HELP! Tangalooma, Hamilton Island,...Resorts??

Old Jan 8th, 2005, 09:29 AM
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HELP! Tangalooma, Hamilton Island,...Resorts??

Hello all!

I need help- I have 4/3 nights that I want to spend this July in a resort on the coast. I was considering flying to Hamilton Island and staying there- or taking the ferry to the Tangalooma resort. I am open for any other suggestions. I would like to snorkle, check out aussie wildlife. I will be in Brisbane for a conference first- so I need to originate from that point.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!
ladyleah is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2005, 10:12 AM
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I've been to Tangalooma, in July as a matter of fact. It's a former whaling station. Highlights were going on a whale watch boat (and we were not at all disappointed!), the dolphin feeding and the sand tobogganing. Weather was OK, highs in the low 70s. Barely beach weather. Tangalooma is on Moreton Island, a big sand island, just a boat ride out of Brisbane. All in all, I'd say you could do better (especially if you want to snorkel). Fraser Island, a few hours drive to the north is also a sand island, but offers a lot more to see and do. Its fresh water lakes and rainforest are beautiful...Moreton does not have these. But again, since it is not on the Barrier Reef, the snorkeling on Fraser will not be that good.

I haven't been to Hamilton Island, nor do I have any plans to go there. It is the most commercialized of Queensland's Islands, complete with high rises on the beach. Fine for some, but not my cup of tea. It is close to the Barrier Reef, but the good snorkeling is still a long boat ride away.

Best resort islands for snorkeling are Lady Elliot, Heron and Lizard, in acsending order of cost and luxury. Lady Elliot and Heron are closer to Brisbane, about 4-6 hrs drive north. Lizard is in the Far North. I've been to Heron in July several times and have totally enjoyed it. Look back through recent posts for a review of the Heron resort. Nesting birds are absolutely not a consideration in July.

When in Brisbane, do not miss the opportunity to go to Lamington National Park, e.g. O'Reillys. You'll see Aussie wildlife for sure, plus rainforest and great views. Stop at the alpaca farm and associated cafe on the way back from O'Reilly's around dusk...lovely views and I'll guarantee you will see kangaroos coming out to feed in the field.

There are lots of other great places to see in the greater Brisbane area...you could easily spend all your time there and not be disappointed at all!

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Old Jan 8th, 2005, 12:45 PM
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All the islands on the southern end of the GBR will be too cold in July. It is just as easy to fly to Cairns and get really good weather as it is to go to the Whitsundays.
Hamilton is not the choice in the Whitsundays really and just about any of the others are preferable. However it is an entry point to the Whitsundays and you don't have to stay there.
Go further up north to Cairns and get some really nice weather and plenty of choices for reef visits.
Tangalooma will be far too cold as will Fraser and Lady Elliot.
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Old Jan 8th, 2005, 02:35 PM
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Liz is flat out wrong. Too cold for her perhaps, but the southern GBR islands remain very popular and are very do-able in July. I know this from repeated first hand experience. Expect daytime highs well into the 70s F. Water is a bit cool. For extended snorkels, a shorty wetsuit will do the job nicely, and you can rent these anywhere.
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Old Jan 8th, 2005, 03:19 PM
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Author: RalphR
Date: 01/08/2005, 05:35 pm
Message: Liz is flat out wrong.

Ralph, I don't know where you get off but as I lived in the Bundaberg area for 18 years I may have a tad bit more knowledge than you AND I have no drum to beat about any of the GBR. I just like people to know exactly what is and what is not the case in any given area so that they are not disappointed when they get there.
Right up the Queensland coast to Mackay which is near the Whitsunday Islands the temperature gets down to 41 F and that, dear Ralph, is far to cold to enjoy swimming in my book and that of many other people. It most certainly is too cold for Fraser island fresh water lake swimming and why on earth if you come all the way to Australia would you take half measures when you can go to Cairns or Port Douglas and have great conditions, warm water and wonderful surroundings?
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Old Jan 8th, 2005, 10:39 PM
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Hey guys, I was swimming right through winter in Hervey Bay, with the water temp's around 19 degrees celius. The locals thought I was mad, and said they wait until it reaches 26 degrees. I think I wore shorts & t-shirt the whole time through winter, whilst the locals wore trousers, jumpers, and even beanies to keep their head warm....perhaps I haven't acclimatised yet.
Hey LIz, saw a beautiful dugong swimming along the beach, about 10 metres out from the swimmers, what a beautiful sight. Also my nephew visited, and flew on one the small aicraft on Fraser Island, and he was excited about the large number of manta rays in the water around the island.
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 06:57 AM
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I seem to remember that we were told there is no swimming off the beaches of Fraser Island because of sharks. Only thing we saw while there were people casting for fish off the beach.
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 07:21 AM
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Liz, why don't you come over here to the USA and tell us Americans not to go to Florida in the winter? Heck, Florida is even further from the equator than the southern GBR. I dare say 41F in the Whitsundays must be a pretty rare event. Just like snow in Florida. Which does happen from time to time....but that doesn't stop people from going there by the droves. Maybe you ought to set them straight, Liz.

