An underwater adventure at one the great wonders of the world.

Visiting the Great Barrier Reef is the adventure of a lifetime. The Reef is a natural wonder that is unique in the world. It rises like a great wall out of the Pacific Ocean, stretching away as far as the eye can see. The Reef is best experienced on an underwater dive. I enjoyed getting up close and personal with some of the most amazing wildlife I’ve ever seen. Here are some photos from my adventure!

Hamilton Island is an excellent gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. It is located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Australia, nearly halfway between the mainland and the Reef. Hamilton Island is also a luxury tropical destination unto itself. The island has excellent resorts and a nice downtown area with dining and shopping options.

The island is filled with exotic wildlife. It almost feels like an open-air zoo. We spotted wallabies hopping around, as well as exotic tropical bird species such as cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets. All of the hotels post signs about keeping your windows shut. Otherwise, the birds will invade your room! There is also a small petting zoo on the island where we met the koalas.

Our hotel was a 5-minute walk to a beautiful beach. At low tide, you can go snorkeling at the small reef in the cove. We saw stingrays and tons of cool fish. At high tide, you can go windsurfing or kayaking.

Visiting the Great Barrier Reef is the main event, of course. The Reef is quite far out into the Pacific Ocean – about a three-hour boat ride from Hamilton Island. We did a tour with a company that has a docking pontoon near the Reef. The best way to see the Reef is to get in the water, so we went snorkeling off the pontoon.

I could have spent hours in the water. It was like stepping inside an aquarium exhibit. The Reef was teeming with so many amazing species of fish. The giant groupers lurked near the bottom and looked like they could have swallowed me whole. I swam through schools of fish that must have been 100,000 strong. There were clams that were channeling the 80’s with their neon colors. It was really hard to leave this magical underwater world and I’m so glad that I saw it.

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