Great Barrier Reef in January?

Nov 15th, 2006, 06:49 PM
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Great Barrier Reef in January?

I'm still thinking about this. I seem to have read somewhere that this may not be the season for GBR, and I keep changing my mind about whether I'm going to visit. Now I'm thinking that I should visit.

Is this a good idea?

How's Hamilton Island? I gather there're direct flights on Jetstar. My initial thinking was to fly into Cairns, but now I'm thinking maybe Hamilton is better. The guidebooks I'm reading seem very vague about GBR. I wonder why this is the case? I looked at Lonely Planet and Eyewitness.

111op is offline  
Nov 15th, 2006, 08:57 PM
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January is during the wet season, so temps will be a little hotter (low 30s C), and afternoon thundershowers are commonplace. Still, it would be a good thing to do.

Hamilton Island is part of the Whitsunday Island group, which is just offshore from Airlie Beach; the GBR proper is much farther seaward. It will take a fast boat an hour to get from Hamilton to the GBR. Personally, I am not that fond of Hamilton Island. Yes, it is easy to get to, having a full airport on the island. The accomodations are mostly high-rise hotels, and the roads are crowded with tourists running around in rented golf carts. There is certainly lots to do here, but I would prefer to stay on one of the neighboring islands, which will be much quieter. I really like the Whitsundays, but keep in mind that they are not strictly part of the GBR reef system. You can have a great time and then head out to the reef once or twice for diving/snorkeling, etc.

The GBR is much closer to the mainland further north, off Cairns, so it is easier to get out to the reef from shore. There are far more choices for boat tours out to various reef locations, and prices will tend to be less. There is also a greater choice of non-reef choices in the Cairns area, compared to the Whitsundays.

ALF is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 03:30 AM
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Thanks. Since I don't have much time, would Hamilton be "good enough"? Or is Cairns really a better choice? An hour by fast boat from Hamilton doesn't sound so bad to me. Also Cairns is further north, so the flight would take longer and is more expensive (I think?).

I only have three days or so, and I'm not planning to dive -- and maybe not even snorkel. Why do then? I figured that since I'll be in Australia, I should try to see it.

Thanks again!

111op is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2006, 06:50 AM
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I did a three day boat tour out of Airlie around the Whitsundays (there are a variety of day tours too) and I loved it. I did my first ever snorkel here and the reef is fabulous. I can't comment on Hamilton and have heard mixed reports, but if you do choose this route, you simply have to have a little snorkel! And Whitehaven Beach is divine for a trip, especially around Hills Inlet.
Heidi_Mo is offline  
Nov 24th, 2006, 04:53 PM
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111op - just because Cairns, which is a hub, is further north than Hamilton Island doesn't mean flights are more expensive. You don't say where you're flying from but I can see a January one way Jetstar fare from Brisbane to Hamilton for AU$139; Brisbane to Cairns is less at AU$124.

January is main holiday season in Australia, and all states have school holidays then, so I'd be booking accommodation pretty soon.
pat_woolford is offline  
Nov 27th, 2006, 11:18 AM
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Hi, I'm looking to fly from Adelaide or Sydney, probably the latter. I think that I'll have to decide this week. The cheapest flights are mostly gone already.

I'm flying to Taipei first and then going to Sydney from Taipei. Just found out that I've now confirmed reservations on the return flight from Australia, so I can start planning.

I know that one man's meat is another's poision, but after reading guidebooks, I still have no clue as to what's best for GBR. Could someone give me a dummy's rundown? How would I get to Airlie Beach, for example?

The time frame is Jan. 6-9. I'll be flying on the 6th, and I must return before my evening flight to Taipei on Jan. 9.

Thanks again!
111op is offline  
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