Diving Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef, located in Queensland, Australia. It is one of Australia’s biggest tourist attractions and home of the biggest coral reef in the world; so large it is visible from space. One of the seven wonders of the world, it is no wonder that you or someone you have met has dreamt of visiting just to see, or perhaps for one of the many activities available. Of course, there is diving, that is what Queensland is known for. However, in the past few years, the reef has blown up with popularity and there are hundreds of activities and attractions. Including yet not limited to, sailing, snorkeling and glass-bottomed boat rides. Close to two-million travel just to see the reef so it goes without saying that the reef is a must-visit travel destination. When it comes to diving, only the most courageous will brave the depths of the living reef, while the less experienced shall veer closer to the surface. This article will go over reasons why your next trip should be to the reef, how to get there whether you are from the United States or Canada, and some fun facts about it, as well as preparing for your first dive as a beginner.
Diving in the Reef
For the ambitious traveler, the reef is your best bet for a dive full of adventure and fun. Made up of nearly three thousand coral reefs, and over five hundred islands; the reef is full of things to discover and see. There are dives for beginners, introductory dives, and dives for the more seasoned diver. Those local to the reef can tell you that they treasure the national landscape and its meaning goes beyond the surface. The North Queensland diving industry is one of the safest in the world so don’t fret, they take diving professionally and will ensure your safety whether you are new or whether you have been diving for years. You will not struggle to find a course that suits your skill level, and if you are new you will receive certification upon completion of the course. There are overnight dives, as well as liveaboard dives, the latter referring to a dive where you would be residing on a boat versus going back to land at the end of every dive. An overnight dive is spectacular as well if a liveaboard dive will impede on your travel plans. The reefs you dive will look completely different at night, as will the marine life you spot while you’re down there. There are many packages based on your level, what you are looking to see and how long you have to do it. It’s really just a matter of getting certified and finding what suits your needs best.
While beginners are welcome, it is important to be prepared before heading out under the water. You will need to take a course and become certified, and make sure that no pre-existing health problems will affect your ability to dive. There are some medical questionnaires you may be asked to fill out and certain answers can lead to a physician’s clearance before proceeding with the dive. It is very important not to drink before diving or even the night before as it can impair you, especially under the water. Just like if you were operating a motor vehicle, it is very important to keep the blood alcohol below 0.5 if you truly must drink at all. Travelers may start diving as young as 12, and classes are offered in a multitude of languages. There really is no excuse not to pick up a new skill and see a beautiful country in the process!
The one thing that tends to hold people back, aside from the money. “Well, how will I get there?” Or “How can I afford it?” Are questions you may find racing through your brain as you search for an excuse to pass up this amazing opportunity. Fear not, the reef is accessible quite easily from the States and Canada. With a little research on your own, you will find the same goes for most other neighboring countries as well. For starters, you will need your passport and what is called an ETA if you will be there for less than 90 days. An ETA is just an electronic visa that grants you access to the country. There are many online services to help you plan the trip, but the most common thing to do will be to fly into one of the hubs of Australia; Melbourne, Brisbane or Sydney, and then fly, or take a train or bus from there to Cairns, which is one of the most popular entrances to the reef. The reef is so large though, one can enter it from many places and Cairns is simply one of them. Canadians will follow the same procedure, although their travel time may be significantly longer due to distance. Of course, if you have several weeks then you can drive to Cairns, this will give you a much bigger opportunity to see the sites, and take in all that the land has to offer. However, a traveler coming solely for the reef with two weeks or less will want to opt for the route of flight.
So, you know what a beauty the national treasure of the reef is. You’ve heard the stories and seen the documentaries but hopefully, this article was able to give you the final push-off the diving board and grant you the inspiration to take that leap. Seeing the reef is a once in a lifetime experience, like the other seven wonders of the world. The weather is beautiful, and there are plenty of things to do in the country in addition to diving. You can see whales, sharks, go hiking and so many other adventurous activities. Not only will it change your life, you will have stories to tell for the rest of your life. So go ahead, take that leap.