The Great Barrier Reef is the most extensive coral reef system in the world. It stretches over 1,430 miles and composed entirely of living organisms. Because of its sublime beauty, it is no surprise that it is considered as one of the wonders of the world where more than 2 million travellers visit the reef annually to witness its charm.
The Great Barrier Reef is Queensland’s most remarkable natural gift which is comprised of over 3000 reef systems and coral cays. It is home to an abundance of fascinating marine life and is filled with amazing tropical islands and world class beautiful beaches.
Cairns is one of the top most visited locations for travellers wanting to experience the Great Barrier Reef, either by taking on a scenic flight or by boat. The breathtaking array of marine wildlife, lush rainforest vegetation, and a myriad number of exotic coral reefs that make up this wonderful reef surely gives any tourist an extraordinary journey that cannot be found anywhere in the world.
Choosing the best tour can get a little frustrating because of the overwhelmingly large number of reefs you can visit around the area. If you are still at a loss and want to get some guide of what type of tours to take in order to maximize your Great Barrier Reef experience, worry no more as we will unravel in this piece the best Great Barrier Reef tours on offer to help you start your wandering without delay.
REEF TOURS FROM CAIRNS
Sunlover Reef Cruises
Sunlover Reef Cruises offers one of the best Great Barrier Reef Tours where travellers get a full day of reef adventures. This trip is designed mainly to cater for everyone including families with children.
Leaving daily from Cairns, this 40 km-trip will surely bring happiness and extraordinary experience to its travellers as they will enjoy a high-speed air-conditioned catamaran experience to the new multi-level pontoon at Moore Reef. The sundeck, as well as the theme-park style water slide on the reef, is also a must-see attraction especially if you travel with your kids.
Once you arrived, you’ll get the best 4 hours of your life as you enjoy the activities at the pontoon, which comes with snorkelling equipment, guided glass bottom boat and semi-submersible tours− allowing the travellers some options to stay dry while in a safe and comfortable environment as they explore the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. The tour also allows travellers to feed the fish. It is also a family-friendly tour as it has a fully enclosed kid’s pool and an underwater observatory to get a closer look with the marine life.
Sunlover Reef Cruises also include a hot and cold buffet lunch where you can enjoy the freshly caught seafood in the city while you explore the amazing views of the Great Barrier Reef. After the meal, don’t miss the chance to swim amongst the fishes and enjoy the last hours of your stay, savouring the charm of this great reef.
Pro Dive Cairns
If you fancy diving, Pro Dive is perfect for you. In fact, Pro Dive is all about diving suited whether you’re a novice or an advanced diver with years of experience in this field.
Boasting with its more than 32 passengers, Pro Dive Cairns offers an adventurous tourist with a more personalised experience, providing access to around 19 exclusive and unspoilt dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef.
Pro Dive Cairns offers premier three-day, two-night liveaboard dive trip and various range of PADI certified scuba diving courses where you can dive and learn to dive in a safe and wonderful environment.
From a five-day Learn to Dive Open Water certification course to advanced and professional development courses through its extensive range of the latest dive products and professional local service and advice, Pro Dive Cairns is your number one stop when planning your first or next scuba diving adventure.
If you don’t have the time to spare and can only stay for one day, its Silverswift will surely give you the most comprehensive day-tour experience with its 5-hour trip spent out at the reef visiting three different outer reef sites. This ultra-modern catamaran caters to small groups; it offers all the things you need in order to for you to experience the underwater world of colourful marine life. Beginner divers can enjoy snorkelling with additional 2 introductory dives while more experienced divers can leisure in up to 3 certified dives.
For a tourist who is yearning for more challenge and adventure, Pro Dive gives access in Liveaboard Trips to adventurous traveller where they can spend around 3-7 days enjoying the top best sites the Great Barrier Reef has to offer, while on board of the multi-million dollar purpose built a liveaboard vessel. Divers can participate in up to 11 dives, as well as 2-night dives at around 16 exclusive dive sites.
