The Great Barrier Reef - 1997

Floating tourist platform

The Outer Reef lies some 60 kilometers off the north east coast of Australia.  Therefore, to see it is an expensive and time consuming exercise, but on balance we found it worth the effort.  We sailed to the site by hydrofoil and spent a few hours on a floating platform looking at a small sample of the reef.  I had imagined a gloriously isolated experience, but sadly commercial interests and conservation requirements have turned it into exactly the opposite.  Some two hundred people confined to a tiny platform or coralled into a crowded snorkelling pool.  The highlight for us was a helicopter trip along the reef to see it in all its glory without any people.  The myriad of colours is really striking, and so far out to sea without any references it seems to stretch for ever.

Outer Barrier Reef
Rain forest

Queensland weather in August is delightful; as the locals say, great one day, perfect the next.  We took the train up into the rain forest which borders the coastal plain, and sampled some aboriginal delights.  I expect they are all accountants and take it in turns to entertain the tourists!