From Brisbane, a Greyhound Bus takes 22 hours to reach Airlie Beach. Most commonly, day trips on catamarans or sailboats take visitors to the best reef spots. The Great Barrier reef runs along the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia. T he Great Barrier Reef is one of nature’s most incredible wonders. A 25-minute shuttle ride from Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Coast Airport is the closest -- and usually cheapest -- option for accessing the Great Barrier Reef. Staff are required to keep guard on boats monitoring the safety of ALL passengers. Flying over the reef truly shows the scale of the Great Barrier Reef -- something that can’t be appreciated from the shore, or even under the waves. Again be honest about your medical situation and you will be advised whether it is safe for you to take part. Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s National Landscapes Program? If you see animals in the water, immediately slow down your boat’s … Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef has always been one of the great bucket list icons but a raft of environmental and human pressures has left it vulnerable. Most include transportation, equipment use, access to several sites, and a hearty lunch. Our goal, to share the world’s unique, hidden and once in a lifetime locations with you to create unforgettable memories. It goes without saying that a bathing suit is a must-pack item when visiting the Great Barrier Reef. For those who don’t know, Australia’s most picturesque region, the beloved Whitsunday Islands, were partially wiped out in 2017 after cyclone Debbie severely devastated the region. This is legal document so that instructors can determine your suitability for an activity such as diving and is done with your health and safety in mind. You can protect yourself by wearing ‘stinger suits’ – full lycra swim suits that cover you from head to toe over your swim wear when you venture into the waters. If stung by these jellyfish and medical attention is not sought, the stings can potentially be fatal. We urge you to utilize the wealth of local knowledge of the skipper and dive masters on your boat. There have been fatalities from both locals and tourists who have ignored the warnings in the past. You can play your part by taking simple steps such as disposing of trash appropriately and not touching or removing the coral from its natural environment. Just because you can’t see crocodiles, doesn’t mean they aren’t lurking beneath the surface. You can also hurt your feet should you stand on the hard coral. Crocodiles, rainforests, aboriginal culture, and pioneering cuisine blend together with a wild nightlife and a youthful vibe. The Australian and Queensland governments are jointly investing approximately $200 million annually in the reef’s health. The Great Eight! These can include zoning, plans of management and site specific requirements . Some people may find it helpful to sit up straight, outside in fresh air and look out to the horizon. Even if you’re not a certified PADI diver, you’ll still be able to explore the Great Barrier Reef through snorkeling. Several main airports are located within a short driving distance of the Great Barrier Reef. As long as you respect the space of the shark, there’s no reason to worry about being in the water with these graceful beings. It sails daily from Cairns to Michaelmas Cay, a stunning reef sand island. Taking a helicopter or seaplane is a great way to see the expansiveness of the Great Barrier Reef. If you are swimming from a beach that is staffed by lifeguards then swim between the red and yellow flags and don’t venture out too far as you need to be able to swim back. The Great Barrier Reef’s enchanting Heart Island has just opened for tourists. Box jellies love warm, tropical waters. Including how to get there, tours, the best dive spots and more to help plan your trip. Remember that when you head out on a day cruise you will be swimming in the ocean and unable to touch the bottom for support. If you are concerned that a cruise operator is causing damage to the reef then you can report them to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. But, what I highly recommend is packing a bright, colorful one versus a black one. Celebrate your day with a glass of wine or beer AFTER your snorkel or dive. According to the WWF, tourism of the area contributes $5.4 billion a year to the Australian economy, and employs approximately 69,000 people. Unlike summer, which is a wet season for the Great Barrier Reef, less rain falls during these months, providing better underwater visibility. They are luckiest people in the world to live and work on the Great Barrier Reef and they know the conditions, best reef sites and dive sites and ways that you can remain safe. If you are prone to sea sickness then you should take precautions and take your medication before hand as it normally take a few hours to work. Listen to their advice and ask questions if you are uncertain about any hazard or precaution. You must always be on the lookout when boating in the Great Barrier Reef. Your boat should not collide with any plant, animal or habitat. For most people, the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is between June and October to