Great Barrier Reef

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The Great Barrier Reef is one of the great marvels of the earth. More than 1,200 miles long and 50 miles wide, it is the world's largest living organism, composed of billions of tiny coral polyps whose bony skeletons knit together to form a breathtaking array of fantasy sculptures that may look like rock, but are as alive as you and me. This amazing network provides the home for what may be the most colorful and breathtaking array of tropical fish in all the world. Start your adventure with a flight into Cairns, but don't expect to step off the beach and directly onto the Barrier Reef. Getting you to the Reef is the job of a group of high speed catamarans that will take you for an exciting day of adventure. Once at the Reef, they offer you a variety of activities to accomodate all levels of daring. Opt for a semi-submersible boat tour of the reef if you're reluctant to get wet. You'll still get a "below the ocean" view that you'll remember for a long time to come. For the more adventurous, guided snorkeling tours are an option, while the most daring can choose a guided scuba dive. If you're starting to think that one day may not be enough time at this wonderous place, opt for a multi-day cruise on an intimate cruise ship of 100 passengers or less and explore a variety of islands and destinations.

Think the Barrier Reef is the only reason to come to Cairns and Queensland? Well, think again. The area is home to the Daintree Rainforest, a UNESCO National Heritage Site. Consider staying at one of the areas upscale eco-lodges, built deep in the wilderness, but with a healthy touch of comfort and luxury. From there, take a day-long guided 4WD trip deep into the jungle, to experience it leafy beauty and abundant wildlife. And don't forget a stop at nearby Kuranda, where you can have a personal look into Aboriginal culture and get a chance to see the wonderful Tjabukai Dance Group tell the story of their people.

Queensland and the Barrier Reef, an experience to remember ...