Reef Magic Cruises
Departing from Cairns through a smooth yet fast and stable catamaran, Reef Magic offers a private access to a breathtaking coral reef location which was intentionally selected because of its superior pristine clear water, coral quality and its diverse marine life.
Snorkel in the sheltered lagoon or enjoy its Guided Snorkel safari trip with an expert Marine Biologist coming along with you. It also provides a semi-submersible reef viewer, glass bottom boat or underwater observatory, perfect for families with children or for non-swimmer travellers.
If you are looking for a downtime and just want to spend your stay relaxing and soaking up the tropical heat, then this one is made for you. Take time out on Reef Magic’s spacious deck where you can enjoy the region’s only reef-based massage therapist.
Fitzroy is a favourite tourist destination, both interstate and international alike for travellers thinking to experience the Great Barrier Reef from a tropical island paradise. The island’s location is spectacular which is just a 45-minute Fast Cat Ride from the Cairns Marina, offering unique access to a wonderful ecosystem ranging from an abundant green jungle to a crystal clear the Coral Sea.
You can opt to combine the Fast Cat transfer with a guided sea kayak where you can snorkel and swim amongst the rich marine life and be mesmerised by the tropical fish and get a chance to spot Fitzroy Island’s famous clownfish or sea turtles. This package will take you to the most private beaches and a stunning coral reef where you are free to explore this magical Island and the surrounding coral reef at your own leisure.
If you want to get an up-close experience of the reef but fear of getting soak or wet, stress no more as you can include a glass bottom tour with your package where you can still get a glimpse of the charm that lies below the surface.
Fitzroy Island is very attractive for those on a budget, especially families and backpackers. Stay for more than one day at Fitzroy Island in order to get a maximum Great Barrier Reef experience on a tropical island where you can pamper your stay for a night or two.
REEF TOURS FROM PORT DOUGLAS
Departing from Port Douglas, Reef Sprinter is a 15-minute trip to the stunning coral reef at Low Isles. The Reef Sprinter Reef Trip is perfect for travellers who do not find staying on the water very enticing.
Once you reach the destination, you can get 1.5 hours of snorkelling time to enjoy the breathtaking coral formations and colourful marine life of the reef before heading back to the port.
If you want to experience the Great Barrier Reef but are not too keen on boats and the thought of spending a whole day out on the water isn’t very appealing, then Reef Sprinter Reef Trips were made for you.
Reef Sprinter also offers a glass bottom boat perfect for those who prefer not to swim the opportunity to still witness the astonishing coral reef, turtles and diverse marine life which makes the Great Barrier Reef as one of the seven wonders of the world.
Quicksilver Cruises has a wide range of exciting activities on its sleeve, making it an ideal option for those who are wanting to get a little bit of experience of everything. Quicksilver’s Wavepiercing Catamaran leaves from the Reef Marina in Port Douglas daily at 09:30 am out to Agincourt Reef− a pristine ribbon reef located at the very outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef.
Learn to dive and snorkel or if you are a more advanced diver, dive and snorkel amongst the abundant marine life and enjoy the majestic beauty of this remote coral reef. Quicksilver Cruises also offers activities for non-swimmer who still wants to get a breathtaking view of the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy the permanent floating pontoon at Agincourt Reef where you can get the best viewing experience and underwater observatory perfect for families travelling with their kids; Quicksilver’s semi-submersible is the best option for non-swimmer to still get a magical experience of the reef while staying dry.
Getting the right reef trip for you and your family can give you ample time to enjoy and explore the beauty the Great Barrier Reef has to offer. Just like in any trip, it is always wise to plan ahead of time before embarking to your journey. Use the guide provided in this piece and we hope that you get the most out of your Great Barrier Reef adventure.
A Beginner’s Guide to Yacht Charters: How to Choose the Right Yacht and Plan the Perfect Trip
Yacht charters offer a unique and luxurious way to explore the world’s most beautiful destinations. Whether you’re looking to spend a week exploring the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, or you want to take a romantic trip to the Mediterranean, a yacht charter is an excellent option. Phuket is an excellent location to charter a yacht and is one of the most popular destinations for yacht charters in the world.
