Advice for Cairns/Daintree/GBR

Old Oct 28th, 2008, 04:43 AM
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Advice for Cairns/Daintree/GBR

My girlfriend and I are honeymooning in Australia. We fly into Cairns on the 14th of November and then head off to Alice Springs on the 22nd.

I'm really excited to dive the GBR, but my girlfriend is terrified of sharks--its all I can do to convince her to try snorkeling! Is there an island we could stay at accessible from Cairns that would accommodate both of us? Or should we just stay on the mainland (and where?)?

Also looking to spend a few days in Daintree and looking for recommendations on where to stay and what to do.

Thanks!
Jen
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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 05:33 AM
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Sharks are the least of your concern, its crocodiles we have to worry about up here! Just kidding, sharks not a problem on parts of reef you'll be visiting and crocs are easily avoidable with proper attention and care elsewhere. Strongly suggest that the very first thing you do if in Cairns is go to Reef Teach, open every evening (except Sundays) from 6.30pm, this will give you answers on everything you need to know about a reef trip and give you so much insight on GBR from experts. Reef Teach has no vested interest in any commercial reef trip and is totally unbiased.

The closest coral cay island with resort accommodation to Cairns is Green Island, not the outer reef, but trips can be taken from GI out to it. But there's heaps of day trips from mainland, mostly from Cairns and Port Douglas and a couple from Cape Tribulation north of Port Douglas.

It would be a shame to miss the Atherton Tablelands, November is a great month there for wildlife and for accommodation there and Daintree area see www.bnbnq.com.au - many of these properties have wildlife on site and all the operators have local knowledge to give you the best advice on their areas.

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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 07:07 AM
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Yes, was thinking Green Island myself if in your budget and exchange rate ought to make it easier - http://www.greenislandresort.com.au/

Fitzroy Island is also a great island to visit too, been undergoimg a redevelopment there and still not open again re staying there but a day trip is also not so bad.

As Pat says, sharks are not really an issue in shallower tropical waters, perhaps some harmless black tip reef sharks about and if you think of all the other fish you see, there's plenty of more tasty more natural tucker about for them.

Humidity will already be on the increase and an island stay may offer some relief, another alternative being boats - http://www.thetourspecialists.com/tours-reef.html and accomodation there too but whatever you do, I would only book your first couple of nights and check out what offers are available as you could find some good packages this time of year not shown on sites.

A great budget place up daintree way or a bit further right at Cape Tribulation and you will be right in the rainforest is www.capetribbeach.com.au
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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 09:21 AM
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Just to clarify: I'm not worried about sharks, but my girlfriend has a completely irrational phobia that prevents her from diving (and maybe even snorkeling--TBD). Even vegetarian sharks give her the heebie jeebies.

So I'm looking for some ideas of places where I can dive but she'll have plenty of other fun stuff to occupy her.
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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 01:58 PM
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dblstrength...I was in North Queensland this past July and had a fantastic time. I suggest you look at my trip report for some ideas...

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...3&tid=35147730

Green Island may be convenient and all, but the best reef experience will be from a boat on the outer reef. We did Rum Runner from Cape Trib this year..perhaps the best Barrier Reef trip I've done among several.
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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 02:50 PM
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Jen,
Wht are your girlfriend's interests? Would she even enjoy a glass bottom boat or semisubmersable trip, lazing on a beach? If not take day out on the outere reef for yourself and leave her to shop, wander the parks or visit a zoo.

I endorse Pat's comments about the Atherton Tablelands.
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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 04:48 PM
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Agree with Saltuarius, sounds like with your girlfriend's shark phobia you'd be better with a reef operator with a semi-submersible. Your girlfriend will be able to have a good up-close look at marine life, without getting wet and you can dive. The pontoon owned by
Reef Magic on Moore Reef out of Cairns is moored on a superb reef site, both for divers and snorkellers, has semi-sub and glass bottom boat and takes less passengers than other pontoon based operators. It also has an underwater viewing platform from pontoon, but no guarantees the odd small and harmless reef shark won't make an appearance.

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Old Oct 29th, 2008, 01:56 AM
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Don't suppose we want to start a new trend of separate honeymoons do we!!!
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Old Oct 30th, 2008, 03:17 PM
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If money is no object, you might want to look at Lizard Island resort for a few days. I have only been there on a day trip, but the reviews have been good (although it will by HOT in Nov.) DW can sit on the beach or laze by the pool and you can go diving, or perhaps she'd be enticed by the lovely Clam Garden for snorkeling, you snorkel right near the shore and over the coral so any thoughts of sharks fly out of your head while you are amazed at the fabulous life under the water. Since the snorkeling is in a protected bay and near the shore, I hope your DW would be happier than jumping into deep water out on the reef. I'm trying to remember if we even saw any harmless sharks in several day trips and during a 3 day liveaboard near Lizard and I don't think we ever did. Good luck! Irrational fears are the pits and sometimes one just has to go for it. There are several inspiring stories of people here recently who overcame fears of the water and loved snorkeling--but it will have to be her decision.
Sally in Seattle
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