Visiting the Great Barrier Reef: in Photos

For my last installment on our trip to Australia I’m going to let the imagery do the talking. It seems a logical choice since our experience at the Great Barrier Reef was primarily a visual one; equipped with wetsuit, snorkel and mask, we spent most of the time silently marvelling at these unfamiliar, underwater landscapes and their delightful inhabitants.

I was and am a complete novice to underwater photography, but I loved the process of trying to capture fleeting moments in this unfamiliar settting. All the while checking a big natural wonder (and another UNESCO world heritage site!) off my bucket list…

Green Island

Before we took a trip out to the Barrier Reef, we decided to splurge (a little) with 2 days and 1 night spent on Green Island, just off the coast of Cairns. We were both so thrilled we made this decision!

Though we wouldn’t have stayed much longer than we did, we got a lot out of our short trip, including the opportunity to see clownfish, some small sharks and a sea turtle(!) while getting to grips with snorkelling in a very secure, sheltered environment.

Great Barrier Reef

Since we’d come all the way up to Cairns expressly to see the Great Barrier Reef, we made sure to book on a boat trip to see it first hand.

It was a mixed experience – we didn’t see any more notable wildlife (no further sea turtle sightings, for instance) and I got extremely seasick even having taken medication ahead of time. But it was also surreal to snorkel so far out in the open ocean, to experience the grand scale and spectacle of reef life in such an accessible way.

There were educational opportunities, too. The guides sometimes gathered groups together to demonstrate and elaborate on some of the fascinating things we were seeing.


Over to you

Have you been to the Great Barrier Reef?

Do you have any other recommendations for places to snorkel? We really got a taste for it on this trip. I’d love to hear about other snorkeling destinations around the world.

P.S. What we got up to in Melbourne and Sydney.

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Linking up with the following. 🙂

Two Traveling Texans

26 thoughts on “Visiting the Great Barrier Reef: in Photos

  1. Mapping The Map

    Wow! I want to have the opportunity to do this one day. I hope I can do it before it is full bleached because the climate change. Your photos are incredible! #wanderfulwednesday

    Reply
    1. Lorna Post author

      Thanks so much! Such a good point that I forgot to mention in the post: the bleaching has had such a devastating effect already. Really heartbreaking to think such a remarkable reef could be lost 🙁

      Reply
  2. Bryna | Dotted Line Travels

    I’ve never been to the Great Barrier Reef but it is definitely on my bucket list. I’ve only been snorkelling once in Hawaii, and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t get to see sea turtles but I loved swimming amongst the fish!

    Reply
    1. Lorna Post author

      I would absolutely love to visit Hawaii some day! Sounds like a brilliant snorkelling destination. 🙂

      Reply
    1. Lorna Post author

      Haha, yes! That’s exactly how I phrased it too, when we finally found the clownfish! 😀

      Reply
  3. Anisa

    I went to the Great Barrier reef about 10 years ago and loved it. The colors and amount of fish I saw was just so much better than anywhere else. It kind of spoiled me because I don’t think anywhere else will live up to that. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    Reply
    1. Lorna Post author

      That’s awesome, but also a little disappointing not to be able to replicate the experience I guess! 🐠💦🐟

      Reply
  4. julz

    I love snorkelling 🙂 used to live in the Maldives so just had to walk out… the corals seem in a poor state though on some of the pics, that’s so sad.

    Reply
    1. Lorna Post author

      That sounds amazing Julz! I imagine the Maldives are an amazing place to live.

      I know…it’s truly devastating how much of an effect bleaching is having on the reef. 🙁

      Reply
  5. Anda

    I have been at the Great Barrier Reef, but I have only snorkeled. My husband and our son did scuba dive however. They took gorgeous pictures there. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    Reply
    1. Lorna Post author

      We went for snorkelling as we figured it would be more enjoyable for us as beginners. If I ever go back I’d definitely try scuba diving though! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Vanessa Brune

    Your pictures are so gorgeous!! I did hear though that the reef was declared dead. Is that true? Did your guide tell you anything about the development of the reef in recent years?

    Reply
    1. Lorna Post author

      I’ve just done a quick Google and you’re absolutely right. Via NYTimes last March: “Huge sections of the Great Barrier Reef, stretching across hundreds of miles of its most pristine northern sector, were recently found to be dead, killed last year by overheated seawater.”

      It’s been a year since our trip, but I remember a huge amount of the coral being bleached/dead, as you can see in the photos (it’s particularly striking in the image of the two yellow fish). The tour did put on a talk on the way back from the reef to explain more about the science behind the bleaching and how its future was in serious jeopardy…so dreadful to think it could be lost irrevocably.

      Reply
    1. Lorna Post author

      Very true! We found it so fascinating – really want to try more aquatic activities in the future. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net)

    This is definitely at the top of our Bucket List when we get to Australia! We had not heard about Green Island, so we’ll check into that. We do love to snorkel, and have had some great experiences on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, and in Hawaii. So we are keen to see the Great Barrier Reef! Thanks for sharing your pictures on #TheWeeklyPostcard – sad to see the bleaching, but still great to see the reef!

    Reply
    1. Lorna Post author

      Yeah – the bleaching is just dreadful to see, very eye opening and a big contrast to what I’d expected. 😔

      Noting those other potential snorkeling destinations! 😊

      Reply

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