Great Barrier Reef - snorkeling from the beach

Old Jun 10th, 2002, 01:32 PM
  #1  
Peter
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Great Barrier Reef - snorkeling from the beach

I'm planning a trip to the Great Barrier Reef in October. I've been snorkeling all over the world. The Holy Grail is to be able to wade in from the beach and be snorkeling on killer reef. No boats (or tours, $, other tourists) involved. Is there a good place to do this in Queensland? Is it possible at all? Should I be looking to stay in Port Douglas, or should I go to an island? Which one? Or should I just give up and accept that I have to get on a boat tour? Thanks for any advice,

peter
 
Old Jun 10th, 2002, 05:14 PM
  #2  
Deloris
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Peter
2 years ago we did the Palm Cove stay and Quicksilver boat to the "reef" only to find it rough and cloudy and I got sea sick. We are going back this fall and this time stay on an island. If the water gets rough...no problem! Those boats are over crowded (300+) and it takes over 2 1/2 hours each going and returning to spend 3 hours on a pontoon over some coral. Big deal. See the Palm Cove area and Daintree forest, but don't swim at the beach near a river outlet because that's where the crockodiles swim too! That's why you want to do your diving and snorkling on an island out of the way of crocks but not necessarily sharks!
 
Old Jun 11th, 2002, 01:18 PM
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Peter
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yikes! sharks I can deal with. no experience with crocs, though.

thanks for your reply. sounds like I want to be looking at an island. any recommendations?
 
Old Jun 11th, 2002, 04:07 PM
  #4  
joed
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You have to stay on an island on the GBR to be able to go out and snorkel. If you stay in NQLD on the mainland you need to take a boat. Depending on price the best island for quick room to beach snorkeling is Lizard (way expensive but awesome- went there last month), Orpheus (also pretty expensive), Heron (very tiney island - four football fields)- moderate pricing or Lady Elliot - very cheap (lousy rooms though) but awesome snorkelling.
 
Old Jun 11th, 2002, 05:05 PM
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Jacqui
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I have stayed at Orpheus Island and had to go out in a boat for the good snorkelling mainly due to the tides and distance of reef from the shore.

Lizard Island may be an option. Believe you still have to take a boat from most of the other Island resorts to get on the reef.
 
Old Jun 11th, 2002, 06:24 PM
  #6  
John
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BY the sounds of it you are looking for a genuine coral cay.
The cays (with accommodation) on the reef include Green,Heron,Lady Musgrave,Lady Elliot.
Do a search under these names for further info.
 
Old Jun 12th, 2002, 05:25 AM
  #7  
Jacqui
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I wouldn't go to Green Island - too many daytrippers from Cairns and the snorkelling wasn'tthat good!

Lonely Planet do a book on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Might be worth atleast a browse in a bookshop
 
Old Jun 12th, 2002, 05:49 PM
  #8  
Patti
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Hi - we stayed at Palm Cove and went out to Green Island on a Green Island boat. It took about 45 minutes and the island was NOT loaded with Cairns people - it was pretty sparse - lots of room to snorkel. There is a hotel there but I don't know if the name of it. If I go back (and I will) I think we'll try Port Douglas. Nothing was really expensive cause the American dollar went twice as far. The hotel tour desks assisted us with every cruise and trip and we were very pleased. We stayed at the Novatel Palm Cove and it was great. I think I'd like to see Port Douglas cause everyone recommended it including Bill Clinton.
 
Old Sep 1st, 2002, 01:32 PM
  #9  
Snorkeler
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Actually, there are many places on earth to snorkel right off your hotel beach- Hawaii has several beachs that fit that description- as do Tahiti and the Maldives where every resort is on it's own island and many are surrounded by reefs. Good luck. We took a day trip from Palm Cove on a boat and it was one of the best things I ever did as a tourist anywhere- and I go lots of places!
 
Old Sep 1st, 2002, 03:58 PM
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Linda
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We stayed on Heron Island in 2001. The resort is all inclusive and the food is excellent. You can snorkel off the beach but don't see much. The dive boat goes out twice a day (about AUD$15) per time, morning or afternoon. We were amazed by the reef, sharks, rays, turtles, fish etc etc. The mutton birds and terns nest on Heron so it can be noisy. I've read compalints about the birds on this site but we loved it there.
 
Old Sep 5th, 2002, 12:16 PM
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x
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Linda, can you snorkel off these dive boats, or do you have to dive? Can you see as much sealife by snorkelling or diving? Thanks!
 
Old Sep 9th, 2002, 09:37 AM
  #12  
topper
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ttt
 
Old Sep 9th, 2002, 05:56 PM
  #13  
Linda
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I think they run separate boats for divers and snorkellers as everyone on 'our' boat snorkelled. Must just call them all dive boats to boost the snorkeller's confidence! I cannot recommend it highly enough. We had only snorkelled in Mexico prior to this trip and expected it to be better at Heron. But it really was fantastic. The coral is beautiful, the colours so vivid. Reef sharks, huge turtles, rays etc swimming around under you. The 'dive' boats go out twice a day as long as it isn't too windy and go to several different locations so it is always a bit different. On the days we went out there were about 8-10 people on the boat so it is a nice small group and the trip to the reef is quite short. It was a great week.
 
Old Sep 10th, 2002, 10:38 AM
  #14  
oztravel
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You cannot dive the coast of NQLND. It rains too much and the rivers bring too much sediment to the beaches for snorkeling and for coral to blossom. The only way is to stay on an island. Heron and Lizard are probably the best for what you described. I stayed at Lizard but it's too expensive for most people and had the exact experience that you described. They even let us take out motorized dinghy's to explore other beaches.
 
Old Sep 10th, 2002, 01:46 PM
  #15  
rad
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just got back from a trip, i took the big cat because my wife doestn snorkel but the kids and i had a blast snorkelling off the beach, and dont sell green island short because there are 2 sides one for the novices and another for the adventurers. it was cool saw lots of coral and fishies, cool colors too.
 
Old Sep 22nd, 2002, 04:30 PM
  #16  
caro
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Hi there,
Whilst I am glad that you enjoyed your trip to Green Island, bear in mind that you dont have the benefit of comparison. I recently spoke to a teacher from melbourne Grammar School. Her students had the benefit of comparison. She took her students to Green Island to show them a high impact reef. She then took them to Low Isles and then the Great Barrier Reef. She said the students were horrified by the condition of the coral at Green Island, and it was by far the worst reef that they saw during the trip. The marine land melanesia on Green Island has turtles in a pool- which are fed DOG FOOD!
I would hate to think visitors to our country would leave thinking that Green Island was the best the region has to offer reef wise!
Cheers
caro
 
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