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The best down to earth great barrier reef destination?

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The best down to earth great barrier reef destination?

Hi,

I am trying to book a medium budget trip to the GBR for 3 nights in mid Feb.

Unfortunately, I keep finding really fancy hotels with all kinds of pampering, spas, hammocks...etc that I am really not interested in. I am very active and want to see and experience the reef...not the back of my eyelids!

So, what I am really looking for easily available and good snorkeling and diving with half decent accomodation (nothing fancy).

If anyone has any good tips, I would be very grateful;-)

Edited: 7:29 pm, December 27, 2012
New South Wales...
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1. Re: The best down to earth great barrier reef destination?

Try Koala Adventure Resort on South Molle Island (if it's still operating - any locals know?????) or Long Island Resort. Alternatively, stay in Airlie Beach and do daytrips to the reef. (You'll have to do this from an island anyway....)

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Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach
Queensland, Australia
South Pole
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2. Re: The best down to earth great barrier reef destination?

fly to cairns and visit the reef from there.

Sydney
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3. Re: The best down to earth great barrier reef destination?

I agree with Cairns - many more options.

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Cairns
Cairns
Cairns Region, Australia
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4. Re: The best down to earth great barrier reef destination?

I'm interested in this as well, but everything I'm reading says Cairns is not good to visit in February due to rain and stingers. Is this true?

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Cairns
Cairns
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South Pole
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5. Re: The best down to earth great barrier reef destination?

u will be wearing stingers suits on the reef at both locations.

feb is from the stats the wettest month of 'the wet' but it is not always so.

cyclone season also but again it might not happen.

not a lot of climate difference between HI and cairns.

Sydney, Australia
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6. Re: The best down to earth great barrier reef destination?

Try Lady Elliot as a good option.

South Molle has no snorkelling of any quality and I'm 99% sure its closed (although it seems to reincarnate itself periodically but the quality of accom is barely adequate, and I'm talking really basic.

Depending on when you are travelling Heron might work.

For Jordan,

Cairns in feb is pot luck..

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Cairns
Cairns
Cairns Region, Australia
New South Wales...
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7. Re: The best down to earth great barrier reef destination?

I would certainly have said Cairns if it wasn't February but wouldn't recommend it at that time year. It is not only the wet season, so extremely hot & humid, but also cyclone season. It is also stinger season so anywhere north of about Rockhampton will require you take precautions if swimming in the sea. If you're diving, you could also consider a liveaboard charter out of Airlie Beach???

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Cairns
Cairns
Cairns Region, Australia
Rockhampton
Rockhampton
Queensland, Australia
Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach
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Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: The best down to earth great barrier reef destination?

Long Island may fit your bill. We were there last year and really loved it as we are real nature lovers but I'm not sure how far away it is from the GBR tours as we didn't visit the GBR this time around.

There are many mixed reviews on Long Island so do read them so that you know what to expect. It is not a luxury island (more like a 2-3 star) but the island is absolutely beautiful and unspoilt. I have also been to Hamilton Island and Daydream but Long Island is the most " natural" (no golf buggies, just walk everywhere)

It also has a National Park and you can go on a 2 hour hike and see lots of wildlife. I believe you can get a beachfront room for A$100 too!

Otherwise, I'd suggest Heron island if you can afford it. This was our first choice but it was too far and too expensive for us to get to with kids.

Here is my Long Island review if you're interested.

tripadvisor.com.au/ShowUserReviews-g255089-d…

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Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island
Whitsunday Islands, Australia
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9. Re: The best down to earth great barrier reef destination?

Wow, thanks guys! your help is much appreciated!! I didnt expect such prompt responses...cheers!

Family of mine in Sydney have also said that Cairns can be a bit muggy and trecherous this time of year weather wise...and considering im coming from the UK, sunshine is a precious comodity to me;-)

Also, a few colagues at work have suggested that aside from the reef, 4x4 camping on Fraser Island can be good fun. So im contemplating doing this for a few days in addition. This ties in well with Lady Eliot as they are both reachable from Hervey Bay. Not to mention that Lady Elliot is almost as far south on the reef as you can go...so perhaps less cyclone prone and need for stinger suits? Though will LE being so far south compromise the quality of the reef...being in cooler waters?On the plus side hoever, all you need do is to fall out of the accmoation and onto the reef...no trips required!!

Im also rather keen on, the idea of a live aboards charter out of Arlie beach also sound a lot of fun...provided we actually do some sailing and not just booze cruising...Ill definately have a look into this a bit further! Anyone been on one of these charters before?

Koala adventures on the other hand looks a bit shut as they dont seem to have a functional website...hmmm and recent trip advisor reviews regarding South Molle island are less than complimentary. I think I will be avoiding that.

Long Island looks quite attractive... think ll have a bit more of an indeth look here...

Thanks again!

Edited: 5:46 am, January 05, 2013
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Sydney
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Cairns
Cairns
Cairns Region, Australia
Fraser Island
Fraser Island
Fraser Coast, Australia
Hervey Bay
Hervey Bay
Fraser Coast, Australia
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10. Re: The best down to earth great barrier reef destination?

Mmmm Airlie Beach ???

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Airlie Beach
Queensland, Australia
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