Last Updated: 27th Feb 2013
by – Tash, Tour Manager, Australia and Europe
You cannot come to Australia and NOT visit the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, composed of roughly 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for 2,600 kilometres (1,616 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (132,974 sq mi).
The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia. The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms.
You may have noticed that Contiki offers 2 different Reef trips as optional excursions.
One trip is in Cairns, the other in the Whitsundays. The reef operators we use offer similar reef experiences but obviously visit different parts of the reef. They are both full days and are fully inclusive – with your boat ride out to the reef, morning/afternoon tea and buffet lunch, snorkeling equipment, semi submersible and glass bottom boat rides inclusive in the cost.
You will be amazed at the diversity of the marine life, coral and with the expertise of the marine biologists and staff on board – you will learn some amazing facts about the Great Barrier Reef!
The actual trip to the section of the reef you will be visiting is longer than most people think. Remember that you are traveling to the outer areas of the reef and the trip is approximately 2.5 hours each way.
Once you’ve arrived and the boat is alongside the pontoon, you will have plenty of time to do all of the included activities and you can also do a dive – intro/certified, a guided snorkel trip with a marine biologist or a helicopter flight which will give you a bird’s eye view of this amazing World Heritage Site. These can be booked as optional excursions with your Tour Manager.
Both trips are fantastic and 2 destinations are offered so passengers that are finishing in the Whitsundays have an option to visit the reef and don’t miss out.
Remember that the Reef is a living thing. You cannot take anything from the reef. There are fines if you are caught collecting coral. Remember take only memories and photos…Leave only bubble!