Great Barrier Reef Places

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Townsville

Tours

Coral Princess Cruises has three- and seven-night cruises that leave weekly or fortnightly, from the Breakwater Terminal in Townsville, bound for Cairns and Lizard Island. The company's two comfortable 115-foot, 50-passenger expedition-style ships stop for snorkeling, diving, fishing, beach BBQs, and rain-forest hikes (get dive gear or lessons on board). Onboard marine biologists give lectures en route and lead excursions. Prices start at A$1,546, twin-share (with no sole use discount) for a three-night, four-plus-dive live-aboard trip including 3–5 optional guided scuba dives and free snorkeling, glass-bottom boat tours, fish feeds, land tours, most gear, food, and entertainment; A$3,148 for a 7-night trip with 4–6 optional dives Your bar tab, reef taxes, and diving costs—A$60, A$70 with gear (certified divers); A$85 for the first two dives, A$70 thereafter (beginners)—are extra.

The Tropicana Guided Adventure Company runs expertly guided, small-group Magnetic Island expeditions to normally inaccessible bays and beaches in a converted, extra-long jeep. Bush-tucker adventures let you taste native foods; on other trips you get to meet and feed island wildlife. Day trips start from A$66 per person for a three-hour eco-orientation tour, departing daily at 11 from Nelly Bay near the taxi stand (catch the 10:30 Sunferry from the mainland). An 8½-hour sightseeing tour of the island, including its wildlife hot spots and remote and tourist areas, leaves daily at 11 am from Magnetic Harbour (A$198, including lunch and refreshments).

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