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Outer Reef or Whitsundays Fringe Reef?

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Planning our trip to Austrlalia has been overwhelming- so many options, not enough time. I need some advice on the Great Barrier Reef portion of the trip. I've always been interested in seeing the Whitsundays and Whitehaven Beach. Neither of us are divers but we'd like to spend a day snorkeling. I am currently planning to take a day cruise from Airlie Beach to visit Whitehaven and spend a couple of hours snorkeling. Then we'll spend two nights on Long Island to relax and just explore the trials, kayak, etc.

However, when I was explaining my plans tonight to my husband and mentioned the option of taking a boat to the Outer Reef, he wanted to know the difference between snorkeling on the Outer Reef vs. snorkeling closer in on the fringe reefs within the Whitsundays.

It all looks amazing to me but wanted to ask what the difference is. Is it worth the extra time and expense to head out to the Outer Reef?
Thanks in advance!

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