In this final part to my Australian trip report I am going to to share with you our day on Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef.
Having come so far across the world to Australia I felt that we really needed to try to see the Great Barrier Reef - while there is anything left of it. I did a lot of research before our trip, and I found that a two hour drive north of the most northerly point we were staying in Queensland was actually the most southerly tip of the reef.
The southern most point of the Great Barrier Reef is a place called Lady Elliot Island, which prides itself in being an educational, conservational island that has been awarded the distinction of being a World Heritage Site, therefore giving it a special protected status. I was pleased to learn that it was somewhere that worked to protect the reef, rather than exploit it for the sake of tourism.
I booked a special itinerary directly with the island, and we drove very early one morning up to a place called Hervey Bay (Hervey said like "Harvey"). The airport there was a very small regional one, and was an experience in itself!
Once our boarding time came around, we walked across the tarmac and was met by the pilot, who was flying our tiny little plane on his own out to the island. I have never been given a safety demonstration directly by a pilot before!
The plane ride was about half an hour over the Pacific Ocean to the island, giving us spectacular views of the Queensland coastline, the ocean, and ultimately the island.
Once we arrive we were greeted by a representative who told us about the things we could and could not do on the island, told us where to get lunch (included in our trip), and provided us with a rather nice non-alcoholic cocktail to start our day.
Before I talk more about our day, here are some more photos from around the island.
One of the activities included in our trip was a boat trip onto the reef and snorkelling (all equipment supplied). Not being the best swimmer in the world, I was a little anxious about this, but I was determined that I was not going to be beaten, having come so far to be here.
Whilst on the boat - which had a glass bottom - we got to see some spectacular up close views of turtles, rays, the reef and fishes. It was simply incredible.
When it was time to snorkel, they let the sides of the boat down, and into the water we went! There were life jackets for those who wanted them, which I made full use of. The water was a lot choppier than I expected, and I am glad that I had my life jacket on and that there was a rope in the water to hold onto if I wanted.
My trepidation aside, it was a breathtaking experience. Before our trip we had bought an underwater camera specifically for this day, and I am really proud to show you some of the photos I managed to take while overcoming my fears and living the experience of a lifetime, all in one moment.
In the late afternoon it was time to say goodbye to Lady Elliot Island and the Great Barrier Reef. We got back on the little plane again, and I even got to sit in the copilot seat for the return journey! Amazing!
While I could have definitely spent longer on the island, the day was absolutely perfect. So many factors could have played into it, such as weather, and even my nerves getting the better of me in the water - but it ended up being one of my most favorite experiences ever, and one that I will cherish forever.
So, that's it for my Australia trip report! I hope you have enjoyed discovering our journey as much as I have enjoyed reliving it by sharing it all with you here on the blog.
Have a great day everyone,