However, choosing the right yacht and planning the perfect trip can be a daunting task for those who are new to yacht charters. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make your yacht charter experience a success.
Consider the Size of the Yacht Needed
Yachts come in a variety of sizes, from small sailing boats to large motor yachts. Consider how many people will be traveling with you, and how much space you’ll need for your trip. You’ll also want to think about the type of activities you want to do on your trip. If you’re looking for a more adventurous trip, a smaller sailing yacht may be the way to go. But if you’re looking for a more luxurious and spacious experience, a larger motor yacht may be a better choice.
- Small Sailing Yachts: These are typically 30-50 feet in length and are ideal for more intimate and adventurous trips.
- Mid-Size Motor Yachts: These yachts are typically 50-80 feet in length and offer more space and amenities than small sailing yachts.
- Large Motor Yachts: These yachts are typically 80 feet or longer and offer the ultimate in luxury and comfort.
- Superyachts: These are the largest yachts, typically over 100 feet in length, and are often custom built to the highest standards.
Consider a Place to Discover
Yacht charters are available all over the world, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, so choose a location that appeals to you and your travel companions. Research the destinations you’re interested in, and find out what the weather will be like during your trip. You’ll also want to consider the time of year that you’re traveling, as some destinations may be more expensive during peak season.
Here are some popular yacht destinations:
Mediterranean: The Mediterranean region is a top destination for yacht charters, with its turquoise waters, stunning coastline, and rich cultural heritage. Some popular destinations include the French Riviera, the Amalfi Coast in Italy, and the Greek islands.
Caribbean: The Caribbean is a popular yacht charter destination for its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and clear waters. Some popular islands include the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin, and Antigua.
Bahamas: The Bahamas are another popular yacht charter destination, known for its stunning crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, and tropical landscapes.
Maldives: The Maldives is a group of 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean, known for its stunning coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, and abundant sea life.
Thailand: Thailand is known for its stunning beaches, lush tropical forests, vibrant local culture, and rich history. Some popular destinations for yacht charters in Thailand include the Andaman Sea, Phuket, and Koh Samui
When it comes to planning the perfect trip, timing is everything. Booking your yacht charter early is key to ensuring that you get the yacht and destination that you want. Don’t wait until the last minute to book, as yachts can fill up quickly, especially during peak season. It’s also a good idea to book well in advance if you’re traveling during the holidays, as yachts tend to be in high demand during these times.
Yacht Charter Cost
Another important factor to consider when planning your yacht charter is the cost. Yacht charters can be expensive, so you’ll want to budget for your trip carefully. Consider the cost of the yacht, fuel, food, and other expenses. Some yacht charters may include some or all of these expenses, so be sure to ask about what’s included when you’re booking. You may also want to look for yacht charter deals or discounts to help save money on your trip.
Think About the Crew
Finally, you’ll want to consider the crew. Yacht charters typically come with a crew that includes a captain, chef, and other members. Consider the size of the crew, and make sure that they have the experience and skills you need for your trip. You’ll also want to make sure that the crew is friendly and professional, and that they can accommodate any special requests or needs you may have.
A yacht charter is an excellent way to explore the world’s most beautiful destinations in style and comfort. With a little bit of planning and research, you can choose the right yacht and plan the perfect trip for you and your travel companions. So start exploring your options today, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!
Medieval Towns with German Castles Near Munich & Frankfurt
Our favorite castles in Germany near Frankfurt and Munich:
We were crazy enough to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on a public holiday. This meant that along with all the Asian tourists, there were an awful lot of Germans. Plus, even though we arrived by 11 am, the soonest tickets we could buy were for the German tour at 2.30 pm, as the terms in English were sold out until 4 pm. So, if you don’t have German friends at hand to translate the tour for you, we recommend booking in advance online. The castle was impressive, and the time was undoubtedly fascinating! Don’t worry, I won’t spill the beans, but the manmade Grotto room made my jaw drop!
