We didn’t have much time to spend in Brisbane, really just lunch and some look around time. But what little I saw of Australia’s third largest city was very nice. There were plenty of flowers and a lovely man made beach, which was under construction. There were plenty of these birds walking around much like pigeons in the US, only much bigger!
Tangalooma Wild Dolphin Resort is a magical island place. The resort is situated on Moreton Island, about 70 minutes by boat from Brisbane. The majority of the island (98%) is National Park, though it had been a whaling station between 1952 and 1962. The resort is well known for its wild dolphins which come in every evening to be feed by visitors. Another major feature is the Tangalooma wrecks, 15 vessels that were deliberately sunk to create a dive and snorkel site. For some great photos of those, go here. Oh, and how could I forget sand tobogganing!? A long walk up and a few very fast seconds coming down. Note to self…wear the goggles when they offer them next time!
The Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville is the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium. It is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. We visited this aquarium and had a behind the scenes look at a sea turtle hospital as well as all of the wonderful conservation work being done. We spent the night here and I didn’t think that I’d be able to sleep on the air mattress, but really it was no problem!
Our first full day in Australia we set off to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, which is a World Heritage Site as of 1981. We went on a catamaran to a large pontoon and the boat ride was very choppy! I’m guessing that about 70% of my fellow adventurers were sea sick and it was not a pretty sight! I has on my wrist bands and had taken ginger tables and a Dramamine and came out without an problems — surprising myself. Our adventure included:
- Return air-conditioned fast catamaran transfers to Outer Barrier Reef Pontoon
- Morning and afternoon tea and coffee*
- Snorkelling equipment
- Use of buoyancy vests
- Reef education presentation
- Hot and cold buffet lunch
- Semi-submersible coral reef viewing tour
- Underwater Observatory
- Guided Eco Reef Talk
It was my first time snorkeling and, again, it was pretty choppy. But despite that it was very wonderful! I don’t have photos because my camera is not waterproof.
The first day we went to the Rain Forestation Nature Park in Kuranda. Link is here. There were kangaroos and koalas (I got to hold one!) and crocodiles (oh my!). There was a WWII amphibious duck (DUKW) boat which toured the tropical rainforest and the plunged into a lake. It seems like everything the guides pointed out could kill you, including the plants!