avoid the wet season and the dangerous box jellyfish. Whether you choose a strictly snorkeling tour, a scuba diving tour, or a combination of the two, these are full day (8 to 10 hour) tours. Thick sting-proof wetsuits also help with buoyancy. You will be asked a series of questions about whether you have any existing health conditions including but not limited to: respiratory issues, heart conditions and ear health. Seeing the Great Barrier Reef from the air was the number one thing we wanted to do on our Whistunday itinerary. Less elusive than whales and rays, clownfish can be found year round almost anywhere on the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is a two-hour non-stop flight from Sydney, and a three-hour non-stop flight from Melbourne. If you are new to diving then you may not be aware that you are unable to fly for a minimum of 12 hours after a dive due to decompression sickness. You will be offered these on board all cruises. This was a great place to base ourselves for a visit to the Great Barrier Reef. Between one and two flights a day land in Proserpine from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Cairns. Popular activities centered around experiencing this beautiful aquatic environment include diving with wildlife, cruising sailboats, and enjoying white-sand beaches (whether on the ground or from up above!). The Australian Alps entice skiers looking for a snowy experience. The beginning of humpback whale season is also the best time to see manta rays off Bundaberg’s coast at Lady Elliot Island. Just as lovable as clownfish, sea turtles are commonly sighted in the Great Barrier Reef as well. Plus, Australia's bustling cities engage travelers and their love for music, art, and history. From the closest large city, Brisbane, it takes almost five hours to reach the start of the Great Barrier Reef by car. Policies Although it has less visibility than the Outer Reef, accessing it involves less travel time, meaning more underwater exploration. You can dive and snorkel the reef among the turtles and colourful fish, lie on the deck and soak up the sun or enjoy a glass-bottomed boat tour. This period is referred to as ‘high season’. Only visible from the air, you can view the popular Heart Reef. We’ve all seen the breathtaking images of the Great Barrier Reef and often pictured ourselves enjoying a relaxing tropical holiday, exploring this amazing piece of paradise. Cairns and Airlie Beach are the most developed places for tourism. Crocodile warning signs will look similar to the image below. Unlike summer, which is a wet season for the Great Barrier Reef, less rain falls during these … Explore the Great Barrier Reef with Google, Dolphins and Whales of the Great Barrier Reef. When Is The Best Time To Visit The Great Barrier Reef? The eastern Australian coast is known as the humpback highway. Commercial operators also have very strict guidelines and environmental rules that they must abide by as dictated to them by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. These include Rockhampton, Mackay, Airlie Beach, Townsville, Cairns, and Port Douglas. With a year-round tropical climate like that of Hawaii and Mauritius, Hamilton Island is a great place to explore the Inner Great Barrier Reef. While it is peak season, the weather and conditions can’t be beaten. Visit between June and October The Great Barrier Reef can be enjoyed year-round but the very best time to visit is during the dry season between June and October. See the reef and the surrounding islands by booking a ferry transfer or tour which depart from the Cairns and Port Douglas marinas. Be careful when you are walking and snorkelling not to tread to tread on the coral. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 2019 will come into effect on 1 April 2019 — but will not result in any substantive change to the rules that apply in the Marine Park. Far from the mainland, the crystalline waters of the Outer Reef reveal the stunning colors of coral and other forms of ocean life. We flew to Hamilton Island and stayed overnight during our recent visit to the Whitsundays. These new Regulations repeal and replace the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983. There are plenty of benefits. Listed below are the major hazards divers and snorkelers encounter on the Great Barrier Reef. Experienced certified divers should be aware that you are required to carry dive certification documents and medical certificates as you will be taken on more difficult and deeper dives. If you’re planning to see as much as possible in your own time, car hire is the way to go. Sun 29 Oct 2017. It’s no surprise that one of the best ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef is to jump in the water! In addition to domestic flights run by Jetstar, Tigerair, and Qantas, it’s also a popular hub for international visitors. Stinger Season on the Great Barrier Reef runs from November to May when the warmer waters attract Irukandji and Box Jellyfish. Read on for the best ways to access the Great Barrier Reef -- no matter your starting point. This refers to the most iconic marine life in the Great Barrier Reef: whales, manta rays, clownfish, turtles, potato cod, giant clams, Maori wrasse, and sharks. From sponges, sea cucumbers, starfish and molluscs to fish, turtles, seabirds, dugongs, dolphins and humpback whales. Daily flights land in Cairns from Townsville, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne. Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Sailing tours are also a great alternative for non-swimmers to experience the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is home to a vast number of plants, animals and organisms. •All tourism activities in the Marine Park require a permit. Unfortunately, it’s hard to visit both places at once given the 385 miles between the two ports. Although more than 50 types of sharks reside around the reef -- including hammerhead and tiger sharks -- the most sighted sharks are small whitetip and blacktip reef sharks. There are many places to depart from to get to the reef. Quiet and serene, the turquoise blue waters atop Australia’s Great Barrier Reef can be mesmerizing. Knowledge of swimming and treading water helps, however, if you’re not a strong swimmer, most tours provide flotation devices. Tip to ensure you have a safe Great Barrier Reef trip. There are generally two options for snorkeling and diving: day trips or overnights. From June to November, whales make their annual migration north from Antarctica, providing onlookers the opportunity to view these incredible mammals from the shore or boat deck. The Great Barrier Reef is normally accessed from Cairns, a vibrant tourist city on the far north tip of Queensland. You will feel out of place not wearing one! Don’t worry though, being stung is rare and tours provide thick wetsuits you can wear to protect your body. Staff on board day cruises are really good at assisting passengers with seasickness. There are usually one to two flights per day to Hamilton Island Airport from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Cairns. Read our guide for visiting the Great Barrier Reef. While the pontoon tours are the most family-friendly way to experience the Reef, don’t discount the smaller operators who can offer a more intimate experience. Tourism is one of the major industries in the Great Barrier Reef region. If Cairns is your final destination, prepare for a 20-hour journey from Brisbane. Wet Season . If you haven’t snorkelled in a while then it may be worthwhile for you to sit in on the safety demonstrations that they provide on the boat before you head out into the water. The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is between June and October , Australia’s winter and spring. Despite its timeless appeal, the pleasures of these landscapes changed significantly during the twentieth century. If you are not a comfortable swimmer let the staff on board day cruises know so that they can provide you with floatation devices and advise you on which areas to swim and snorkel in close to the boat. Marine Park rules help protect the Great Barrier Reef and ensure it’s enjoyed in an ecologically sustainable way. sugar Despite significant Government and industry investment and effort over a decade, poor water quality continues to threaten the Reef. Strap these down so that they are closer to your body, but still accessible. Snorkeling and scuba diving are the most popular activities around the Great Barrier Reef. Commercial operators also have very strict guidelines and environmental rules that they must abide by as dictated to them by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Of the seven species of sea turtle, six can be found around these coral reefs. The two activities don’t mix and you will find that alcohol will not be sold on any cruise until after these activities have finished for the day. They know the dive sites, what hazards are found on each of them, and how to best reduce the risks. We don’t want to scare you. Great Barrier Reef is a great destination for all travellers regardless of your budget. Millions of people visit the Great Barrier Reef each year for tourism and recreation, and the tourism industry works closely with us to ensure their operations are sustainable. Stops along this route include the beautiful coastal communities of Townsville, Airlie Beach, Hervey Bay, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Byron Bay. Although you don’t have to stop at each town, exploring a few will provide a taste of Queensland’s stunning coast. To further minimize risk, consider visiting the cooler areas of the Great Barrier Reef in the south. Watch your fins - They can do a lot of damage, especially to sea fans and the like, be aware of where you fins are. What should you be looking for while snorkeling or scuba diving? Visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Please let know and they may move to a better position on the boat or outside for fresh air. 2. Although flights over any part of the Great Barrier Reef are noteworthy, the Whitsunday Islands boast some of the most beautiful views. The potato cod can grow up to 200 pounds, while the Maori wrasse -- a fish known for its friendly temperament -- can span more than 6 feet! The Great Barrier Reef provides tourists with an underwater trip through the world's largest coral reef. Here are some: 1. Fly from the east coast inland: Equally breathtaking sights await in the red-desert Outback. 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