Visiting the Great Barrier Reef has always been high on my wishlist. I think my passion ignited from watching Sabrina Down Under when I was 7. My parents are currently over visiting us in Australia, and we decided to wait until now to visit the Reef, so we could enjoy it together.
I booked us a weekend away to Cairns in North Queensland. Our flight was from Brisbane Airport, and took about two hours and twenty minutes. It’s bizarre how this duration on a plane is pretty standard for someone going on holiday from the UK. Flying for this amount of time or less from England can get you to parts of Spain, Italy, and France. When flying in Australia, it’s merely a short journey touching briefly on this beautiful country.
Our trip began with an early morning scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef. We were pleasantly surprised to find there was only us, and one other couple on our plane. Our pilot, Dave, was lovely. Throughout our 40 minute flight, he informed us of all sorts of wonderful facts about the reef. Flying above really gave us an insight into just how huge this beautiful wonder is. The views were amazing, the water was pristine, and the coral was exquisite. I’ve decided Dave has the best job in the world.
Once we landed back on the mainland, we were taken to the harbour where our ferry departed for Green Island. When we arrived, we were shown onto another boat where we enjoyed lunch. The buffet consisted of predominately Asian cuisine, with a selection salads, bread, continental meats and fresh fruit. It was all you can eat, which was dangerous territory before a snorkel in the world’s largest coral reef system.
Green Island is one of the most popular tourist choices, and it doesn’t take long on the Island before you realise why. Unbeknown to us, it is home to a number of shops and restaurants thriving from the masses of tour groups who visit the island every day. We were slightly disappointed that it wasn’t as secluded and untouched as we hoped, but it was still impressive nonetheless.
We brought our own snorkels, so all we had to hire was flippers. My parents didn’t go in the water and instead opted to take a leisurely stroll around the Island. Unfortunately, as we got in the water it began to rain, but this wasn’t going to stop us having a snorkel. When it comes to water it’s not that I’m scared, it’s that I’m scared of sharks. Put me in the Mediterranean and I’ll swim around for hours. Put me in the Pacific (or in this case the Coral Sea), and I’d rather keep my distance.The area we were snorkelling in had no lifeguards and was unrecommended, so when I realised we were pretty far out, I started to make my way back.James, however, kept going. He saw so much beautiful sea life. From clams and coral to fish and even a shark, he loved every minute. Personally, I couldn’t think of anything worse than seeing a shark in the open water, but I guess that’s where we differ. I did feel like I hadn’t spent enough time under the water, so, we found a spot I could hop in the crystal clear water without being far out.This was the Great Barrier Reef after all, when was the next time I was going to be here? The fish were so colourful, and I even saw a Shovel Nosed Ray (I think that’s what it’s called). It was like another world.
After our swim, we boarded our glass bottom boat tour. Again, the sea life was amazing. We witnessed so many types of fish it would be impossible to remember them all. The colours and tranquillity of the reef were perfect. We are a little disappointed that we didn’t see a turtle, but you can’t have everything!
For anyone visiting the Great Barrier Reef, I would 100% suggest going on a scenic flight. It gives you the chance to see the reef from a completely different perspective. Like most of my pictures, the photos don’t do it justice. I’m yet to upload and sort out our GoPro pics so stay tuned for those! We booked our trip online through The Tour Specialists, who I would definitely recommend. It was great value for money, all the staff were helpful and everything ran smoothly.