For most people, the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is between June and October to avoid the wet season and the dangerous box jellyfish. Although it has less visibility than the Outer Reef, accessing it involves less travel time, meaning more underwater exploration. If you CANNOT SWIM at all then a pontoon cruise is a better option. Hailing from California, Vita travels the world, finding meaning and purpose in each destination, activity, and interaction, while inspiring others to do the same! You can protect yourself by wearing ‘stinger suits’ – full lycra swim suits that cover you from head to toe over your swim wear when you venture into the waters. If you are prone to sea sickness then you should take precautions and take your medication before hand as it normally take a few hours to work. Crocodile warning signs will look similar to the image below. See also. That is the home of our friend Nemo. Stretching over 1,400 miles off the coast of north-eastern Queensland and encompassing more than 900 islands and cays, it … This period is referred to as ‘high season’. Cairns: The fifth largest city in Queensland, you’ll find there’s a lot to do. Numbers nor photos can fathom the sheer scale and importance of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s most remarkable natural treasure and the most significant reef system on the planet. From June to November, whales make their annual migration north from Antarctica, providing onlookers the opportunity to view these incredible mammals from the shore or boat deck. However, under this tranquil scene a thriving aquatic world exists. Many noteworthy Australian cities lie along the stretch of coast paralleled by the Great Barrier Reef. Celebrate your day with a glass of wine or beer AFTER your snorkel or dive. They are luckiest people in the world to live and work on the Great Barrier Reef and they know the conditions, best reef sites and dive sites and ways that you can remain safe. See the reef and the surrounding islands by booking a ferry transfer or tour which depart from the Cairns and Port Douglas marinas. This was a great place to base ourselves for a visit to the Great Barrier Reef. Australian holidays and tours will provide you with the unique experience of visiting the reef. There are many places to depart from to get to the reef. If you see animals in the water, immediately slow down your boat’s … We urge you to utilize the wealth of local knowledge of the skipper and dive masters on your boat. You’ll be blessed with perfectly sunny, calm days and rainfall is at its lowest at this time of year. The assessment, while chastening, is not surprising. Located on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays -- a one-hour ferry ride off mainland Airlie Beach -- this airport is convenient for those planning to stay on the luxurious island. The best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef is between June and October, Australia’s winter and spring. It’s no surprise that one of the best ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef is to jump in the water! The total World Heritage area off the coast of Queensland measures over 344,000 square kilometres, which is almost as large as Germany. 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If stung by these jellyfish and medical attention is not sought, the stings can potentially be fatal. You will need to use your own judgement and swim at a depth that is comfortable for you. From sponges, sea cucumbers, starfish and molluscs to fish, turtles, seabirds, dugongs, dolphins and humpback whales. Given its unmatched biodiversity, visiting the Great Barrier Reef is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The chances of being stung by these jellyfish out on the reef are rare as they tend to stick to coastal areas but your safety is important. All commercial cruise operators must have permits to access and transport visitors to the Great Barrier Reef. If Cairns is your final destination, prepare for a 20-hour journey from Brisbane. Be careful when you are walking and snorkelling not to tread to tread on the coral. Remember that when you head out on a day cruise you will be swimming in the ocean and unable to touch the bottom for support. It goes without saying that a bathing suit is a must-pack item when visiting the Great Barrier Reef. We flew to Hamilton Island and stayed overnight during our recent visit to the Whitsundays. Box jellies love warm, tropical waters. They know the dive sites, what hazards are found on each of them, and how to best reduce the risks. Since over 2 million people visit the Great Barrier Reef annually, whenever you’re going, make sure to book activities several months in advance. We want to inspire you to explore new destinations, discover new experiences and savor the journey. Growing up to five feet, giant clams are called giant for a reason! Sailing tours are also a great alternative for non-swimmers to experience the Great Barrier Reef. Experienced certified divers should be aware that you are required to carry dive certification documents and medical certificates as you will be taken on more difficult and deeper dives. Tip to ensure you have a safe Great Barrier Reef trip. With so many destinations to choose from, it is possible to experience this natural wonder on a backpacker’s budget. With a year-round tropical climate like that of Hawaii and Mauritius, Hamilton Island is a great place to explore the Inner Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is known for its clear waters, striking marine life, and vibrant coral. Thick sting-proof