There were multiple things on my "must see" list for Australia, and on this day, Phillip and I did one of the highest items on that list when we hopped aboard a boat that took us to Green Island, so that we could experience part of the Great Barrier Reef. Our morning started with a walk over from the hotel to the terminal where several Reef tour boats depart from, including ours which was operated by Great Adventures.
Our journey to the Great Barrier Reef would be a 45-minute ride from Cairns. Along the way, there are some incredible views of the mountains on the mainland.
And after about 35-40 minutes or so, we were able to see Green Island getting closer and closer.
As we approached the Island, the boat would move slowly because of the coral that surrounds it. This would give us our first glimpse of the Great Barrier Reef! Another check on the bucket list completed.
Green Island is one of the larger barrier islands along the Great Barrier Reef. It was once inhabited by Aborigines, and would be discovered by European explorers in the 1850's, and had provided emergency food reserves for shipwrecked sailors. The first guest house was built in the 1930's, and an underwater observatory in the 1950's. The current resort that operates on the Island now opened in 1994. Many people will come by boat for the day as Phillip and I did, while others will stay overnight in one of the 46 guestrooms of the hotel.
Upon our arrival, we first went for some snorkeling. There was a beach that was the designated swimming area that was considered safer, although it was a bit of a bummer in that there wasn't quite as much of the rocky coral to see on this side, and there were not quite as many fish. I did try snorkeling in another spot on the other side of the Island when the time was closer to our departure, but by then I was already pretty worn out from all of the earlier snorkeling, thus I didn't quite get so far out on the other side, and there was a bit more of an under current, so I thought I should head back. But I did see more of the rocky coral and more schools of fish.
What we did get to see on the "safe side" was still really neat though, I seem to recall seeing more of the colorful fish on this side., and Phillip had a near encounter with a stingray! I have to say, the snorkeling was probably my favorite part of the day. Another fun side story, a young man from Japan came up to me and asked where I was from, to which I said the United States, and thus he asked if he could have a picture with me. This was a first for me as I had been used to being asked this when I worked at Disney World and was in costume for which ever attraction I worked on that day, but I had not really been asked for a picture with a stranger just because of where I was from. It was kind of neat in a way though, as they probably look at it as getting to meet new people from around the world.
After a decent amount of time snorkeling and a lunch break, Phillip and I took a stroll on the nature trail on the Island. While the Island itself isn't very large, it does offer a nice trail that has signs along the way telling you about the wildlife that could be found along with the history of the island.
As we walked, we also saw a bird's nest that a bird had just flown out of, along with a few different birds.
The trail also opens up to a few other spots on the island's coast, giving some incredible views of the water and the mainland nearby. I was simply in awe of how incredible the views were.
While Phillip and I were doing a more budget conscious visit, the resort had other activities for visitors such as a crocodile exhibit, parasailing, special underwater excursions and helicopter rides.
And when 4 o'clock came, it was time to head back to the dock to catch the boat back to Cairns. Definitely glad that we were able to include this in our visit to Australia! I hope to see the reef again the next time I come to Australia, perhaps by way of a different town on the Queensland coast.
Up next, we head back South as we leave Cairns for Brisbane. There, we begin our visit to many of Australia's best known theme parks!
See more of 2016 New Zealand & Australia Trip:
1: Arriving in New Zealand / 2: Walk to Mission Bay / 3 : Mount Eden / 4: Rainbow's End / 5: Arrival in Sydney /
6: Mrs. Macquarie's Point / 7: Sydney's Luna Park / 8: Sydney Habour Bridge & Rocks Tour /
9: Bondi Beach & Darling Harbour / 10: Walking Through Cairns / 11: Green Island & The Great Barrier Reef /
12: Warner Bros. Movie World / 13: Australia Zoo / 14: Aussie World / 15: Sea World & Wet'n'Wild / 16: Alice Springs /
17: Kings Park & Indian Ocean / 18: Fremantle / 19: Perth CBD & Elizabeth Quay / 20: Adventure World /
21: Walking Through Melbourne / 22: Luna Park Melbourne & St. Kilda / 23: Victoria Parliament / 24: Back to Auckland