One of the main highlights for any trip to Australia should be visiting theGreat Barrier Reef. The good thing is that there are a lot of ways of doing this and different price points for different types of travelers. These visits range from a day trip out from the mainland, stay on a live-aboard dive boat or an island stay on the actual barrier reef.
Each of these means of getting has their own virtue. For example a day trip to the outer reef is great for those on a tight schedule who want to get some time in the water for some snorkeling or diving. We even have tours for non swimmers in semi-submersible subs and boats with glass-bottoms for optimal viewing.
The next option, the live-aboard, are for those hard core divers who came for one reason and one reason along… diving. This is a great option if you fall in this category because you can spend a few nights on a boat getting to some very remote locations that do not see the levels of visitors that you see from the day trippers. These can be pricey depending on the options such as room type and length of stay.
One of my favorite options is an island stay. Here you have the luxury of getting away from the large numbers of tourists, but are able to maximize your “in-water” time by just grabbing your mask and fins and heading out from your beach into a marine wonderland.
The islands range from the very top of the Great Barrier Reefsystem (over 1,400 miles long) to the bottom as well as in price range, remoteness and other criteria that may suit you better than others. In my estimation two of the best islands for the marine activities are Lizard Island and Heron Island.
These two are located in different areas and are accessed by different means. Lizard Island is accessed by charter flight fromCairns, while Heron Island is accessible by boat or helicopter transfer from Gladstone. They both offer very different types of lodging experiences as well.
Lizard island is relaxed and offers casual luxury to those who want their focus to be on either snorkeling, diving and/or game fishing. Lizard Island offers a have in the middle of theGreat Barrier Reefwith phenomenal reef and marine activities. From the long beaches to the spa treatments, there is something for everyone. This is not a cheap option with room being several hundred dollars per person per night.
The second option I would recommend for the right type of traveler is Heron Island. Here you lose the frills of luxury that are found on Lizard Island, but maintains a superb underwater and marine experience. This hotel is closer to a 3.5 star experience that caters more towards families. This is great for those who are enthusiastic about nature and want an affordable island-reef experience that focuses on ecology and wildlife. There are almost three times the amount of rooms available here as there are on Lizard.
These are only two of many different options available to suit every discerning traveler. Please speak with one of our consultants to find out which one is the best for your adventure!