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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Help needed--GBR, Daintree, Mossman, Atherton

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Thanks to wonderful Fodorites, we've planned the first 10 days of our late Dec.-early Jan. trip, and now we've got our last 4 nights (3 1/2 days) up north. We are a family of four (middle-aged couple with two young adult daughters), and our first priority is unusual Australian nature and wildlife, plus local (especially native) culture. We do not care about beach time or shopping at all.

I know it is likely to be hot and rainy, but several family members really want to dive the GBR. So one day will be reserved for that. Based on other forum posts, I'm guessing we will go with Quicksilver (even though in general we prefer to stay away from large-group experiences). I am not a diver and get seasick easily--so having the platform and other dry options for seeing the reef (in case I don't feel up to snorkeling) while the other 3 family members dive seems like a good solution. Unless anyone knows of a better option that can accommodate all of us...

That leaves about 2 1/2 days. (We need to be back at the Cairns airport by about 2 pm on our final day.) So one option is to spend the rest of the time seeing Mossman Gorge and Daintree. If we do that, should we stay in Port Douglas for the whole time, near Mossman or Daintree for the whole time, or split the time? It doesn't seem like they are very far from each other, but the environment sure seems different. Normally, I'd opt to get away from tourist beach towns, but I'm wondering if the heat away from the coast is a lot worse.

Alternately, if we could visit Mossman and Daintree together on day 2, we could then travel to the Atherton Tablelands for day 3 (and perhaps something the last morning). I have read so many posts about how that was a highlight of people's trips. But I don't want to give Mossman and Daintree short shrift. I will contact Alan Gillanders, recommended by many posters, to see if he is even available.

Thoughts? Other places I haven't considered?

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