Flying high over the Great Barrier Reef

When you’re a travel agent people often think that all you do is go on holidays.

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This is far from the truth.. but every once in a while you do get offered some cool opportunities.

Not long after I started the job I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to visit Tropical North Queensland and the famed Great Barrier Reef – a definite highlight!

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Hands down the best part of my time at the reef was a helicopter ride over its waters.

Witnessing the stunning coral from above (we even spotted a turtle!) and the many shades of blue was truly breathtaking.

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Snorkeling was good fun also but in May the water is quite chilly and swimming through some choppy waves made it a bit of a challenge to spot many fish.

Depending on what time of the year it is you will also need to be careful of jellyfish.

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Our group was hosted by a company called Quicksilver and we visited the outer reef area.

Getting there involves a trip on a large and modern catamaran that speeds through the sea – it got prettyyy bumpy so come prepared if you get motion sickness.

The catamaran eventually stops at a permanent structure/building that has been set up literally in the middle of the ocean and this is kind of your base for the day’s activities whether you choose to do diving, helmet diving snorkelling or just hang out.

A buffet lunch is included also and the company has services leaving from both Cairns and Port Douglas.

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Our accommodation base was Cairns and after driving in from the airport I couldn’t believe I was still in Australia!

(Funnily enough there are also many signs in Japanese too due to the relationship and history of the culture with this part of Australia).

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The lush greenery everywhere in this area of Australia reminds me of Asia in a lot of ways and a trip up to the Daintree Rainforest is recommended to really see it up close.

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Cairns itself is largely full of hostels or large and modern hotel options such as the Novotel Cairns, where we spent a couple nights.

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The view from my room at the Novotel

If I was going back again, while I also enjoyed Port Douglas which has a bit more of a quaint feel, I personally preferred Palm Cove which was in-between Cairns and Port Douglas, as it really has that holiday mood going on here.

A car is definitely the easiest way to get around all of these areas of the coast though!

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We had a hosted dinner at the Pullman property in Palm Cove and the food was delicious, made better by the beautiful surroundings of this luxury hotel.

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Another major attraction on our itinerary was Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures.

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While there’s much more to this place than just the crocs, you can choose to do a cruise among infested waters which is certainly an experience!

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I probably wouldn’t have visited on my own holiday, especially since I’ve seen so many Australian animals before, but for tourists this is a great attraction to see many native species up close and personally.

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A visit to Tropical North Queensland is almost mandatory if you’re visiting Australia and from here you can extend further to some stunning islands of the Whitsundays!

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