2 Weeks Family Australia Trip (Part IV: Great Barrier Reef)

When I first booked our trip to Queensland, Australia, I was on the fence whether or not to include the Great Barrier Reef in our itinerary. I had read a lot about the coral bleaching in recent years, and I wasn’t sure if it would be worth the effort to experience the reef in such conditions. However, after discussing with Alan, we decided that it’d be a good learning opportunity for Bridgette to see the coral bleaching and learn how human recklessness can do such damage to our beautiful oceans.

Since we were keen to hit up Whitehaven Beach, we decided to do a day trip to the outer reef, instead of taking another flight up to Cairns. From Airlie Beach, it was about a 3 hour boat ride to the outer reef, and we chose to go with Cruise Whitsunday tours based on their high reviews on TripAdvisor. They did not disappoint!

Great Barrier Reef map
From Airlie Beach, it was a 3 hour boat ride to the pontoon where we would snorkeling in the outer Great Barrier Reef. (Photo taken from Cruise Whitsunday website)

We left early in the morning in their large high speed catamaran, which was very spacious and comfortable, fully equipped with air conditioning, viewing decks, and a bar to serve refreshments. It certainly made the 3 hour boat ride very tolerable, and we didn’t even get sea sick (though we saw other passengers who did)!


When we arrived, we stepped foot onto the pontoon, where we obtained all our gear and equipment for the snorkeling (and scuba diving for those who chose to).

The water condition was not the best that day–very choppy and rough. I was a bit nervous to have Bridgette in the water (we were literally in the middle of the ocean!) but she couldn’t have been more excited to dive right in!

While we did see some beautiful fishes, we were also sad to witness in person all the coral bleaching that existed. It’s disturbing to think how we, as humans, can be so destructive to God’s beautiful creations. I hope that by bringing awareness to ourselves, and our children of the next generation, changes can be implemented to protect our earth more.

Snorkeling in such rough water conditions proved to be VERY exhausting, so we had to take breaks often. During the 3 hour boat ride back, we all fell asleep and awoke to the most incredible sunset when we arrived back to Airlie Beach.

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We had dinner right by the pier that evening, at La Marina, and tasted one of the most delicious calamari we’ve had!

And that wraps up our 2 days in the Whitsundays! Hope we can go back one day!

Here’s Bridgette’s YouTube video about our experience:

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