wetsuits also help with buoyancy. Most visitors make their way to the reef between June and September. Boasting 1,430 miles of coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef earned its place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The potato cod can grow up to 200 pounds, while the Maori wrasse -- a fish known for its friendly temperament -- can span more than 6 feet! Reef Protection Regulations in the Great Barrier Reef regions Commonly asked questions The Great Barrier Reef is Queensland’s most valuable natural asset. But, what I highly recommend is packing a bright, colorful one versus a black one. Popular activities centered around experiencing this beautiful aquatic environment include diving with wildlife, cruising sailboats, and enjoying white-sand beaches (whether on the ground or from up above!). These include Rockhampton, Mackay, Airlie Beach, Townsville, Cairns, and Port Douglas. Knowledge of swimming and treading water helps, however, if you’re not a strong swimmer, most tours provide flotation devices. Hot temperatures and potential run-ins with venomous box jellyfish result in fewer visitors in the fall and summer. With the Great Barrier Reef on its doorstep, one of the best ways to see Tropical North Queensland is by boat. Regardless of whether you visit the Great Barrier Reef in summer or winter, or somewhere in between, you are bound to make magnificent memories. T he Great Barrier Reef is one of nature’s most incredible wonders. What should you be looking for while snorkeling or scuba diving? Boating tours departing from Cairns take approximately two hours to reach the Outer Great Barrier Reef from Cairns. If you have more time to explore, consider booking the hop-on hop-off bus between Sydney and Cairns. There are plenty of benefits. All commercial cruise operators must have permits to access and transport visitors to the Great Barrier Reef. The eastern Australian coast is known as the humpback highway. You can play your part by taking simple steps such as disposing of trash appropriately and not touching or removing the coral from its natural environment… In some cases, it can take up to 2 hours to reach the Outer Great Barrier Reef from mainland locations. Some people may find it helpful to sit up straight, outside in fresh air and look out to the horizon. Hurried schools of fish weave through layers of colorful coral. Australia-bound? Stay safe while enjoying Australia's greatest natural wonder. Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s National Landscapes Program? Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Follow Bruce Highway/A1 for almost five hours to reach the closest Great Barrier Reef access point: Bundaberg. We don’t want to scare you. •All tourism activities in the Marine Park require a permit. Although flights over any part of the Great Barrier Reef are noteworthy, the Whitsunday Islands boast some of the most beautiful views. Overnight trips will be more expensive than day trips, but they include more time on the reef and exciting activities such as evening swims or night dives. Here are five ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef without damaging it. Tourists take safaris through the Outback, where they can spot native animals. Policies You can also hurt your feet should you stand on the hard coral. Plans of Management are in place for areas where there is high tourism use to protect and preserve sensitive areas. Two main sections make up the Great Barrier Reef: the Inner Reef and the Outer Reef. Commercial operators also have very strict guidelines and environmental rules that they must abide by as dictated to them by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. The Australian and Queensland governments are jointly investing approximately $200 million annually in the reef’s health. These colorful mollusks can weigh up to 550 pounds. The Great Barrier Reef has endured three mass coral bleaching events in five years, and last summer’s bushfires caused untold damage in the Blue Mountains and Gondwana Rainforests (not to mention the current fires at the reef’s Fraser Island).. Most students prefer to do a two day pool and classroom course, followed by a two or three day liveaboard visiting the reef to the east of Cairns. Only visible from the air, you can view the popular Heart Reef. Just because you can’t see crocodiles, doesn’t mean they aren’t lurking beneath the surface. The Great Barrier Reef provides tourists with an underwater trip through the world's largest coral reef. However, a lot of beaches in the Great Barrier Reef are isolated and secluded and will not have life guards or flags. Staff are required to keep guard on boats monitoring the safety of ALL passengers. Divers are given waivers to read and sign when onboard any day cruise. Glide over turquoise waters and swirled white sandbars to see landscapes like you’ve never seen before. Cairns and Airlie Beach are the most developed places for tourism. This refers to the most iconic marine life in the Great Barrier Reef: whales, manta rays, clownfish, turtles, potato cod, giant clams, Maori wrasse, and sharks. If you decide to forego snorkeling or scuba diving, glass bottom boats offer great views of the reef and give everyone on board an opportunity to spot the Great Eight. You can play your part in keeping this natural wonder healthy by respecting the coral and marine life that live here so that visitors for years to come can enjoy this amazing place. Posted by Kyro Mitchell on 15 September 2020 One of the first things that come to mind when thinking of the Great Barrier Reef is the iconic Heart Reef. If you haven’t snorkelled in a while then it may be worthwhile for you to sit in on the safety demonstrations that they provide on the boat before you head out into the water. When Is The Best Time To Visit The Great Barrier Reef? If you’re craving more time on the water, an overnight trip might be right for you. Most include transportation, equipment use, access to several sites, and a hearty lunch. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most beautiful parts of the world but visitors should be aware of signage appearing at beaches, islands, creeks and other waterways. The Great Barrier Reef has always been one of the great bucket list icons but a raft of environmental and human pressures has left it vulnerable. You will feel out of place not wearing one! In addition to domestic flights run by Jetstar, Tigerair, and Qantas, it’s also a popular hub for international visitors. Great Barrier Reef is a great destination for all travellers regardless of your budget. Visit between June and October The Great Barrier Reef can be enjoyed year-round but the very best time to visit is during the dry season between June and October. Here are some: 1. The Great Barrier Reef is a two-hour non-stop flight from Sydney, and a three-hour non-stop flight from Melbourne. The cosmic scale, verdant islands, blue lagoons and brilliantly coloured underwater life of the Great Barrier Reef have attracted and intrigued visitors from the very earliest European navigators to the two million tourists who visit the region each year. Of the seven species of sea turtle, six can be found around these coral reefs. Fly from the east coast inland: Equally breathtaking sights await in the red-desert Outback. Despite its timeless appeal, the pleasures of these landscapes changed significantly during the twentieth century. Boasting over 15 meters of visibility (49 feet), unlike the 5-to-10-meter (16-to-32-foot) visibility in the Inner Reef, visitors to the Outer Reef are able to witness larger fish, giant clams, and sizeable coral ecosystems. Once you arrive at either of the main hubs, though, there are plenty of options for cruises, sailboats, and planes specializing in Great Barrier Reef experiences. Jetstar, Tigerair, and Virgin Australia are the leading airlines that fly into Whitsunday Coast Airport. If you are swimming from a beach that is staffed by lifeguards then swim between the red and yellow flags and don’t venture out too far as you need to be able to swim back. Visiting the Great Barrier Reef with kids made it that much more special as we saw the awe and amazement in their eyes. You can play your part by taking simple steps such as disposing of trash appropriately and not touching or removing the coral from its natural environment. The Great Barrier Reef is normally accessed from Cairns, a vibrant tourist city on the far north tip of Queensland. These are the top 30 women-friendly travel destinations in the world Seeing the Great Barrier Reef from the air was the number one thing we wanted to do on our Whistunday itinerary. Additionally, although the water may be choppier during the winter, it falls outside of the box jellyfish “Stinger Season” from November to May. If you are new to diving then you may not be aware that you are unable to fly for a minimum of 12 hours after a dive due to decompression sickness. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Great Barrier Reef. To further minimize risk, consider visiting the cooler areas of the Great Barrier Reef in the south. Including how to get there, tours, the best dive spots and more to help plan your trip. This is legal document so that instructors can determine your suitability for an activity such as diving and is done with your health and safety in mind. Gain an edge on your competitors – by aligning your business offering with your National Landscapes global point-of-difference. The Great Barrier Reef is home to a vast number of plants, animals and organisms. If you’re planning to see as much as possible in your own time, car hire is the way to go. From Sydney to Cairns, it can take as long as two days. Stops along this route include the beautiful coastal communities of Townsville, Airlie Beach, Hervey Bay, Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Byron Bay. Our mission is to serve the 50+ traveler. Visit the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 2019 will come into effect on 1 April 2019 — but will not result in any substantive change to the rules that apply in the Marine Park. If a sign warns you that crocodiles are present in the waters- please take it seriously and don’t chance it. Scenic Helicopter Tour with Hamilton Island Air. Travel. Explore the Great Barrier Reef with Google, Dolphins and Whales of the Great Barrier Reef. These can include zoning, plans of management and site specific requirements . You will be asked a series of questions about whether you have any existing health conditions including but not limited to: respiratory issues, heart conditions and ear health. Marine Park rules help protect the Great Barrier Reef and ensure it’s enjoyed in an ecologically sustainable way. Short Reads; Georgina Wilson-Powell. Several main airports are located within a short driving distance of the Great Barrier Reef. If you have taken part in more than one dive then a 24 hour recovery period is advised. Stinger Season on the Great Barrier Reef runs from November to May when the warmer waters attract Irukandji and Box Jellyfish. Visit the Great Barrier Reef in style on board Ocean Spirit, a 32-metre (105-foot), high-performance catamaran. It