With global warming, the world’s coral reefs are threatened. I wanted to see the Great Barrier Reef while it was still in reasonably good shape. After visiting Sydney and (somewhat) recovering from jetlag, we flew to Cairns and then drove to Port Douglas. From there, we accessed the Reef in three places. We also went to the end of the road to the north and visited the Daintree Tropical Forest.
Then we started driving south, ultimately driving over 1,000 miles to Brisbane (about the distance from Seattle to Los Angeles or New York City to Orlando). We stopped in Townsville and spent a week on Magnetic Island, snorkeling, hiking and enjoying the exotic, tropical birds. From there we went to Airlie Beach and another cruise to the outer Barrier Reef. Then, the long drive to Gladstone and a return to the outer Barrier Reef, this time to Heron Island. We spent a couple of days in Noosa and then on to Brisbane and returned through Sydney.
The two island stays were the highlights of our visit to the Reef. Magnetic has a wonderful, relaxed, laid-back feeling. It is easy to visit a dozen beaches, snorkel reefs, and hike to panoramic views. The small island of Heron is surrounded by the reef and offers spectacular snorkeling.
Below are all the posts and photos for the five week trip.