Great Barrier Reef Cruise Highlights

A Great Barrier Reef cruise lets you easily experience Australia's best natural treasure. A number of cruise lines visit the Great Barrier Reef during cruises of various durations. The typical time range for such a cruise is 3 to 11 days. Some of the ports visited include Cairns, the Low Isles, Lizard Island, and the Cape York Peninsula. These cruises are great for families, as there's something for all ages to enjoy. A cruise to the Great Barrier Reef can also be a good option for couples looking to enjoy quiet beaches and water sports. If scuba diving and snorkeling appeal to you, you'll find no shortage of good opportunities here.

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef itself is a sight that's not to be missed. The corals that make up the reef are living, colorful creatures. Schools of colorful tropical fish and impressive sharks are seen traveling through the water. There are several ways in which you can experience the beauty of the reef, all of which are likely to be offered as options by your cruise line.

If you prefer not to swim, several tour operators have glass-bottom boats. These allow you to see many of the sights that divers and snorkelers see from the comfort of a boat. Your guide will be able to tell you all about the various marine species.

Should you prefer to see the reef and its inhabitants up close, diving and snorkeling trips are easily arranged. The necessary equipment can easily be rented. Less experienced divers can be assisted by expert dive masters. Be sure to take any recommended precautions against venomous jellyfish and stingrays.

Cairns

Cairns is another popular destination with snorkelers and scuba divers. There are several natural sights in the area well worth a visit. The World Heritage Rainforest, which has an aerial walkway, offers one of the best wildlife-viewing opportunities. The Daintree Rainforest is great for river excursions. The Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park is a good tribute to Australia's native people and lets you experience their culture up close.

There are plenty of good dining and shopping opportunities in Cairns. Oliver's Australian Fine Cuisine is considered one of the best places for authentic local cuisine. The Pier Marketplace is a good place to shop and eat right at the cruise terminal, with several restaurants to choose from. They also offer an enclosed, underwater observation area where you can see the reef.

Port Douglas

Port Douglas is also located close to the Daintree Rainforest. The Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary offers several habitat areas where wildlife can be viewed. The Mossman River provides good snorkeling opportunities, although swimmers should beware of dangerous currents. There are also outback cattle ranch experiences that include lunch and entertainment.

Shopping and dining are good here. A market is held every Sunday where you can buy everything from local crafts to fresh produce. If you'd like a unique dining experience, try the Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary's restaurant where birds frequently come through the dining area.

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