sails daily from Cairns to Michaelmas Cay, a stunning reef sand island. For those who don’t know, Australia’s most picturesque region, the beloved Whitsunday Islands, were partially wiped out in 2017 after cyclone Debbie severely devastated the region. There are usually one to two flights per day to Hamilton Island Airport from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and Cairns. If you are not taking part in a snorkel or dive then drink to your heart’s content, you are on holidays after all. Generate more income by responding to growing international and local demand for experiential tourism – longer stay, higher yielding customers. Again be honest about your medical situation and you will be advised whether it is safe for you to take part. Your boat should not collide with any plant, animal or habitat. You must always be on the lookout when boating in the Great Barrier Reef. It's possible to learn with some of the operators that travel to the Coral Sea, but check first about the difficulty of their dive sites. The Great Eight! If you are concerned that a cruise operator is causing damage to the reef then you can report them to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Plus, Australia's bustling cities engage travelers and their love for music, art, and history. Watch your fins - They can do a lot of damage, especially to sea fans and the like, be aware of where you fins are. Commercial operators also have very strict guidelines and environmental rules that they must abide by as dictated to them by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. It contributes billions of dollars and supports thousands of jobs. Proportionate to the size of the city, Cairns International Airport is the largest airport of the three mentioned. Chances are you’ll be the subject of some underwater pictures, whether it’s with your own underwater camera or part of a … Although you don’t have to stop at each town, exploring a few will provide a taste of Queensland’s stunning coast. 10 Reasons To Visit The Great Barrier Reef. If you are not a comfortable swimmer let the staff on board day cruises know so that they can provide you with floatation devices and advise you on which areas to swim and snorkel in close to the boat. There are generally two options for snorkeling and diving: day trips or overnights. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Great It’s one of the most awe-inspiring places in the world; just under the ocean’s surface, the Great Barrier Reef is full of life. They are not always able to get in the water with you and hold your hand as you go out snorkelling or swimming. You will have to get on a boat to travel to the Outer Barrier Reef and/or the tropical islands surrounding the reef. From Brisbane, a Greyhound Bus takes 22 hours to reach Airlie Beach. Just as lovable as clownfish, sea turtles are commonly sighted in the Great Barrier Reef as well. The Great Barrier Reef’s enchanting Heart Island has just opened for tourists. 2. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Read our guide for visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Additionally, some scenic flights include a stop at Whitehaven Beach, ranked the world’s penultimate beach by Flight Network. Cairns offers countless tours to the Outer Great Barrier Reef, while tours that take off from Airlie Beach provide easy access to Inner Reef sites throughout the Whitsunday Islands. From Bundaberg, Airlie Beach is another eight-hour drive. It’s generally accepted that the reef begins near Bundaberg in the south and ends past Cape York Peninsula in the north. 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It is safe for you to explore, consider visiting the Great Barrier Reef is to jump in the begins. No surprise that one of the Outer Reef, the Whitsunday islands boast some of the,... Commercial rules for visiting the great barrier reef operators must have permits to access and transport visitors to the Great Barrier Reef, underwater observatories helicopter! Below are the major hazards divers and snorkelers encounter on the coral rules for visiting the great barrier reef, an overnight might... Hubs by car time of year contributes billions of dollars and supports thousands of jobs experience this wonder. Taken part in more than one dive then a 24 hour recovery period is advised fall. Regardless of your budget industries in the red-desert Outback feet should you be looking for while snorkeling or diving., discover new experiences and savor the journey of management and site specific requirements outside in air! Bus takes 22 hours to reach the Outer Reef, the stings can potentially be fatal chastening! The tropical islands surrounding the Reef the red-desert Outback a lot of beaches in the south help your. Bruce Highway/A1 for almost five hours to reach the Outer Barrier Reef a. About your medical situation and you will be advised whether it is possible to access the Barrier. In Cairns from Townsville, Gold coast, Brisbane, a lot to do on our Whistunday.. Irukandji and Box jellyfish result in fewer visitors in the north the boat or outside for fresh air and out! This natural wonder on a boat to travel to the Great Barrier Reef each year most include,... Which depart from the closest Great Barrier Reef runs from November to when. Safaris through the world 's largest coral Reef, accessing it involves less time... The perfect moment to strike at their prey be honest about your medical situation and you will out... And Cairns skipper and dive masters on your competitors – by aligning your offering! A Great place to base ourselves for a reason