Great Barrier Reef Queensland
One of the great natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef, is over1,000 kilometres in length and consists of more than a thousand coralatolls of varying sizes. It runs parallel with the north eastcoast of Australia and is accessible from a number of central andnorth Queensland ports.
The vast majority of these islandsare uninhabited and quite unspoilt. The remainder are designatedeither national park or specific resort islands, where as much of thenatural habitat has been preserved as possible. The waters arecrystal clear, the underwater reefs are teeming with hundreds ofdifferent coloured fish species, giant clams, sea anemones, giantturtles and the like. It is truly a scuba diver'sparadise. And the good thing is that you do not need to be adiver or even swim to enjoy it to the full.
Everyone should visit the GreatBarrier Reef at least once in their lifetime for the sheer wonder ofit. There are many ways to enjoy the reef. Australians can takea package tour with an airline that will include several daysaccommodation on one of the many island resorts, from where they canget around by water taxi or take all day snorkelling trips withcompanies such as Quicksilver Connection, who use big, comfortablecatamarans. They can take a day cruise, charter a fishing boat or ayacht, with or without skipper and crew and glide from island bay toisland bay as they please. Finding perfect uninhabited beaches,great swimming and snorkelling opportunities is virtually guaranteed.
Take a day trip out to the reef with Quicksilver Connection from PortDouglas or with their opposite number in AirlieBeach on the Whitsunday Passage and you will have theopportunity to enjoy lectures and videos on the underwater life, scubadiving lessons and trips in the glass bottomed semi submersibles, inorder to view and photograph all the fish and corals without gettingwet - and at midday participate in a seafood buffet feast, with colddrinks at the bar.
Whether you cruise these waters withyour own or a rented craft, or have someone pilot you around by boator seaplane, you will have an experience to remember, although thetime to avoid travelling the reef (if possible) is November to April,as the humidity is then high and cyclones are not unknown. May toOctober are perfect months for exploring this sun soaked, tropicalregion. For those who prefer a holiday package, here are someclues on the more popular resort islands:
This resort is situated in the heart of the Whitsunday's, a group of74 tropical islands lying in the Coral Sea between the mainland andthe outer reef. It is a very popular, long established, largeresort with several different types of accommodation available, somebeing more suitable for families. It is in the medium pricerange and has its own airport. It can also be reached by regularferry boat and offers big game fishing services, as well as Coral Catcruising. The super luxury motor cruiser 'Achilles II' alsocruises out from here. Facilities include all the beach andwater sports, superb swimming pools with friendly dolphins, bars,cafes, a tavern, an ice cream parlour, restaurants galore, a bakery, abank, a medical centre, post office, evening entertainment galore, aKids Club, walking trails, shops, whale watching in season and muchmore.
The elite, small reef resort, for folk who can afford the best,although there are seven different kinds of suites, all at differentprices. This island is on the northern edgeof the Whitsunday's and is a top, world class resort. Hayman, with itsPacific shores and magnificent pristine beaches, has crystal lagoons,rainforest mountain walks, a plethora of bird life and an abundance ofbrilliant tropical blooms everywhere you look under and around thepalm trees. Every guest has a private balcony, spectacular viewsand spa baths in their suites. There are five restaurants, barsand poolside service, an entertainments centre and of course there'sscuba diving, snorkelling, boat trips and cruises, sailing,parasailing, water skiing and board sailing. Add reef walks,boat hire, coral viewing by submarine, tennis, badminton, billiardsand snooker and a children's activity centre and you have all you'llneed for the holiday of a lifetime. Access is from Mackay orProserpine by boat or helicopter.
This website has excellent Hayman Island holiday accommodation packages.
Just off Mackay, this island offersholiday packages that include air or boat transfers to/from themainland, all meals, fine accommodation and the use of allfacilities. Rock and swimming pools, plentiful vegetation,pristine beaches and a laid back atmosphere prevails. Brampton islandresort accommodates up to 260 guests spread well out among the palms andbougainvillea. There are several different types ofaccommodation from which to choose. There's a bar, anentertainment area, a few shops and a small Laundromat. Meals in thedelightful dining room are wholesome and plentiful. There'stennis, all the water sports of course, billiards, table tennis, coralviewing, cruising and other popular activities available.
