Great Barrier Reef

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ShermansTravel experts rely on years of collective travel experience to bring you the best money-saving tips for your vacation. We take a discerning look at all the attraction passes, public transportation options, and other local bargains to make sure you get the most bang for your buck while traveling.

Great Barrier Reef Money-Saving Tips

Rent a Car

While flipper power is perfect for delighting at the wonders of the reef, on dry land, you can cover greater distances and get around more easily if you rent a car.

Check Bookings

Some businesses in the remote parts of the Tropical North close down during the wet season (November to February), so always reconfirm your bookings before you arrive.

Underwater Snaps

To get the best colors in your underwater photographs, stay shallow and keep the sun behind you.

Best Snorkeling

One of the best and most easily accessible places for snorkeling is Heron Island. The coral cay is situated right on the reef itself, so you can snorkel directly from the beach. It’s also a bird sanctuary and a turtle nesting ground.

Watch for Whales

June and July are the perfect times for spotting dwarf minke whales. Unlike other whale species, these inquisitive creatures actively seek encounters with divers and snorkelers.

Drive on the Left

You might find it a little confusing at first, but unlike the U.S., drivers keep on the left.

Fast Facts

The largest reef structure in the world (1,200 miles long), the Great Barrier Reef can even be seen from the moon! Contrary to popular belief, the reef is not one continuous barrier, but a broken maze of some 3,400 individual reefs and coral cays.

History

While Captain James Cook was the first person to record the existence of the reef when he stumbled across it in 1770, it was English navigator Matthew Flinders who named it. Australia’s aboriginal people, however, knew of the reef long before, and many of their important cultural sites (including burial sites and rock art paintings) still exist.

Get Wrecked

Bearing witness to the hidden dangers of the reef, there are more than 1,600 known shipwrecks resting at the bottom of its waters. One of the most accessible wreck dive sites is the S.S. Yongala, a steamship sunk during a cyclone (hurricane) about 48 nautical miles from Townsville, taking the lives of all 121 passengers.

Stormy Weather

November to April is cyclone (hurricane) season, and the coastal regions of Queensland are vulnerable to these storms.

Stinger Season

Dangerous marine stingers known as box jellyfish congregate in the waters of the far north from November to May. During these times you should only swim in specially netted zones.

Emergency

In case of emergency, dial “000” from a fixed line or “112” from a mobile phone for police, paramedic, and fire departments.

Cheap Eats

Do your grocery shopping at open-air markets and established grocery stores, and look below the eye-level racks – the cheaper items are generally not in easy sight!

Consider a Hostel Stay

Hostels are generally the least expensive housing options almost everywhere you go, and many offer free breakfast.

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