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Australia Trip Guidance Needed - Esp GBR

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Hubby and I are taking a "last-chance" vacation to Australia in late March/early April with 18-yr-old daughter before we send her off to college for vet career. Obviously, animals are "biggies" for the trip! Based upon lots of reading here, we are confident that we DO NOT want to try to cram an entire continent into the 10 days on the ground our stingy employers allow, so we are focusing on splitting our time between Sydney and GBR - we are all certified divers, although DD sometimes has compression issues so we need to keep snorkeling open as an option for her.We LOVE markets, wildlife, "funky" stuff - not too keen on museums, etc (at least with DD in tow)!
Rough plans are to spend 4 days in Sydney, including a day trip to Blue Mts and Featherdale, then fly to Cairns (or Port Douglas?) for a few GBR days before spending last full day in Sydney before flight home.
Feel relatively confident on Sydney, and plan last day on GBR portion in rainforest (need 24 hr decompression stop). The GBR portion is giving me fits however and I could use some help!
Budget is such that we looked at Lizard Island for 3 nights with a day on either end in Cairns, but I just can't stomach the idea of paying $1300 a night for a room and then tacking $700 pp on for airfare to Lizard Island! Also considered live-aboard short trip, but DD "nixxed" that (yes, she can be a pill!), so now I don't know what to do!
Suggestions? Considering Green Island, Hamilton Island, etc - but concerned about the thought of "cattle-car" diving.
Help?!

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