Southern Great Barrier Reef
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef stretches more than 2000 km along the Queensland coast, from the sub tropical waters off Bundaberg north to the Coral Sea. For years it was believed that the best diving, the best coral and the best getaways are found in the far north. In all that time, those in the know have understood that the warm waters of the southern reef have just as much to offer – with the added advantage that fewer visitors means more space for fun for everyone. But the best news is that, because the reef starts just north of Bundaberg, access to Lady Elliot and Lady Musgrave Islands, and Fitzroy Reef Lagoon is only a relatively short drive, 360 kilometres, away from Brisbane and then a boat or plane trip depending on the island visited.
You can even leave your stinger suits behind in these waters, and for those who choose not to get wet, the reef, the majestic manta rays, dolphins and whales can still be explored through the glass bottom boat or a semi-submersible vessel from some of the islands. Have the adventure of a lifetime, discover the true magic and wonder that is the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.
Lady Elliot Island is the most southerly island of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park,and just a 25 minute smooth plane flight from Bundaberg. The island’s resort is located on the beachfront and catering for only 100 guests, offers an environmentally aware, low-key friendly atmosphere. Accommodation ranges from Eco-Cabins to deluxe suites. Take a guided reef tour to learn all about the island, formed over a three thousand year period, or look through the display at the reef education centre. History of this island is both fascinating and tragic as the tiny graveyard shows. Bird watchers also flock to the island. More than 200,000 birds nest during summer, including up to 57 different species; sea turtles also nest here. The Lady Elliot experience includes diving and snorkelling with tuition for beginners. Dive courses are also offered.
Phone 1800 072 2000 www.ladyelliot.com.au
Lady Musgrave Island boasts a lagoon over eight kms in circumference – the only navigable lagoon on the Great Barrier Reef. The island is a true coral cay. Reef walkers can see jewel-bright starfish, sea urchins, clams and, at low tide, exposed corals. Those who prefer underwater discovery may come face to face with manta rays or moray eels, giant rainbow coloured fish or coral trout. Swimming in the lagoon’s calm, crystal clear water is like swimming in a giant aquarium. In summer, turtles lay their eggs ashore and thousands of seabirds arrive to nest on the uninhabited island. The island is a national park so there are no shops or facilities ashore. Camping is permitted if you want to experience the ultimate island getaway. Campers must supply all fresh water, food and other supplies, and must have a camping permit from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services. Lady Musgrave is accessible by boat from the Town of 1770.
Free call 1800 072 110
The beaches, lakes, rainforests, dunes of World Heritage Fraser Island (the world’s largest sand island) are a haven for flora and fauna and provide endless experiences for visitors seeking out its treasures on daytrips, 4WD holidays or staying at the island’s eco resorts. The island is a paradise for boating, fishing, bushwalking or simply relaxing. So go for the day or stay as long as you like. Contact luxurious Kingfisher Bay Resort (with its excellent cuisine and service) 1800 072 555.
Phone: 07 4152 7255