Seeing the Great Barrier Reef was one of the first things I added to my list back in 2012. For years I had stared in awe at photos of this incredible reef in my National Geographic magazines. I missed out on ticking this off my list when I was last here in Oz…but not this time!
Thing No.21 on my list was initially to ‘Dive’ at the Great Barrier Reef but I had so many varying opinions from my vascular doctors about whether or not it was safe to dive with my blood clots I decided I wouldn’t risk it so Thing No.21 became – Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef!:)
To achieve this particular thing on my list, Jaime and I ventured to Hamilton Island which is one of the 74 awe inspiring Whitsunday Islands located right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.
We were on a bit of tight budget this year, so we booked just two nights in a self catering apartment. Eating out costs a fortune in Australia, so doing it this way saved us loads of money. To be honest though, when you have a view like we had, you don’t really want to go anywhere else.
As you will see from the photos, the island and apartment views were breathtaking. Everywhere you look is a picture perfect view. It was such a surreal feeling waking up in the morning to the view of the emerald green waters and cockatoos sitting on the balcony railings. We were both in heaven!
Hamilton Island is pretty small but to help you get around there is either a free bus service or you can hire a golf buggy which we did for a few hours on the last day. So much fun!
We hadn’t done any research before we got there, so to see the reef we went with one of the on-island tour operators called Explore and did a half day snorkelling trip to a stretch of reef about an hour away. This was great fun and the company were so friendly but I must confess we were both slightly disappointed as we expected to see the brightly coloured coral we had seen in all the magazine photos. We thought this lack of colour might be due to coral bleaching which is a result of rising sea temperatures but it turns out the reef we were taken to was just pretty deep and as a result quite dark. It was also quite cloudy which didn’t help either.
It was of course still stunning but just not what we expected. The fish however were bright and beautiful and floating there and letting them swim around us was just incredible.
The reef stretches for over 2300km and is filled with so much beauty and diversity, so this is a definite addition to your list. An amazing experience and to share it with Jaime made the whole experience a dream come true.


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