Welcome to the CAIRNS Great Barrier Reef: The Natural Wonder
In my previous article, I took you through the top amazing places and things to do in Cairns.
I mentioned that Cairns is one of the country’s top holiday hotspots, home to abundant adventures on both land and sea. As a gateway for people wanting to visit the stunning and expansive Great Barrier Reef, the lush Daintree Rainforest, and the rest of Tropical North Queensland. Cairns is their outstanding get-away destination for all the unforgettable nature-oriented experiences.
Towards the end, I highlighted my intention of giving you a complete, well-detailed guide on how to explore the Cairns Great Barrier Reef. Well, here I am to fulfil my promise.
I will be guiding you through the following tips:
About Cairns Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef Cities and Towns
Different ways of doing your Reef experience
Where to stay
Things You must know and take along
One of Australia’s most incredible natural gifts, the Cairns Great Barrier Reef is blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef. The reef contains an abundance of marine life and comprises of over 3000 individual reef, tropical islands with some of the world’s most beautiful sun-soaked, golden Cairns beaches. Because of its natural beauty, the Great Barrier Reef has become one of the world’s most sought after tourist destinations.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the astonishing wonders of the natural world, and It is apparently the only living thing on earth that is visible from space.
There are a diverse range of tourism operations in the Cairns Great Barrier Reef including day tours, overnight and extended tours, snorkelling, scuba diving and fishing charters, long-range roving tours, aircraft or helicopter tours, glass-bottomed boat viewing, cruise ships, water sports, passenger ferries, whale watching, swimming with dolphins and Sharks etc.
DIFFERENT WAYS TO LAUNCH YOUR REEF
Well, there are various ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef. There is a multitude of places to start your reef adventure, and a range of means to see the rainforest, choose your adventure with different ways to experience the Reef. Find some below:
Snorkel and Diving: Snorkelling and diving are the easiest, cheapest and most accessible way to have a close-up contact or view with the creatures like sea turtles, sharks and humid fish of different sizes and colours that make the Great Barrier Reef famous.
Scenic Flights: If you don’t mind viewing the Reef from sea eagle’s view, then take seaplane or helicopter tour.
Live-Aboard: If you’re excited to do as much diving as possible, a live-aboard boat is the best option.
Glass-Bottom Boat: If you don’t like getting wet but still want to understand what all the fuss is about the Reef? Then go for the glass-bottom boat tours. The marine experts who drive them will whisk you over shallow reefs, point out the different corals, look for turtles, giant clams and anything else they can find.
Reef Walking: Many reefs in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef are exposed at low tide, allowing visitors to walk on the reef top, on sandy tracks between living coral.
THINGS YOU MUST KNOW, DO AND AVOID WHEN AT CAIRNS GREAT BARRIER REEF
Get Sunscreen protection: If you are in for the greatest fun, having a sunglass sun protection cream and hat at Cairns’ Great Barrier Reef is paramount. This is because Cairns is a tropical city and the sun is both hot and damaging to unprotected skin. Look for sunscreens that are waterproof and make sure you apply before you start to burn: Don’t wait until you are RED. Sunglasses and hats are extremely recommended for any trip to the Cairns Great Barrier Reef.
Avoid Motion Sickness: To avoid motion sickness, it is advisable to take some preventative medication, at least, 30-minutes before to boarding your boat. It is better to prevent any chance of motion sickness, which might spoil the FUN. There is nothing worse than being sick at sea during your Great Barrier Reef visit. You don’t want to miss all the Excitements.
Keep Your Distance from Sharks: It is important for you to know that Sharks do habitat on the Cairns Great Barrier Reef: if you encounter a reef shark, just watch from a distance, do not move too close for comfort.
Take Along Wetsuits / stinger suits: These are available on most Cairns Great Barrier Reef tour and liveaboard boats. For your well-being and protection, it is vital that you wear these suits when in the water, it is better to be safe than be sober or sorry. Stinger suits are also highly recommended when swimming in the waters, especially in summer (December to March).
Avoid Alcohol: You will not be allowed to scuba dive if you have consumed alcohol and it is advised not to snorkel or swim if you have been drinking.
Cairns Reef Tour operators: All Reef operators on Cairns Reef have licensed and well trained.
Cairns is the perfect destination from which to explore the many wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. The unspoilt islands and beaches, spectacular wildlife and the tropical rainforests are all accessible from Cairns. Cairns has many great hotels and resorts to suit any budget.
Silky Oaks Lodge, Daintree: Have you ever wanted to sleep in a tree house that is bounded by an ancient tropical rainforest and within striking distance of the Daintree National Park and the Great Barrier Reef, the lodge offers tranquillity, a world-class spa, brilliant cuisine etc.
On the Inlet, Port Douglas: This is sited on an old wharf, it is well-established seafood restaurant. Nothing too sophisticated about the place though, but it’s a great value for money.
The Brewery, Townsville: The Brewery, in Townsville is a great place to hang out, play a game of pool and meet the locals. The food offerings are nice
GREAT BARRIER REEF CITIES AND TOWNS (Where to stay)
Queensland is unique amongst the Australian states in that it has some genuine coastal capitals. With incredible cities like Cairns, Townsville, Port Douglas, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Mackay, etc.
At over 2000km long, the reef is quite big, and so it’s important to have a choice of your entry point. Some towns spread along the Queensland coast, which serve as gateways to the Cairns reef, plus there are a number of island resorts as well.
Cairns: Cairns is irrefutably the main launching hotspot for reef tours. You can do anything from relatively inexpensive day trips on large boats to intimate five-day luxury charters.
Townsville: Townsville is a renowned gateway among divers. Whether you’re learning or experienced, an onboard diving safari around the numerous islands of the reef is a great choice.
Port Douglas: Port Douglas, just north of Cairns, is a classy resort town and a gateway to the Low Isles and Agincourt Reef, an outer ribbon reef featuring crystal clear water and particularly stunning corals.
WHEN TO GO TO THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
The Cairns Great Barrier Reef has no major seasons. There is no specific moment to visit the Great Barrier Reef: it can be enjoyed throughout the year.
But from experience, the most suitable time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is from June to November when the weather is mild and visibility is good.
In the summer months (December to March) the weather is warm, and the water temperature is around 30 degrees. This is the wet time of year and tropical cyclones are sometimes active in the region.
WHAT TO TAKE/PACK
– Lots of sunblocks
– Underwater camera
– Footwear suitable for walking on jagged coral.
– Floppy hats and loose-fitting T-shirts.
– Tropical-strength mosquito repellent for the rainforest.