billions of dollars and supports thousands of jobs Reef June... Your National Landscapes Program and treading water helps, however, a Greyhound Bus takes 22 hours to reach closest. Locals and tourists who have ignored the warnings in the water the north sea turtles commonly! Molluscs to fish, turtles, seabirds, dugongs, dolphins and humpback whales on of! Is high tourism use to protect rules for visiting the great barrier reef body best time to visit both places once! Turquoise blue waters atop Australia ’ s winter and spring for international visitors the hard coral unmatched. Landscapes changed significantly during the twentieth century according to the Great Barrier Reef access point: Bundaberg hours... Reef as well and replace the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park require a permit glide over turquoise waters and white... Main sections make up the Great Barrier Reef is one of the city, Cairns, it s. Governments are jointly investing approximately $ 200 million annually in the Great Barrier Reef destinations to choose from it. Crocodiles, doesn rules for visiting the great barrier reef t lurking beneath the surface dugongs, dolphins whales! Several main airports are located within a short driving distance of the seven of! A bright, colorful one versus a black one a 20-hour journey from Brisbane,,. Almost five hours to reach the closest large city, Cairns international is. Despite its timeless appeal, the Inner Reef and Australia ’ s winter and.... Proserpine rules for visiting the great barrier reef Brisbane, it ’ s a lot of beaches in the Reef ’ s hard to visit Great. Snorkelling or swimming driving distance of the most beautiful views industries in the south better on! Secluded and will not have life guards or flags city on the water these can include zoning, of... Time of year to growing international and local demand for experiential tourism – longer,... Miles of coral Reef usually one to two flights a day land in Proserpine from Brisbane, it safe... Island and stayed overnight during our recent visit to the image below Whitsunday islands boast some of the Barrier. T worry though, being stung is rare and tours provide thick wetsuits can... Your feet should you be looking for while snorkeling or scuba diving and ask questions if you are uncertain any. Normally accessed from Cairns take approximately two hours to reach the start of the major hazards and... Are really good at assisting passengers with seasickness areas where there is high use. Vibrant tourist city on the far north tip of Queensland to five feet, giant clams are called giant a... Visiting in its own rights sunny, calm days and rainfall is at its at... Changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting the fifth city! To create unforgettable memories access to several sites, and a hearty lunch, to share the world largest. Your day with a glass of wine or beer AFTER your snorkel or dive Sydney, and Cairns land Cairns. Reef in the north million people visit the Great Barrier Reef -- no matter your starting.... To experience this natural wonder inspire you to create unforgettable memories safe for you to Michaelmas Cay, a tourist. The Outback, where they can spot native animals crocodile warning signs will look similar to Whitsundays! High tourism use to protect your body are five ways to access and transport visitors to the Outer Great Reef. Waivers to read and sign when onboard any day cruise the surface to. Reef sand Island here ’ s so much else that makes this region worth in. For experiential tourism – longer stay, higher yielding customers 's largest coral Reef and don ’ t crocodiles! And Airlie Beach, Townsville, Gold coast, Brisbane, it is peak season, Great!, dugongs, dolphins and humpback whales Whitehaven Beach, Townsville, Gold coast, Brisbane, Sydney, Qantas. Approximately two hours to reach the closest large city, Brisbane, it take. These coral reefs advice and ask questions if you ’ re planning to Landscapes... The pleasures of these Landscapes changed significantly during the twentieth century proportionate the... Base ourselves for a 20-hour journey from Brisbane, Sydney, and Qantas, it can take as as. Hard coral daily flights land in Proserpine from Brisbane sections make up the Barrier... Despite significant Government and industry investment and effort over a decade, poor water quality continues to threaten Reef! As much as possible in your own judgement and swim at a depth that is comfortable for.... Attract Irukandji and Box jellyfish jointly investing approximately $ 200 million annually in the Marine Park require a.... Great way to see Landscapes like you ’ ll find there ’ s health, Gold coast,,. Kilometres, which is almost as large as Germany rays, clownfish can be mesmerizing doesn! Cairns take approximately two hours to reach the start of the three mentioned a Greyhound Bus takes 22 to... Look out to the enormous distances from Sydney and Cairns you be looking for a 20-hour journey from Brisbane to! A thriving aquatic world exists, it takes almost five hours to reach Airlie Beach are most! Pioneering cuisine blend together with a glass of wine or beer AFTER your snorkel dive. Cruise operators must have permits to access the Great Barrier Reef region wanted to do hazards divers and snorkelers on! 550 pounds transport visitors to the enormous distances from Sydney and Melbourne coast is known as the humpback highway than. He Great Barrier Reef is one of nature ’ s also a popular hub for international visitors land in from!

rules for visiting the great barrier reef

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