Sydney to Great Barrier Reef

Aug 28th, 2004, 12:13 PM
  #1  
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Sydney to Great Barrier Reef

Trying to plan a trip from Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef, was wondering how long it takes to get there, how easy it is, and how long is needed at the Great Barrier Reef...

Thanks in advance...
Eric
ericjudka is offline  
Aug 28th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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Hello Eric,

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is 2300 km (1,430 miles) long. Although the entire GBR is beautiful, I think it generally is agreed that the sea life is more prolific, and therefore more colourful, the further north in the GBR one goes.

In the thread below, I gave Jerome (jdmacht) a quick run down of what there is to do in Far North Queensland, the area around Cairns / Palm Cove / Port Douglas, which is one of the most popular jumping off points for seeing the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...3&tid=34523594

Jerome had only 4 days to spend in FNQ. Had he had an extra day, I would have highly recommended an overnight trip to the Undara Lava Tubes.

A non-stop flight from Sydney to Cairns takes about 3 hours.

To complicate matters, people sometimes choose not to use the mainland as a base for seeing the GBR, but rather choose to stay on an island. There is a variety of islands from which to choose. They vary in price from a few of them that offer budget accommodation to sumptuous resorts with upscale prices to match.

Here is a website about Queensland's islands:

http://www.queenslandislands.com/

In terms of Fodors posts, the best introduction to the reefs and islands is contained in Tropo's post entitled, "Clarification about the Great Barrier Reef" at

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...3&tid=34522103

Hope that helps.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 29th, 2004, 03:18 PM
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Judy inCalgary, the corals on the southern Great Barrier Reef are the same as those in the northern barrier reef, and just as colourful. Have you visited the pristine reefs on the southern Great Barrier Reef?
tropo is offline  
Aug 29th, 2004, 03:51 PM
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Hello Tropo,

I've been to Agincourt Reef with Quicksilver from Port Douglas, and also have done some snorkeling in the corals around a couple of the Whitsunday Islands. That was part of a cruise, and I can't remember which islands they were.

I didn't find the other sea life (fishes, giant clams, etc.) to be as prolific where I was snorkeling in the Whitsundays as they had been at Agincourt Reef.

I did get a bird's eye view of the Whitsundays and the GBR by going on a plane ride from Airlie Beach. From that vantage point the GBR in that region certainly was spectacular.

I don't know how the Whitsundays are classified as far as a north - south division of Queensland's islands are concerned. They're sort of central, I guess, or maybe marginally in the northern half.

But I wasn't basing my summary on my personal experience of the Whitsundays. First of all the Whitsundays aren't exactly parallel with the southern GBR, and secondly I wouldn't base a comment on a couple of islands near which I snorkeled, as I realise they may not have been representative of the region as a whole.

What I based my comment on was earlier comments by other posters who apparently had been to both the southern and northern GBR and who claimed that the fish were more prolific in the north.

If I gave Eric an erroneous impression, I'm sorry, and thanks for setting me straight.

Another advantage of the northern GBR is that, if a person is unfamiliar with tropical rainforests, the Daintree forest really is fascinating in my opinion.

I loved the vegetation that grew on the Whistunday Islands, I loved the temperate rainforests in the Dandenongs east of Melbourne, I loved the mixed forests and woodlands that covered the Blue Mountains. Drier environments, like deserts and semi-deserts are interesting in their own way too.

All that said, to the person who has never seen it before, there is something very special about the Daintree, IMO.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Aug 29th, 2004, 05:47 PM
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ericdjucka - what month of the year are you planning? This can make quite a difference to which part of GBR you visit - there's quite a climatic difference between southern and northern extremities. The further north you travel the closer the reef is to the mainland and around the Cairns/Port Douglas area you have two World Heritage areas abutting - the GBR and Wet Tropics, of which, as Judy says, Daintree is quite unique.
pat_woolford is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 02:33 PM
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Judy, no worries, a common mistake by overseas tourists, is that they often compare coral reefs on the GBR to those reefs on continental islands, such as Hayman, or Hamilton Island, which are generally much poorer in comparison to the Great Barrier Reef.
I take it you haven't visited the southern Great Barrier Reef, which starts about 400 kms north of Brisbane, is further out from the coast, hence less tourists, but is still pristine and as colourful as the northern counterparts. Some of the best reefs are in the Swain Reefs (a group which most tourists never hear of & which are a long way out from the coast) They are mainly privy to sportfishermen, or 3 day dive tours. In addition, there are pristine & colourful reefs on the coral cay islands of Capricorn/Bunker Group, just our from Bundaberg/Agnas Waters/Gladstone regions.
The mainland islands or continental islands, such as Hamilton Island, etc, come under the "Great Barrier Reef Marine Park" authority, but are not considered to be part of the GBR, as people come to expect. Hamilton Island is covered by a Conversation Zone by the authority.
tropo is offline  
Aug 30th, 2004, 04:42 PM
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I like that tropo - Conversation Zone! We could all go to Hamilton and have a nice chat!
pat_woolford is offline  
Aug 31st, 2004, 08:52 AM
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Judy: I've been out to the reef at various locations over the years. From what I've seen, differences between the northern and southern stretches of the GBR are quite subtle and, in my opinion, should not be a consideration in choosing where on the reef to go. For example, Heron Island (on the southern end of the reef) is a fabulous snorkeling/diving destination no matter how you cut it.


RalphR is offline  
Aug 31st, 2004, 01:17 PM
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Pat, I should preview my replies before I post, shouldn't I? Sorry, you no doubt realise I meant "Conservation Zone", but it would be fun if it was a conversation zone!!
Hey, Pat, its raining here at the moment, which is great for the lawns & farmers. I don't think it will continue much longer, a pity, we need the rain.
Funny thing happened yesterday, I was windsurfing just off Urangan, and a turtle popped up in front of me, I was lucky I didn't hit it. It certainly did dive quickly when it saw me coming. The locals tell me, that you have to be careful not to hit any dugongs. You know I have never seen one, I wonder how big they get?
tropo is offline  
Aug 31st, 2004, 03:44 PM
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Hi - glad to hear you've had some rain down there. Dugongs or sea-cows are an endangered species growing up to about 3 metres and weighing up to 400kg. They feed on sea-grass, nearest relative is manatee found in Florida, Caribbean, South America. They're often in the channel between Cardwell and Cooktown and Cow Bay in the Daintree takes its name from the seacow. Aboriginal people may still hunt them if they use traditional methods but otherwise they're a protected species.
pat_woolford is offline  
Aug 31st, 2004, 03:45 PM
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Sorry, I meant channel between Cardwell and Hinchinbrook Island, not Cooktown. Must learn to use preview button, too.
pat_woolford is offline  
Sep 1st, 2004, 01:33 PM
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Pat, thanks for the information, I really appreciate it. I did find out from a local, that dugongs are common in wide bay, something to do with the sea grass that grows, and which they feed on. I must keep my eye for one.
tropo is offline  
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