Brisbane & Great Barrier Reef

Old May 20th, 2009, 09:54 PM
  #1  
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Brisbane & Great Barrier Reef

Hello. I am planning a 5 night trip to Brisbane & would like to try to fit in a trip to do a snorkel/dive trip (2 divers, 2 snorkelers). Is it possible to do this as a side trip from Brisbane or should we rent a car and travel north and spend a day or two in another city. I actually like the idea of driving up the coast and staying in one or two of the smaller cities but am not sure which would be best. I have been to Cairns before and was hoping to explore another area while still experiencing the reef. Any suggestions on where to stay or who to use for a dive/snorkel trip? We are 4 adventurous girls in our early 30s.

Thanks in advance!
~Crystal
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:17 AM
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I'd like to say The Whitsundays, but if you only have 5 days total that will be difficult.
74 islands, Great Barrier Reef, and a perfect setting in Airlie Beach for misconduct with a vibrant nightlife.
Direct flights from Brisbane daily via Jetstar and Virgin Blue to Proserpine Airport.
It's an amazing place. cheers airlian
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Old May 21st, 2009, 11:53 AM
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I have stayed in port douglas when i have gone and have enjoyed it. it's smaller than cairnes.

there are many operators who do day snorkling trips to the reef from there--

i hav no idea how long it would take to drive from brisbane.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 05:22 PM
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Don't even think about driving from Brisbane to Cairns - it's a 1706 km road trip (if you're American, that's 1060 miles) and much of the trip is inland, requiring diversions from the highway to see coastal towns. To drive such a distance comfortably would take 6 days there and back. Flying is the only sensible option, and even then you'd really have to take 2 days and a night (as a minimum) out of your Brisbane time.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 06:44 PM
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The nearest Barrier Reef island to Brisbane, which is also the most southern on reef, is Lady Elliot. www.ladyelliot.com.au
Flights from Brisbane, Maroochydore, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg, detailed on website.

The drive from Brisbane to Hervey Bay is not too onerous, about 4-5 hours, from Hervey Bay you also have easy access to Fraser Island, not a Barrier Reef island but well worth a visit. It seems you would have time to combine both Lady Elliot and Fraser.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 06:34 PM
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Just to put my 2cents in. We just drove to Hervey Bay for a wedding. We live 'in' the city and it took us 3.5 hours to get there, we left about 8am on a Friday morn. Hope it helps.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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Thanks so much for your help. I think we will gradually make our way up there. Does anyone know which would be a better stop to stay a night or two: Agnes Waters/1770 or Hervey Bay?
We would like to visit both Fraser Island & Lady Elliot.

~Crystal
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Old May 26th, 2009, 10:06 AM
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To me combining Lady Elliot and Fraser in 5 days seems a bit squeezed if you count the time needed driving back and forth from Brisbane. In practice you will only have 3 full days - not a lot when you consider that Fraser is a huge island with lots to see. Though I havent been, the things I hear about the accommodations and meals on Lady Elliot are not so great. If that matters to you, you could consider Heron Island, which is a similar reef island but more upmarket than LE. Getting to Heron means driving to Gladstone, about 6 hrs from Brisbane. But I know from 1st hand experience that 3-4 nights on Heron would be a really amazing experience.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 07:34 PM
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Crystal, hope you realise Fraser Island is a sand island close to mainland and not for snorkelling or diving. I suggested Lady Elliot as its closest coral cay to Brisbane and had the idea that you would be staying on mainland with day trip(s) for snorkelling and diving. If that's the case the accommodation on Lady Elliot wouldn't be of any concern.

From Hervey Bay you'll have access to both Lady Elliot and Fraser island, Town of 1770/Agnes Waters is very scenic (most northerly surfing beach on Queensland east, nearby
coast) Lady Musgrave Island has a coral lagoon, no accommodation on this island except for camping.

For distances and driving times see www.racq.com.au/travel/trip_planner
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