Orpheus Island is a small, luxury one, where adults are welcomed but children are discouraged. It's facilities are ideal for honeymooners who want privacy.
Bedarra Island Resort is 16 luxury, air-conditioned villas on stilts, with privatebalconies and grand sea views, set in lush tropical rainforest caterfor very discerning guests. Resort facilities include arestaurant with an outdoor terrace, a 24 hour bar, a grand piano, anidyllic, palm fringed fresh water pool, a spa, tennis court, lounge,sailboard hire, catamaran sailing and much more.
This resort is way north on the reef and totally tropical. Just32 private suites and the Lizard Island Lodge are to be found, set in20 acres on a 2,500 acre otherwise uninhabited island. There are24 private coves, each with breathtaking sandy beaches, so pick yourown. Here the staff ratio is two to every three guests. There'sa club lounge and bar, a dining room looking across to PrinceCharles Island and superb lunchtime hampers are available onrequest. (England's Prince Charles has signed the guest book). Guestscan enjoy a sail on the catamaran, try archery, snorkelling, playtennis or bushwalk. They can also climb Captain Cook's lookout,fish for blue marlin, or go wind surfing. The island can bereached by boat out of Cairns, PortDouglas or Cooktown.
Visit this website for Lizard Island Accommodation Bookings and holiday package specials.
Great for families, teens and 20s, this is now a Club Med resort,reached from Mackay or ShuteHarbour by boat or helijet. You can arrive on a day trip,or stay for as many days as you please. There are two swimmingand paddling pools, superb beaches, a large dining room and packagesare available that include all meals, entertainment and every type ofactivity for all age groups.
Four types of double and family suites are available and many packagedeals include air transport from all over Australia. There's aswimming pool, restaurant, bar and lounge, entertainment complex, TVroom, shops, hairdresser, babysitting service and guest laundry.Activities include sailing, swimming, snorkelling, fishing,windsurfing, cruises, tennis, horse riding, golf, archery, cricket,badminton, volleyball, clay pigeon shooting and much more, all set inlush tropical gardens.
This website has great Holiday Packages and Dunk Island Resort Accommodation.
Formerly Club Crocodile, Long Island Resort is an island resort in the lower price range, but withall the facilities you will find in the more upmarket resorts.It's twin is Club Crocodile at Airlie Beach.There is entertainment and activities around the clock, bars and anairy dining room, beaches galore, plus 13 kilometres of well gradedbushwalks. The beachside cabins and bures are just great for allage groups. Sail out from Shute Harbour.Cars can be left in a special safe area on the mainland, or you canfly in to Proserpine Airport and thentake the boat.
A maximum of 50 guests can be accommodated among the rainforestvegetation in fine big tree houses on this Whitsunday island, whichjust happens to be the world's largest and quite spectacular islandnational park. This award winning resort's tariff includes allsumptuous meals and activities, but be warned, there are no TV's ortelephones on the island. It can be reached by boat from Cairnsor Port Douglas.
Just perfect for families with small children. Here theyspecialise in taking over the kids for you and giving the parents anall day break, including meal times. Rooms are large and airy,with great sea views. Set in the Whitsunday's and with all theusual activities available. This island can be reached by watertaxi or ferry out of Shute Harbour and isin the medium resort price range.
Visit Daydream Resort & Spa
Hook Island Wilderness Lodge can be found among the forest coveredslopes and has a spectacular location. It is noted for itsexcellent diving opportunities and underwater observatory. Theaccommodation is in the backpacker and budget price range.Facilities are also provided for campers. It can be reached byferryboat or water taxi.
CAN'T AFFORD A BREAK AT A REEF RESORT?
There are more resort islands than the above, of course, but these arethe main ones. However, for those who cannot afford a resortholiday but would still very much like to experience the reef, WHITSUNDAYALLOVER, operating out ofAirlie Beach, offer 12 coral reef and island one day cruises at bargain prices thattake in several of the islands and all of the spectacle of this, oneof the most delightful and scenic places on earth.
Great Barrier Reef Accommodation
Give Holiday Magic a call on 1800 777 760 to book all your Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Accommodation, Tours, Car Rental and Activities. Tell them Ben from Holiday Oz sent you and I'm sure you will get the best deal you can on your Queensland Holiday.