July 12, 2018

The Great Barrier Reef and Beyond: A Beginner’s Guide to Queensland’s Coast

Queensland is absolutely massive, something most people don't realize until they actually step foot into Australia. It spans from Coolangatta in the south to Cape York in the north and, in all, is about twice the size of Texas. It's also full of adventure and hearty personalities. The main attraction, however, is the incomparable Great Barrier Reef that stretches for 2300 kilometers. 

Photo source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

Book a boat trip to get a beautiful look at what lies beneath the water's foamy white caps. There are plenty of chances to explore this world wonder, whether you chose to strap on a snorkel or just get your toes wet. Port Douglas is a particularly great getaway for those trying to see the reef in all its glory. They have both ritzy accommodations and dining to boot. Plus, they have a whole marina of boats ready and waiting for you to see the world and float out to the highlights of the reef. 

Explore the Great Barrier Reef from above

If you aren't ready to take the plunge into the water, a day trip in a glass-bottomed boat is only one of the many ways to explore the reef. A scenic flight from Cairns or the Whitsundays is also a great way to gain a macro-perspective on its beauty. A reef walk is yet another dry-footed pick, especially at the southern sections of the reef during low tide, which become completely exposed. Hint: go to Heron Island. 

The Whitsundays

Photo source: www.pixabay.com

Located halfway up the coast of Queensland, the Whitsunday Islands are a tropical oasis. Photogenic, daiquiri-soaked, and worthy of a thousand photos, the archipelago is comprised of 74 islands. Accommodations range from luxury resorts on Hamilton, Daydream, and Hayman islands to budget bedrooms on Hook Island. A sailing trip is definitely a must-book and a yacht would be the best way to cast yourself off into the sunset to end a beautiful day along the white sand beaches. 

Travel Tip: Whether you're visiting family in Australia, on a business jaunt or taking a couples get-away, take off on your next flight knowing you've got cover with travel insurance. Expect the unexpected, and protect your trip.

Daintree Rainforest

Photo source: www.daintreerainforest.com

With more than 3000 plant species filling this 1200 square kilometer rainforest, this remarkable place is certainly worth visiting. There are countless critters, crocs, and birds to be seen and it's the largest tract of tropical rainforest in the country. It's also home to more native wildlife than you'd ever think possible. The lush green forest tumbles downwards towards white sandy beaches that are serenaded by bird songs and fan palms. Countless activities will keep you busy, from wildlife spotting and mountain treks to tropical fruit orchards, boardwalks, horse riding, cruises, kayaking, and so much more. 

Lady Elliot Island

Photo source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

If you're looking for something a little less touristy than the islands further north, the Capricorn Coast is worth looking into. Lady Elliot is ideal for wildlife watching and snorkeling, and it's also the best place along the reef to spot manta rays. Relaxed vibes and unpretentious hotels can also be found at Great Keppel. Meanwhile, Island Heron has a fantastic family resort experience to offer. 

Fraser Island, located a few hundred kilometers north of Brisbane, is the largest sand island in the world, spreading 1,840 square kilometers. Pack a snorkel and hire a 4WD to explore it. Ferry over to Fraser's grand beaches and spot the shipwrecks, the forests, and the fresh-water lakes that surround the rampant wildlife of the area. You're sure to see some wallabies, dingoes, echidnas, birds of prey and plenty of reptiles. 

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