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Embark on a journey of discovery in the Southern Great Barrier Reef and get the feeling that you’re seeing places no one else has ever encountered. Even the most well-travelled visitors are often left speechless by the experience of getting up close and personal with life in this remarkable section of the Great Barrier Reef.
Easily accessible with a quick flight, just over 4 hours drive from Brisbane or 2 hours drive from the Sunshine Coast, there are fewer crowds here as this area remains relatively undiscovered. Add the opportunity to fossick for gems, take spectacular walks through national parks, marvel at aboriginal rock art and spoil yourself with delicious regional produce and you’ve got yourself a wonderful beach holiday with a difference.
Lady Elliot Island
Imagine spending a few incredible days on a stunning coral cay island in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef – bliss. This is one of only three island resorts actually in the Great Barrier Reef, the only one with a landing strip, and it has committed to providing an eco-friendly experience. Best of all, there are no phones, TVs or radios so you can focus on the incredible marine life and laidback lifestyle. Just step off the beach and snorkel, swim or dive in an underwater world of brilliantly coloured species of marine life, or just simply relax and soak in the natural island atmosphere with your favourite book and glass of wine.
You don’t have to take any special boat trips to experience one of the wonders of the world. The reef, with a myriad of colourful coral and reef fish, is right there, at your fingertips, right off the beach of Heron Island. This natural coral cay is located 89km off the coast and is literally on the Great Barrier Reef.
In the crystal clear aquamarine waters surrounding the island, stunning coral gardens and sea creatures great and small flourish in abundance and colour. They make Heron Island a natural place for divers, swimmers, and those who love to snorkel. The resort also offers an array of choices for those who like to explore and laze on beaches far from crowds – you’ll find plenty of peace and quiet.
Bargara and Bundaberg
The Bundaberg coastline is a holiday-maker’s dream, with a climate very similar to that of the Hawaiian Islands and plenty of beautiful beaches to explore.
In Bundaberg itself, don’t miss a visit to the famous Bundaberg Rum Distillery – this tropical dark rum has attracted fans world-wide. Nearby Bargara has accommodation to suit everyone, whether you prefer the relaxed atmosphere of a campground or the luxury of a resort, no matter where you stay you’re always a short stroll from the beach.
With a reputation as one of Australia’s most important ports and industrial centres, there’s a lot more to the city of Gladstone than meets the eye. Here you’ll find a brilliant gateway to the Great Barrier Reef – dive trips can be arranged to the Capricorn and Bunker group of islands, as well as opportunities to surf, sail and swim to your heart’s content.
The coastal town of Yeppoon is perfect for beach-goers who are after something a little different for their holiday. Art buffs should be sure to check out the fabulous Mill Gallery, which offers the Southern Great Barrier Reef’s best selection of local art. Elsewhere, Shell World has more than 20,000 different shells on display, ranging from fossils to modern marine molluscs.
For a Queensland break with a twist, head to Rockhampton to celebrate a little bit of country in the city. The coast and the Australian Outback collide in this historic community, which is known as the ‘Beef Capital’ of Australia. Celebrate all things western with the weekly rodeo at the Great Western Hotel – be sure to sample all the local produce while you dine in the area. Of course, local seafood also features prominently on most menus alongside the region’s famous beef dishes – this is a foodie’s paradise!
Feeling inspired? Get in touch with your local HOT holiday specialist to find out more about the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Call 0800 838 747, click here for HOT deals to Aussie or come instore.
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