Great Barrier Reef Places

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Orpheus Island

Outdoor Activities

Orpheus Island Resort is surrounded by walking trails, and there are spectacular snorkeling and diving sites right off the beaches, with manta rays the highlight. Resort guests get complimentary use of snorkeling and light fishing gear, as well as canoes, paddle-skis, catamarans, and motorized dinghies in which to buzz from cove to cove. The coral around Orpheus is some of the best in the area, and cruises to the outer reef can be arranged through the resort for an additional fee. Whereas most of the islands are more than 50 km (31 mi) from the reef, Orpheus is just 15 km (9 mi) away. Dive operators on the island provide scuba courses and various boat-diving options.

Orpheus Island Diving & Snorkeling. Orpheus Island is encircled by fringing reef, with world-class dive and snorkeling sites an easy boat or dinghy ride away. Orpheus Island resort can arrange half-day dive and snorkeling trips around the neighboring Palm Islands, and full-day charter dive and snorkeling excursions to the Outer Barrier Reef. Costs depend on passenger numbers and inclusions; booking ahead is essential. Resort guests can also preorder a gourmet picnic hamper and use one of the resort's motorized dinghies to visit secluded, boulder-strewn coves and snorkeling spots on the island's fringing reef. Often, you can snorkel directly off the beach into fish-filled coral gardens. Orpheus Island Resort jetty, Orpheus Island, QLD, 4810. 07/4777–7377. www.orpheus.com.au.

Hinchinbrook and Palm Islands Tours. Orpheus Island resort guests can take helicopter flights over Hinchinbrook Island National Park, Australia's largest protected island wilderness; cruise the Hinchinbrook-Cardwell channel, seeking out saltwater crocs in island estuaries and anchoring in secluded coves for guided rain-forest treks to Zoe and Mulligan waterfalls; or take a leisurely cruise around the Palm Islands with stops to snorkel, explore significant sites, and take guided nature walks. Orpheus Island, QLD, 4850. 07/4777–7377. www.orpheus.com.au. Half-hour Hinchinbrook Is. heli-flights A$375 per person; Hinchinbrook Is. day cruise/tour charters: half-day A$500–A$650, full-day A$750–A$950 (1–14 passengers).

Orpheus Island Fishing. The tropical waters off Orpheus Island offer prized game and reef fish species. On group trips or solo dinghy excursions via motorized dinghy (free for guests' use, as is light tackle), tasty reef fish (red emperor and coral trout, sweetlip and giant trevally) can be caught right off the island. On excursions to the outer reef, you'll get the chance to land large pelagics including black marlin, wahoo, Spanish mackerel, and dog-tooth tuna. Pre-booking fishing charters is essential and all expeditions are subject to weather and tidal conditions. Orpheus Is. Jetty, Orpheus Island, QLD, 4850. 07/4777–7377. www.orpheus.com.au.

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