If I could post pictures here of me and my family on Heron, Fraser and Brampton Islands in July, I surely would....you could see just how freezing we actually were.

Sure, if there was a resort island equivalent to Heron Island in the Far North, I'd say go for it. But the fact of the matter is there is not such a place. Unless you want to fork out the big $ for Lizard Island, Heron Island is the logical alternative. The weather will likely be wonderful and if you think the water is a little cool, rent a shorty. You still have the GBR at your doorstep, which the vast majority of islands lack.
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 07:40 AM
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Thank you all so far for the helpful info. I am now looking into flying to Cairns and checking things out there for a few days. All opinions are still welcome!
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 12:55 PM
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Ralph, my Grandparents came from Conn. and I lived for 2 years in Edmonton Alberta and I know that you people from those climates think that anything above freezing is OK. But to my mind the tropics is the tropics and there are many places where you can snorkle, scuba and swim around the northern parts of the GBR, without the expense of Lizard, which is in pleasant and warm waters without the added factor of the westerly winds giving the place a wind chill factor of minus 10. Sure it might not happen that often but it does happen and if someone has booked a resort for that week when it is dreadful there is no turning back.
Troppo I will bet that next winter you will not be swimming because you will have become used to the climate and be knitting bulky sweaters by then.
You lucky bugger Trop seeing a dugong there in the water. I have seen them but only from a distance and that is not good enough really. I have swum on top of a manta ray though which was fun and I have seen more sting rays than anywhere else in the world at 1770 when I used to go there before it was anything but a beach hut place. The owner of all that land around there had a hut which we used to use and he would come over and play poker at night with us. We would burn cow dung to keep away the sandflies and mozzies and cook fresh prawns, crab and eat fresh oysters, cook up a form of Australian fish soup alla french style, drink beer and loose money at poker and have a wonderful time. You could hear the sting rays flapping in the water at low tide there at night. Now that is real 5 star stuff....NOT.
Ladyleah, if you get on one of the websites for flights i.e.
www.qantas.com.au
www.virginblue.com.au
www.jetstar.com.au
you can check timetables and costs for flights to Cairns. Pat, who writes on this forum and lives in Cairns, can tell you the best places to see and go to and you will have a wonderful time.
I cannot remember the name of the Company but there is a boat which takes about 28 people I think, from Cairns to Townsville out to the best of the coral reefs, cays and islands and is a terrific trip I believe from friends of mine who have done it. Perhaps that would appeal to you.
Cheers Liz
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Old Jan 9th, 2005, 11:37 PM
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I'm from Brisbane and I see RalphR has posted a pretty comprehensive response. He's pretty spot on, so I'd listen to his advice if I were you
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Old Jan 10th, 2005, 12:10 AM
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...I then read Liz' response. What an argument brewing between those two! To set matters straight, I've lived in Brisbane for 35 years so I know what I'm talking about. It is too cold to swim around Brisbane in July, so if I were you I would rule Tangalooma out. The best reefs I have found for snorkelling existed out from Airlie Beach, near Green Island. The outer ribbon reefs near Agincourt Reef out from Port Douglas can get rough in bad weather, so I'd stick to Airlie if I were you. This also isn't as far to travel from Brisbane as Cairns.

From Airlie Beach you can also visit Hook Island, which is marvellous. Do avoid Daydream Island as it is just a resort on a piece of land and not too tempting for an authentic experience. Hamilton is for the rich and honeymooners, so it depends on how much you can afford to spend. If I were you, I'd head north to Airlie Beach and then catch a yacht (they have tours for a couple nights available departing from there) to the reef for snorkelling.

July is the ideal time to go north in Queensland, as there are fewer jellyfish in the water and less mosquitos and flies. The temperature averages around 24 in July up there, whereas in Brisbane it hangs around 9-17 degrees celsius. In the Australian summer (Dec-Feb) it is too hot to go up north for most foreigners. If you need any more help, just ask Hope this is of some assistance.

If you want an authentic wildlife experience, somewhere like O'Reilly's would be perfect (as suggested by Ralph). Also, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast. Lone Pine Sanctuary has koalas etc and is located in the western suburbs of Brisbane, around 15 min drive from the city centre.
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