The Great Barrier Reef from the Air and Underwater

Posted on May 14, 2014 by

Just this morning, I hopped on a day trip from the Gold Coast to Lady Elliot Island, an islet in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef. The 100-acre coral cay is the closest Great Barrier Reef island to Brisbane, Queensland’s southern capital, and is easily reached by plane. To get there, I flew on a Cessna six-seater plane, feasting on spectacular views of the gorgeous coastline, river system, outlying islands and of course, the reef. I couldn’t stop snapping photos of the outrageous views, and thankfully had two hours to completely soak it all in.

As part of the Marine National Park ‘Green Zone’, the island is home to over 1,200 species of marine life: from turtles to sharks and dolphins to even humpback whales. It’s also known as the capital of the manta rays thanks to its plankton-rich waters; these creatures have over a wing span of five meters in length (being one of the largest fish in the ocean) and don’t carry possess stinging barbs in their tails. I got an opportunity to see a few of them swimming at the bottom of our glass bottom boat and they were an absolutely impressive sight.

While out snorkeling, I also had the chance to swim with a few turtles and saw hundreds of trevallies, emperor fish, giant Napolean wrasse and even octopus! My guide Marty was full of fun facts and went all out to made sure we saw as much as we could, and despite having been working here for over 10 years, his enthusiasm for marine life was infectious. If you ever find yourself on the Gold Coast, I highly recommend taking visiting or even better, staying overnight, at Lady Elliot Island for an experience unlike no other.

Here are some quick snaps from my iPhone to give you an idea how the day goes:

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Flying over Lady Elliot Island from above

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Flying is the only way to get to Lady Elliot Island

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Sand formations and different shades of blue

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A panorama of the lagoon and its reef

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We found a turtle just 50 m away from the beach

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Upclose and personal with the turtle

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A New Caledonian sea star

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 The reef actually rises above the water at low tide

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 The northeastern side of the island has great snorkeling sites such as the coral gardens

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 Flying over the Gold Coast back to Coolangatta

Live Updates from the Road

These photos and words are uploaded straight from my iPhone while I’m out and about – be it in Antarctica or Zimbabwe (as long as there’s internet access). These short snippets will hopefully give you a glimpse of my life on the road and bring you here with me.

For full stories and SLR-shot images, please continue to read and explore the rest of the blog.

Join me in Queensland

Over these two weeks, I’m traveling around Outback Queensland and the Gold Coast with Tourism Queensland and sharing live updates on our social channels, internet-permitting. You can follow my journey on Twitter @WildJunket and @Queensland or on our Facebook page using the hashtag#thisisqueensland and #seeAustralia.

Disclosure: This trip was made possible by Tourism Queensland but all opinions as always are my own.

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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is the co-founder of WildJunket. As a professional travel writer with a special interest in offgrid destinations and adventure travel, she scours through the world in search for a slice of undiscovered paradise. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Guatemala, swam with sealions in the Galapagos and built a school in Tanzania.

3 Responses to “The Great Barrier Reef from the Air and Underwater”

  1. slioy May 15, 2014 5:18 am
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    Water is crazy clear in the first pic. Seems like a sweet place!

  2. Kristy May 15, 2014 8:07 pm
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    It is one of the places that I would love to visit before this year ends!

  3. Mike M May 22, 2014 11:42 pm
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    Those are absolutely amazing photos!