooms and spacious
deck areas. Morning and afternoon tea are served as well
as a hot and cold tropical buffet lunch and the spacious
deck areas are ideal for sharing a cold drink and tales
of your days adventure. Certified divers can enjoy up to
three dives at two different sites during the day. There
is a multitude of marine life at Agincourt Reef, from tiny
iridescent fish seeking shelter in their coral homes to
massive giant clams weighing up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds).
Perhaps you will see a small harmless reef shark or a boulder
coral hundreds of years old. The Silversonic crew with 25
years of combined experience will show you the best there
is to see.
Upolu Cay is an
uninhabited coral cay lying about 18 nautical miles off
the coast. Dugongs are often seen raising their calves throughout
the year in the protected waters around the cay.
Set sail aboard a luxury catamaran with Ocean Spirit Cruises
for Upolu Cay - a small uninhabited sand island on the outer
Great Barrier Reef just short of Michaelmas Cay. View the
brilliant coral and sea-life in the glass bottom boat or
try a snorkel or a dive. Enjoy a hot and cold buffet lunch
and relax with the friendly crew. Enjoy champagne and entertainment
on the homeward sail back to Cairns. You also have the opportunity
to visit Oyster Reef as you sail out to beautiful Upolu
Cay. Oyster Reef is teeming with marine life and offers
some of the best coral viewing on the Great Barrier Reef.
For those interested in exploring the coral reef by diving
on their day out to the Great Barrier Reef, Ocean Spirit
also offers introductory dives for the novice and certified
dives for experienced divers.
friendly crew as they take you to Agincourt Reef located
at the very edge of Australia's Continental Shelf, to an
underwater world that is a dazzling kaleidoscope of color
and brilliance, where you can experience first hand the
magic that is the Great Barrier Reef.
Situated on the very edge of the Great Barrier Reef, Agincourt
Reef provides a sheltered anchorage for the Quicksilver
vessel and the perfect spot for passengers to experience
the new Ocean Walker helmet diving, snorkeling, scuba diving,
or stay dry and explore the stunning reef from the comfort
of a Quicksilver semi-sub, just one meter underwater and
watch the fish feeding from Quicksilver's unique underwater
viewing platform. Cruising at high speed to Agincourt Reef,
39 nautical miles (72 kilometers) from Port Douglas, these
superb vessels give you the smoothest possible ride in all
Quicksilver's 30 meter luxury
sailing catamaran, 'Wavedancer', offers the excitement of
big ship sailing combined with the ultimate in comfort.
Let the crew pamper you in the luxurious air-conditioned
lounge with its fully licensed bar, or soak up the sun and
sea air under the sails on our expansive deck. 'Wavedancer'
is a memorable experience from the moment you step aboard.
They will take you to Low Isles which is situated 15 kilometers
north-east of Port Douglas. Low Isles is a 4 acre coral
cay surrounded by 55 acres of reef. The corals are very
close to the island, which makes snorkeling an enjoyable
experience. The two small islands are separate with one
common reef. The larger of the two, Woody Island, is uninhabited
except for a large bird population. The smaller of the Low
Isles is a coral cay with a lighthouse that has been operating
here for more information and accommodation in Port Douglas....
from Airlie Beach and Whitsunday Islands
day cruise to Whitehaven Beach
From Airlie Beach, this cruise
takes you to picturesque Whitehaven Beach - one of the Whitsundays
premier natural attractions. Here you have the afternoon
to enjoy the natural beauty of this seven kilometre stretch
of pure white silica sand. Swim in the crystal clear waters,
take a leisurely walk along the pristine beach, join in
a game of beach volleyball or just relax and soak up the
A delicious BBQ buffet lunch is served on board before you
are transferred across to the beach to enjoy the activities.
Departing from Airlie Beach,
this Fantasea Two Island Cruise showcases two very different
faces of the Whitsunday Islands. Apart from a visit to the
spectacular Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, you'll
also enjoy the exciting resort attractions of Hamilton Island.
The cruise departs daily from Shute Harbour and allows you
to spend approximately two and a half hours on Hamilton
Island before departing for the afternoon at beautiful Whitehaven
Beach. Your cruise includes complimentary tea and coffee,
a buffet lunch on route to Whitehaven Beach and beach activities.
Hamilton Island is the largest, most cosmopolitan island
resort in the South Pacific, offering an enormous range
of activities. These include target shooting, the wire-flyer,
go-karts, buggy hire, scenic island tours and a diverse
range of bars, bistros, restaurants, shopping boutiques
and numerous other activities.
Visit one of the world's most pristine beaches and a Whitsunday
icon. Enjoy a light buffet lunch on board before reaching
Whitehaven Beach and then you have the whole afternoon to
enjoy the natural beauty of this 6 kilometre (3.7 mile)
stretch of pure white silica sand. Swim in the crystal clear
water, take a leisurely walk along the pristine beach, join
in the beach activities or simply soak up the sun.
info on two islands cruise....
flight over the reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one
of the world's seven wonders, so why not indulge yourself
in the best it has to offer?
Your scenic flight will take you over the Whitsundays...
you will have a bird's eye view of the islands, stunning
Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef - a natural coral formation
that inspires the romance in all of us!
After your flight, you will land at Reefworld to spend two
hours snorkeling or scuba diving (additional cost), bathing
in the sun or you can simply view the stunning coral from
an underwater viewing chamber or a semi-submersible.
You will return to Hamilton Island via helicopter for another
fantastic view of this spectacular part of the world. A
trip you will always remember…
day cruise from Hamilton Island
This cruise takes you to picturesque
Whitehaven Beach - one of the Whitsundays premier natural
attractions. Here you have the afternoon to enjoy the natural
beauty of this seven kilometre stretch of pure white silica
sand. Swim in the crystal clear waters, take a leisurely
walk along the pristine beach, join in a game of beach volleyball
or just relax and soak up the sunshine.
A delicious BBQ buffet lunch is served on board before you
are transferred across to the beach to enjoy the activities.
day cruise from Hamilton Island
Visit Reefworld, the largest
and most sophisticated Australian owned reef platform on
the Great Barrier Reef!
You will travel to Hardy Reef, the most beautiful and prolific
of nature's coral gardens, in the air conditioned comfort
of a high-speed catamaran. Here you can enjoy a day of adventure
exploring the reef along the snorkelling trails or scuba
diving with Fantasea's experienced dive instructors. For
the less adventurous, the large open sundeck with shaded
areas is the perfect place to enjoy the unique experience
of sun baking on the reef. More
Reefsleep is a truly unforgettable
reef experience, where you can stay overnight at Reefworld,
the largest Australian owned offshore facility on the Great
Barrier Reef. In fact past guests often call it the ultimate
sleep-over on the Great Barrier Reef.
The Reefsleep package offers a chance to explore the reef
without the crowds. You have the opportunity to enjoy all
of Reefworld's facilities over two days and experience the
peace and tranquility of Reefworld at night. Watching the
sun set from the top deck is truly breathtaking and Reefworld
is the perfect place to star gaze - you will not believe
how many stars there are or how bright they are until you
have been out on the reef at night.
With exclusive time to explore the reef once the day-trippers
have departed, come face to face with schools of colourful
reef fish and be amazed at the coral formations as you dive
or snorkel along the reef edge. From the comfort of the
underwater viewing chamber witness the spectacular transformation
as the marine life comes alive after sunset.
You will be pampered by your own personal Deck Steward for
the night as canapes and drinks are served at dusk and dinner
alfresco style under the stars. Breakfast is enjoyed on
the reef the following morning.More
here for more information and accommodation in Airlie Beach / Whitsundays