Submerged in a bright blue sea of water is a world unlike any other. Spots of greens, reds, purples, yellows, pinks, and oranges shine vibrantly against the simple blue of the ocean. A school of fish whoosh by, glug glugging, glugging as they go. A sea turtle floats about, basking in his surroundings as he chomps on some sea algae. This is the Great Barrier Reef.
Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders; a bucket list destination for many travelers. With so much to do and see on the Great Barrier Reef, making the selection of accommodation for your reef stay important to your overall Australian trip planning. Options abound, but key to any planning is where: on the reef itself, on the mainland, or on an island.
On the Reef
Staying on the Reef with Reefsuites provides a truly unique experience. Anchored at sea, the pontoon Reefsuites pontoon rooms sit below the waterline with underwater views. Factors to consider:
Cost- Staying on the reef is luxurious but costly. This isn’t just a hotel– it’s an experience. With any truly unique experience, your stay will rank as perhaps the most expensive of your stay.
Reefsuites, Hardy Reef, off Queensland, Australia
Activities- There are a variety of activities available with Reefsuites. Snorkeling, scuba diving, dinner under the stars, and helicopter rides make the time in the blue waters go fast.
Time- Your time while on the reef will be completely focused on this natural wonder. There are no excursions elsewhere, so most stay only a night with a few staying two nights – less than you may have originally planned. Also factor in travel time to the hotel and back to the mainland.
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
On the Mainland
When people visit Australia and the Great Barrier Reef, stays on the mainland and particularly in Cairns. This is certainly an option for people wanting to make a day trip of the Great Barrier Reef so they can engage in mainland activities, great nightlife, and many accommodation options. Consider the following:
Cost- Staying on the mainland is going to be your least expensive option. This exact cost, however, depending on the resort and room type selected. However, this may allow additional funds to be allowed for activities.
Activities: Being on the mainland means you’ll have many activities to choose from. You could go sailing, golfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, lounge at the spa, and so much more. Plus, you’ll have a variety of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops at your disposal.
Time: Generally allow 70 minutes up to two hours to reach your destination on the reef. This time can vary based on where you are traveling from and which part of the reef you are visiting. Should you want to spend considerable time exploring the reef, consider the travel time when selecting the location for your accommodations.
On an Island
An island stay can offer the best of both reef and mainland accommodation locations. Of the hundreds of islands on the Great Barrier Reef, a number of resorts call an island their home offering special benefits: they are surrounded by water, and each sports its own unique atmosphere and amenities. Aspects of an island stay include:
Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia
Cost: Island stays can be affordable. Islands that actually on the reef will cost more, but to save some money, those further away may be a good option.
Activities: Island resorts still offer guests a wide variety of activities. Guests can go scuba diving, snorkeling, take a boat trip, lounge at the beach, and attend island resort events. There’s so much to do!
Time: Travelers should factor in the time it will take to get to the island, as well as how long it will take to get to the Great Barrier Reef from the island. The journey to the Great Barrier Reef takes 30 minutes to an hour and a half depending on the island.
The bountiful marine life, the tranquil blue waters, and the feel of the saltwater on your skin are never too far away regardless of your decision. Where the Great Barrier Reef lies on your list of priorities for your trip Downunder will help drive the decision. Let me help you design your trip Downunder so it fits you perfectly. I’m only an email away!
Pat Ogle-CollinsNear, On or In – Location is Key on the Great Barrier Reef!