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great barrier reef - anyone visited?

12 replies

robinw · 03/04/2002 18:20

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Enid · 03/04/2002 19:03

We went in January a few years ago. It was very busy but we managed to find places to stay. We did it all independently and I would recommend it - I've never liked being constrained by travel agents itineraries. We flew to Sydney and then gradually drove up to the Reef, but obviously you can fly to Brisbane or Cairns.

Does he dive? Or even if you just snorkel its worth going out on a boat for a couple of days - you get to see the outer reefs and it goes without saying that they are completely breathtaking...

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robinw · 03/04/2002 21:35

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mollipops · 04/04/2002 07:57

Hi robinw, Far North Queensland is hot most of the year round...it's tropical. Let me know what month you are thinking about going and I'll give you more specific info re the weather etc...

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Grizzler · 04/04/2002 10:24

I was in Cairns in Jan/Feb a few years ago and the sun was fierce - so fierce that my fair British skin took a right battering having not seen anything other than grey skies for the previous few months in the UK. I managed to burn my back really badly after spending a day snorkelling on the reef and that was despite very high factor cream and wearing a T-shirt even while in the water.
If your husband really doesn't like the heat, I wouldn't suggest Cairns, although the Reef is stunning, and you can see plenty just by snorkelling rather than diving. You could always stay somewhere else cooler in the region, and just take a trip to the Reef instead. If I remember rightly, the Atherton Tablelands are pretty close by and are much less stifling (and very pretty) because they're higher.

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robinw · 04/04/2002 20:07

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mollipops · 05/04/2002 08:15

Yes Robinw, it's definitely hot up there in Feb, average about 29C - 32C and humid through summer, (even yesterday it was 30C and it rained! Minimum was 22C). In most of Queensland, winter/spring is nicer, not as humid. It actually rains more thru summer/autumn (Nov-April) and averages about 25C - 28C. August would be pretty good, drier and slightly cooler than in May (ave max about 26, min about 17 in Cairns, 22 and 10 respectively in Brisbane). I think it was about that time of year I last visited. It was cool in Sydney though, so it depends if you plan to go elsewhere as well. Hope I haven't confused you too much with all these stats!

Here's some links for you to check out - www.greatbarrierreef.aus.net/ and www.tropicalaustralia.com.au/visitor and
www.tq.com.au

Happy surfing! Let me know if you have any more questions, always happy to spread the word about Australia!

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Janus · 08/04/2002 12:32

I went to Cairns (few years ago now) in July and I don't remember it being over-hot, just nice and warm. Cairns itself, however, is not really a particularly picturesque town and I would head to Port Douglas which is just above and is much more beautiful. I also went up to the rainforrest which is above Port Douglas (racking my brain to remember its name, will come back to you on that one!) and that was fantastic too, the rainforrest literally meets the beach and, because it's a rainforrest, it's much cooler up there. Really is a beautiful place.
I couldn't face diving but did snorkelling over the barrier reef and I saw loads (purple starfish, a turtle, a zillion different coloured fish and coral, etc) I didn't feel I had missed out because I didn't dive and I loved it.
I booked mine with Bridge the World but this was because it was a world trip. I rang around loads and this was the cheapest and they would be worth a ring. Also, I used to book long haul flights with a company called Quest Travel. If you get a travel section of one of the Sunday papers both these numbers should be in there (eg the Times travel section).
I would try and organise all of this yourself as it will work out much cheaper and flexible than an organised tour. You can book any number of dive trips from the esplanade in Cairns, all leaving that day or the next. Or, go into any hostel (and there are loads in Cairns) and they all advertise on their notice boards in there and you could always ask someone on reception which one they would recommend.
If you buy the Lonely Planet guide book they also give you loads of good info and will be able to give you numbers of travel agents to try and accommodation at all price ranges.
To be honest, you could do the barrier reef in one or two trips so it may be worth trying to combine something else on the East coast to look at too - I would recommend the Whitsunday Islands, probably one of my favourite things I did on the East coast.
I'm wittering now!!!!! Love the place, would be a fantastic holiday and need not cost the earth. Big sigh in thinking of a thousand memories!

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Enid · 08/04/2002 14:59

robinw, just found my old diary and saw that we stayed in Airlie Beach which is at the southern end of the Barrier reef. We were there just before Christmas and it was 'very hot and humid', although it would have been much cooler than places like Cairns. It was a lovely area though. We went out on a dive boat for 4 days and dived the reef properly...sigh, pre dd days...

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Janus · 09/04/2002 12:44

Robinw, Airlie Beach is where I stayed to do the sailing around the Whitsunday Islands too (Enid, wasn't it just fantastic????!!). It's quite a 'backpackers' place and I loved it for that - loads of fun and the sailing itself was fantastic. I did a 4 day sail on an old fashioned 60ft yatch and you could help pull up the sails, the anchor, etc. The islands themselves are so beautiful, crystal clear water, white sand, etc. There is also plenty to see when you snorkelled but I still think the Barrier Reef outside Cairns had a lot more to see, more fish and coloured coral. Unfortunately when I was there, June, it poured with rain (unusual) for my entire sail but it didn't ruin it. As soon as I got back it was pleasant (not too hot) sunshine.
The rainforrest I was trying to remember was Cape Tribulation, again one of my favourite things I did on the East Coast. Just an idea.
Am still very jealous!

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Joe1 · 09/04/2002 12:48

I also booked our Australia trip through Bridge the World, I found them helpful and efficient. We stayed in cairns at a great place, I will try and find the name but it will be in their brochure, with lagoon pools etc. The reef was brilliant.

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eidsvold · 03/02/2003 18:50

There are a number of places you can stay from the bottom of the reef through to the top. You could try places like the WHitsundays as mentioned before. Airlie Beach is fine, Cairns is beautiful and you have the tablelands there as well. You can take the train up to Kuranda or the sky rail through the rainforest canopy as well as days snorkelling and such on the reef. It is probably easier to do the accomodation yourself. My dh and I are heading back to Brisbane to see family and friends. I found a resort on line through the Rydges resort. When I phoned them the best deal they could do was AUD 150 a night. On the website I got a one bedroomed apartment for 105 a night. Worth checking out. ALso join the frequent flyer for the airline you are flying - great mileage you can also acrue through accommodation and car hire.

It wills til be quite warm in Cairns and again queensland is having a hot dry summer. You might find it more bearable at the southern end of the reef. Or Islands such as Heron Island.. Fraser Island ( not near the reef) is amazing!!! World Heritage Listed and beautiful. There is such a variety that you need not limit yourself to the reef!!

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robinw · 03/02/2003 19:16

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