Mespelbrunn Castle is located on a pond between Frankfurt and Wurzburg. Unfortunately, we arrived 30 minutes after its closing time of 5 pm, but it looked cool from behind the fence!
Lichtenstein Castle is located on a clifftop near Stuttgart and costs 6 euros per person for a tour in German; however, they did give us a very informative written guide in English. This castle is small compared to Hohenzollern castle, but its story is fascinating. Tanks shelled it in World War II, and today you can still see the cracked mirror from where a small fragment of a tank grenade ricocheted!
Hohenzollern Castle is not too far from Lichtenstein Castle. It is located on a hilltop near Hechingen, and we enjoyed the guided tour. Along with getting to wear GIANT slippers, make sure you explore the casemates and secret passages. One sign made me want to learn more. It read, “Exactly where these steps lead to is unknown. More casemates and secret passageways are likely waiting to be discovered in the heart of the mountain”!
Heidelberg Castle was a lot larger than we expected! Unfortunately, we had spent far too much time at the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, so we did not have time to explore this castle. But if we get the chance, we will explore the town and its castle next time in Germany.
On our drive from Munich to Frankfurt, we also loved:
The beer garden at Andechs Monastery was just like Oktoberfest but amongst trees and more family-friendly. The beer was cheaper, and the food was great, including the giant pork knuckle, which Moss could not finish. It was also fun walking up multiple flights of stairs to the tower’s very top.
Three hours in Rothenburg was not enough to explore this wonderful medieval town! We recommend getting your hands on a city map from the tourist information office. We enjoyed Roder Gate, walking along the wall and exploring the 17th-century spital bastion, plus Moss lost me in the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas shop for over half an hour, and I didn’t even buy anything!
The average person would Google Munich to Frankfurt and see that it only takes about 3 ½ hours depending on how fast you wish to drive on the autobahn! However, we are NOT typical. We took one look at train prices and decided that hiring a car wouldn’t cost too much more.
We aren’t going to tell you our exact route. Still, after surviving Oktoberfest in Munich, we did a giant zigzag to see as many castles and medieval towns as possible. So to save you doing so much driving, we have picked our favorite cities and castles. First of all, ‘Ausfahrt’ is not a destination accessible from every off-ramp! It means ‘Exit’! Another word of wisdom to keep in mind is that the autobahns with speed limits do have speed cameras… and the flash is blinding!
Running with the Bulls Video
Our shaky Running with the Bulls Video footage from the Festival de San Fermin in 2012. Experience it first hand in Pamplona. Enjoy.
We recently wrote about our life or death experience of Running with the Bulls this year at the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona. On that run, I carried along with our GoPro video camera and tried to shoot some footage for our running with the video of the bull.
All our travel video shooting techniques went out the window when the bulls’ hooves started to shake the ground beneath our feet.
Once we had lined up for the running with the bulls, there was no escape from it as we were walled in by apartment blocks, shopfront windows, and 3-meter high wooden barriers packed with photographers along the entire length. At one end lay the relative safety of the bull ring pulsating with the cheers of the crowd who were still partying from the night before. Behind me, a dozen wild bulls pawed the stony ground looking for freedom.
Unfortunately, I was standing in their path.
What we ended up with is below. However, I think what we filmed for our running with the bull video captures the chaos, craziness, and complete madness a lot better than if I had stood my ground.
Enjoy it and watch for the guy that nearly gets trampled to death near the beginning!
Running with the Bulls Video
Would you ever consider running with the bulls?
While we are very aware that not all people agree that the San Fermin Festival should be allowed to go ahead mainly due to animal cruelty, we think there are two sides to every story. We wrote a post about the controversy surrounding Bullfighting in Spain and the Festival de San Fermin.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the Festival de San Fermin and whether you would ever consider running with the bulls.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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