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Great Barrier Reef question

Toronto, Canada
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7 posts
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Great Barrier Reef question

I have a 'bundle' of young people visiting for Christmas this year in Sydney. Ages range 21-29. This is their lst and perhaps only visit to Australia. As such, it seems a trip to the Barrier Reef is in order. After researching on the internet, I am more confused as to best location, best cost alternative, to arrange a visit for 5 people. The trip would begin from Sydney and could probably not last more than 3-4 days in total. Has anyone suggestions on the best place to visit the reef, good accomodations, restaurants??

Cairns, Australia
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1. Re: Great Barrier Reef question

Snorkel only trip best bet would be wavelength out of Port Douglas.

Cheapest trip for snorkel, diving (additional) and boom netting would be Compass (they do a shuttle to a liveaboard so I guess this reduces costs). This trip is from Cairns.

Best bet for a mix of non-swimmers and snorkellers would be Passions of Paradise, out of Cairns.

Port Douglas is maybe a little older crowd but still a few youngsters, the cane toad race is very popular.

If they are adventourous types there is outback trips, white water rafting, 4wd trips to Cooktown and the Bloomfield track. It would be soft adventure, not too uncomfortable.

I had the best time at Chillagoe Cabins, only 200-300 km from Cairns and right on the edge of nowhere. Tourists got a kick from seeing next fuel 560km sign. There are 700 limestone caves and the cabin owner will take his guests on a tour of a few that fit the ability of his guests. They are also injured wildlife carers so maybe get to feed a baby joey. The area has tons of kangaroos and is very outbacky. No sealed roads out this way but the 20km or so of unsealed road on the way into Chillagoe is fine with a 2wd.

The tableland area is a gem with tours or drive yourself. remnant rainforest, waterfalls, platypus sighting areas. I would recommend a walk to Nandroya falls for a swim, very ruined rainforest from Larry but a gem of a swimming hole.

There is also the savannahlander train though perhaps time would rule that out.

I am in Cooktown at the moment and had a great day out though we have our own 4wd, a distinct advantage for this area. Tourism here is at fledging stage even though they have sealed the inland road all the way since my last visit, I cannot see too much change as a result.

There are tours from Cooktown of the famous rock art of the Quinkan and also some Laura style rock art tours from the aboriginal town of Hope Vale. We went to falls close to town and were the only people there to enjoy swimming in the pool at the base of the falls

We also drove out to Archer Point. I was raving how pristine it all was when we chanced upon a beach full of rubbish! All this stuff has washed up from boats and other places, thongs, bottle, flippers, drink bottles, coconuts, boating ropes...you name it! It was fun to scavange through all the debri. Really strange with coconuts bobbing in the surf with not a coconut palm in sight! Nearby there was a white sand beach with a sandwich board sign warning of a recent crocodile sighting. I was out of the car not long before I was realised that I was jumping around like I was on hot coals so we made a hasty exit lol.

The rainforest areas are scattered as there has been massive clearing. I was up this way before on a 4wd drive safari and was disappointed so this time we are doing it for ourselves. So far plan to see Cedar Bay, maybe a little of the CEBA track, some other little stops along the bloomfield track and then a tour with Cooper Creek Wilderness a little south of Cape Tribulation.

There is an aboriginal tour near Port Douglas at Mossman Gorge called Kaku Yalanji Dreamtime.

White water rafting in Tully, and also Barron river. I think also along South Johnstone River.

So great choices. Depends really on whether they want to self drive 2wd, 4wd, take a 4wd tour, bus tour or stay put and just go with the flow! Just make it clear it is not beach time in FNQ. Swimming holes beneath a waterfall are far more refreshing anyways. :)

Cairns, Australia
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2. Re: Great Barrier Reef question

Food.

I love Yorkeys Knob Boat Club, marina setting. Normal club though.

The C*ck and Bull has HUGE meals for about $19 from the grill. Pub style, line up get a buzzer then collect your meal. Great steak, great ribs.

I love having Sudnay brunch at Cafe Coco at the Cairns International Hotel. $55 a head but all you can eat REALLY goo food and 5 star service plus includes champagne, daiquries and margeritas.

Stop by roadside stalls or Rusty's markets for cheap bananas, fresh lychee and local mango.

Great hamburgers at Tolga. Great night out at Nick's restaurant on weekend nights in Yungaburra after evening platypus spotting.

Many restaurants, some good, some bad.

Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Great Barrier Reef question

Thank you Verdant...you are a gold mine of information!! I will be making travel arrangments very shortly and also print out the information as a future reference.

aus
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4. Re: Great Barrier Reef question

although, if you are willing spend quite a lot of money hayman island is a good alternitive. however you have to eat at one of the resteraunts run by the hotel. hayman offers free non-powered seacraft and great bushwalks. the resort owns the whole island andyour only care in the world will soon become the seagulls at breakfast. unfortunatly becouse the islan is national park the cannot get rid of the seagulls. if you eat outside have thongs to hit the birds or be there early. the reef trip costs about $100 for the full day. if you like fishing you can go bottom fishing and have you catch cooked at whichever resteraunt you wish. i recomment getting oriental to crispy the fish. for good snorkaling bluepearl bay 2 is about an hours walk and bluepearl 1 is about ten minutes by speedbaot dropoff. you could also hire a boat and go snorkeling that way. if you wish do dine at the french resteraunt they requst men wear a jacket.

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Great Barrier Reef question

Another alternative! Allowing for the budgets of these young people, I do not think they will have the funds to go here but my husband and I will keep it in mind. Sounds like you had a good time.

Whitsundays
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6. Re: Great Barrier Reef question

Hayman will be a touch rich, but Airlie Beach will be able to suit all of your needs not to mention the nightlife that will help occupy the youngun's. There are all sorts of accomm. and you'll find something around your mark.

Fantasea and Cruise Whitsunday do daytrips to the GBR as well as a couple of snmaller ops such as Divetime and Reefjet. All are very good.

Cruises around the islands are plentiful and most include visits to Whitehaven Beach and soe nice snorkelling spots. Mantaray and Maxi Ragauffin are good choices, but there are plenty more.

Islands such as Hook and Long do offer alterative accomm. as i backpacker style at good rates as well as some good package deals.

Lots to choose plenty of variety including cocodile tours and horse and quad bike riding as wellas all the usual. I usually recoend that you use a local agent who you can talk to and have good responses about these guys, as well will give you some whitsunday sights to check out. cheers airlian www.whisundayaccommodation.net

www.fantaseacruises.com.au

www.cruisewhitsundays.com

www.mantaraycharters.com

www.airliebeach.com

www.thewhitsundays.com

7. Re: Great Barrier Reef question

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