Foreign Travels

Great Barrier Reef tour

AUSTRALIA | Sunday, 25 March 2012 | Views [183] | Comments [4]

I drove to Airlie Beach from Hervey Bay and the cyclone from the north extended down to this area so there was lot's of rain.  This was one of the place's to jump off to the Great Barrier Reef and either scuba dive or snorkel.  After two days of waiting out the weather, I was able to go out to Hardy Reef and had a great time snorkeling (once I properly adjusted the mask and got used to breathing out of my mouth).  Swimming with and enjoying the tropical fish was very satisfying and I even watched a loggerhead turtle for awhile forging for something to dine on.  The coral itself was really cool to view. It was a great day for the trip out.

The following day I checked the Queensland road reports online to see if the route I planned to travel was not flooded. With all the rain they've had this season there were many reports of flooding, etc.  Unfortunately after traveling 5+ hours I came across the dreaded Road closed due to flooding sign.  I waited awhile but was told by a guy who went through ~ three feet of water w/ his truck that the road was even flooded further on and he figured it could be 36 hours before the water levels went down.  So I backtracked late PM into the night to make up some lost ground.  The major roads in this part of Queensland are similiar to out state highways, even worse in some areas so driving takes quite a bit longer.  I spent most of the last few days driving south and reached Byron Bay Sunday AM.  Byron Bay is famous in AU and is the eastern most place on the continent.  Nice beach but the town is incredibly commercial. Plan to do a mountain bike ride into a rain forest w/ a tour.

Comments

1

Glad you had a chance to "swim with the fish"!

If you can, get your mug in some of those great pictures you've been taking!
Otherwise, by the picture books!

  John Mar 26, 2012 5:54 AM

2

MIke,
Checked out the latest batch of photos. Great way to start the work day. Your "ROAD CLOSED" adventure sound like something out of NAT'L GEO. Keep on truckin'
Steve H

  Steve Higgins Mar 27, 2012 2:19 AM

3

How was the bike tour? Can you rent a bike for a longer term? I'm wondering if they have bike lanes for friendly commuting over there. Will you be checking out any wineries? I don't know if you're going near one but wine has become a value-added export for Australia. Weather here is back to the usual March stuff - the adjustment from last week's summer highs has been tough!

  Judy D Mar 29, 2012 9:40 PM

4

Mike --

A great set of pics! Is your camera good for underwater photos, or do you have two cameras? (I want to get a Canon D10, which takes great photos in and out of the water.) Doing justice to coral is tough on film, but I can tell the reef you were in is spectacular for its water clarity and variety of coral. Your photos of the coastal mountains as you headed back from the reef reminded me of the Virgin Islands, where I have snorkeled (another great spot!).

Your inland pictures of the Glasshouse Mountains reminded me of another of my favorite spots -- Monument Valley in Arizona. Very unusual formations in both places.

Sorry to hear that the floods caught up to you. I'm curious to know on what route, and which direction you were headed, when you came across them. Was it a serious cyclone, or is this typical for AU? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just came out with a new report on extreme weather events. Maybe this is the "new normal?"

I happened across the "Twin Towers" movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy the other night. I couldn't stop watching, knowing that shots of the magnificent south island of New Zealand were interspersed every few minutes... and knowing that you will be there in a few short weeks.

I also read an article about a guy who traveled to the northern tip of the northern island, on GoNomad. Very good and detailed account. I think you can find it among the recent journal entries posted on the home page.

Can't wait for your next post and photos!

Cheers,

Doug

  Doug Cogan Apr 1, 2012 12:58 AM

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