Sunday, October 14, 2007

Two Fantastic Ways To Experience The Great Barrier Reef By Robert Aconley

The Great Barrier Reef is a magnificent sight and you can experience it in numerous ways. Two fantastic ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef are to take a light aircraft flight over the reef and snorkeling from a platform in the Pacific Ocean.

It is easy to drive to Whitsunday Airport, Queensland from Airlie Beach to catch the one hour pleasure flight over the Whitsunday Islands and ‘Heart Shaped’ Reef. You will be given a safety briefing before the pilot leads you to the 4-seater plane on the grass field runway. You will probably get the best seats if you can sit in the front of the aircraft! The pilot heads out over the Airlie Beach area and the views are stunning. A few minutes later the aircraft takes you over the very popular Hayman and Daydream Islands. It takes almost half an hour before the Great Barrier Reef comes into view. What a view it is! This is definitely a fantastic way to experience the reef because you can see how vast it really is as it stretches out for miles into the distance.

The highlight of the trip is circling the famous ‘Heart Reef’. The pilot tilts the plane both ways so that everyone gets a good view of the 'heart shaped' reef so have your camera ready. After leaving the reef the pilot takes you towards Whitsunday Island and the famous Whitehaven Beach. The Whitehaven beach stretches out for almost 4 miles and is arguably one of the ten best beaches in the world. The Hill Inlet sand formation is a superb view from the air and is well worth seeing. The aircraft flies over the vacation friendly Hamilton Island and Shute Harbour before returning back to the airport. The Whitsunday Islands are a marvellous place for a vacation but don’t miss the chance to see them from the air.

Snorkeling has got to be one of the best ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef. Port Douglas, Queensland is a good base to catch the Catamaran that takes you out to the Barrier Reef. The Quicksilver Catamaran takes you to the Agincourt Reef in almost two hours and you can enjoy the magnificent views of the north Queensland coastline as you swiftly move through the water. The platform is a superb place to explore the reef because you can also take a submarine type boat in addition to snorkeling. If you do not want to get wet, but still want to enjoy the reef then this option is ideal.

All the equipment for snorkeling is available at the platform so take advantage of it. It is almost a fantasy world when you snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef. The colors of the tropical fish are amazing and you can see them so clearly because they swim so close to you. Watch out for the Clownfish and then you will be able to claim that you have 'found Nemo' at the Great Barrier Reef. Be careful not to touch the intricate coral reef because it is actually a living organism and easily damaged. My personal advice is to swim away from the immediate crowds and then you can have this world all to yourself.

Seeing the Great Barrier Reef is an experience that will never be forgotten so don't miss the chance to see the reef, from above and below, if you travel to Australia.

Robert Aconley runs the Million Dollar Lake & Million Pound Lake websites. You can find them at and

Photos coutesy of Wilkipedia,

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