Australia’s Tropical Queensland
This article is compliments of http://www.spiritoffreedom.com.au/
Cute and adorable are not usually words associated with Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – at least, not until a little clownfish with a “lucky” fin captured the hearts of millions of moviegoers in Finding Nemo. Cute though this plucky little fish might be, however, the reef that is his home – and a stunning backdrop to much of the film – remains a place of unabashed superlatives. Comprised of 3,000 individual reefs and coral islands along 1500 miles of the Queensland coast, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s greatest coral reef system – a spectacle so vast it can be seen from the moon. It’s World Heritage listed and home to a myriad of sea creatures including dolphins, turtles, dugongs and more than 1,500 species of fish.
Snorkelling or diving on the Great Barrier Reef, one the World’s Seven Natural Wonders, is quite simply the adventure of a lifetime. From the stunning natural destination – the earth’s largest marine park – to the superbly comfortable vessels, the genuinely friendly crew and professional organisation of any of the myriad of reef trips, your reef adventure will surely match and exceed your expectations.
Snorkelers are rewarded for little effort with coral gardens, brightly colored tropical fish and giant clams just moments from the island’s beaches. Discover secluded, pristine beaches by foot or by motorised dinghy with a gourmet picnic just for two.
Lead by experienced dive guides offering interpretation and safety, M.V. Serranidae snorkel & dive trips are the ideal way to experience the amazing fish and coral of the Great Barrier Reef. Experience either the continental islands with their own unique fringing reefs or to patch reefs which are constructed entirely of coral. Lizard Island boasts the renowned Cod Hole.
Agincourt Reef, off Port Douglas on the Great Barrier Reef, is a series of many smaller reefs with at least 16 different dive sites. The Channels offer interesting swim-throughs and caves, while The Gardens are renowned for their exceptional abundance of brightly coloured reef fish. Blue Wonder is a breath-taking wall dive to beyond 40m while Nursery Bommie is a spectacular pinnacle where pelagic fish gather to feed.
Drift snorkelling, Mossman River, Mossman
Experience the magic of the rainforest from above and below the water! Allow the gentle Mossman River waters to guide you through the rainforest on this unique half-day journey, as you spot freshwater marine species, tropical butterflies and beautiful rainforest birds. Only 15 minutes from Port Douglas this tour gives you informative local history, flora & fauna information, as well as, the chance to float effortlessly through an ancient rainforest river.
Magnetic Island – Snorkelling at Arthur Bay
Water sports are popular all year round on Magnetic Island. Plunge into the tranquil waters, or snorkel along the fringing reef and explore the island shipwreck trail. Go on a scuba dive tour to discover the marine life – it’s a great way to see the tropical fish and coral reefs. See the splendour of the dolphins, turtles, and sea eagles by taking a guided sea kayak tour exploring the beautiful bays. Jet ski or water ski around the island or hire a yacht and sail the secluded waters.
The Whitsundays lie midway along the Queensland coast – a group of 74 Islands bordered by the Great Barrier Reef and cradled by the calm and sheltered waters of the Coral sea. The Whitsundays region benefits from being located as the closest point off the Queensland coast to the Great Barrier Reef. Day cruises will whisk you to the outer reef where you will see coral and tropical marine life bursting with color. Jump into the water and enjoy snorkelling or scuba diving around fringing reefs and coral gardens, spend the night on the reef on a boat or Reefsleep, or gain a bird’s-eye view from up above with a chartered helicopter or scenic seaplane tour. Many reefs can be accessed by recreational divers and snorkelers – and for this the Whitsundays is an underwater mecca. Day and extended cruises cater for learner and qualified divers as well as snorkelers and can include both fringing reef and outer reef. Bareboat charterers can go to even more islands on a ‘snorkel safari’.
Heron Island is a true coral cay located right on the Great Barrier Reef. Here you can swim straight off the beach to an endless garden of coral where the waters are teeming with fish and marine life. Heron Island is world famous for its fantastic scuba diving and snorkelling. Experience some of Australia’s best dive spots – more than 30 dive sites are available, half of which are only 15 minutes from the beach.
An amazing array of animal life can be discovered throughout the year, such as the delightful Green and Loggerhead Turtles. Heron is renowned for its abundance of birdlife with dense Pisonia forests which are home to thousands of Noddy Terns and Shearwater Mutton Birds. Here you soon sense that you are very much a guest of the natural environment; you’re here to be part of it, to enjoy and to learn from it. First and foremost, Heron Island is protected habitat for a stunning variety of wildlife.
This tiny coral cay is both part of the Great Barrier Reef and surrounded by it with pristine reef and beach environments including rare turtle and bird breeding grounds.
Those that are drawn to Wilson Island will see the natural beauty of the island, its seclusion and the freedom from modern-day living as part of its appeal. Wilson Island offers comfortable designer-inspired tent accommodation which have direct access to a pristine reef and beach environment. Guests on Wilson Island are able to enjoy exceptional snorkelling, bird watching, island and reef walks or simply relaxing within the peaceful natural setting, enjoying the stunning views.
Wilson Island is the Great Barrier Reef as nature intended.
There are few opportunities in a lifetime where you can experience the thrill of sharing the water with a creature as magnificent as a whale. But in Australia, during the months of June and July, divers can interact with Dwarf Minke Whales in the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
Each year these graceful creatures migrate from the Antarctic seas to the stretch of reefs to the south of Lizard Island, known as the Ribbon Reefs. The inquisitive nature of the Minke Whale brings them close to boats in the region to linger with divers and snorkelers, at times as close to up to a metre away. The whales are mostly encountered alone or in family groups of two or three, but can be in groups of up to eight.
Minkes display some extraordinary behaviour such as spy hopping, where they lift their head out of the water and observe the boats above the surface. Often they are seen tail-slapping the water, which may be an acoustic signal to other whales in the vicinity.
On board Spirit of Freedom divers may encounter Minke Whales approaching them while diving on the Ribbon Reefs in June and July. Most of the Minke Whale encounters will be around the boat where Minke Whales will linger or circle to interact with people as they snorkel from the boat. These curious creatures make the best photographic subject as they glide silently by, and often will not leave until the last person has left the water.
This article was compliments of http://www.spiritoffreedom.com.au/