For our babymoon, K and I decided that we’d spend a week in Australia – half of it in Sydney (Part 1) and the other half on The Great Barrier Reef.
Part 2 – The Great Barrier Reef
When booking our hotel, we were debating between Hamilton Island and Green Island. Hamilton Island is more popular of the two as it has five hotels and is more populated whereas Green Island only has one hotel. But when we looked up available hotels on Hamilton, the only one remaining was one with the lowest reviews.
So the Green Island Resort it was. The hotel looked great, but we were nervous because we didn’t know anyone who had stayed there.
A flight and a ferry ride later, we arrived at Green Island. Green Island was given that name because it’s the only sand cay (similar to an island key) on the Reef that has a rainforest and is also a national park.
By the time we got to the beach, the tour groups that had taken day trips to the island were dissipating and we soon had a whole beachfront almost to ourselves. The only annoying thing was that it was jellyfish/stinger season so people with certain ailments were told to wear a lycra suit before entering the ocean or they could get stung.
Because I’m pregnant, my blood pressure is naturally higher which made me fall into this lycra-required category. It didn’t stop me from getting into the water, but it’s annoying when you have to remember to put on a sticky lycra suit beforehand.
Our dinner options at the resort were minimal. But one option they offered was to provide you with a pre-packed picnic basket that you could take to the beach or wherever you wanted to on the island. We of course had to try this, but it turned out to be a disaster.
We picked up our picnic basket, found a great spot on the beach to watch the sunset, and as soon as we began to set up our picnic, the birds started creeping…one by one. They somehow seemed to know exactly when we opened the basket so we kept having to shoo them off. It was annoying, but hilarious.
We eventually gave up, enjoyed the sunset and took the basket back to our room to actually eat.
In the evenings, aside from dining in the restaurant, walking around the island with the torches they provided, or going on one of the two nightwalks – one was out on the jetty to see sharks and turtles, and another was in a corner of the island where they provided an overview of the island life (we enjoyed the latter), there was nothing to do. But this is exactly what we needed – forced relaxation.
The next day was as uneventful as we could have hoped for. We had a great breakfast, got a massage and then headed straight to the beach where we stayed until 6pm. We then caught another beautiful sunset and dined at the restaurant where the staff was super friendly, the food was great, and we didn’t have to chase away birds.
It was time for our long awaited excursion to the Outer Great Barrier Reef. At 10:45 am, we boarded a ferry that took us to the Outer Reef where spent the day riding the semi submersible, and more importantly, snorkeling.
The semi submersible was great as a prelude, but the real beauty was in the snorkeling. Because of my pregnancy, I wasn’t allowed to do any water activity that would require submerging myself, but because of the height of the reef/shallowness of the water, I wondered if we really needed to dive at all.
The experience was just stunning.
I’ve been snorkeling numerous times. Some trips were terrible – there wasn’t anything to see, and there were others where schools of fish would come so close to you that you could feed them out of the palm of your hand.
But this was truly something else. We had a private guide that took us around in the water, pointed out different fish, the coral, and sometimes picked up fish and coral that he was allowed to touch to give us a closer view. Yes, a lot of snorkeling trips offer this, but the sheer breadth of the reef and proximity to all of this life was breathtaking. It was like getting a glimpse into a world that we’ll never truly know. I wish I could show you, but you’ll just have to go see for yourself.
Unfortunately there was a bad heatwave last year that killed a lot of the reef, but it was starting to grow back and it was beautiful to see.
Our time in the water went by way too quickly and we found ourselves being called to get back onto the boat. I thought it was going to be weird to snorkel while pregnant, but it was amazing and I was so hesitant to get out.
And just like that, another amazing trip was over. We took the ferry back to Cairns at noon, flew out to Sydney a few hours later, and I flew back to Hong Kong the following morning – K stayed back for some work meetings.
In hindsight, we would have stayed another day on the Green Island just to get a bit more snorkeling in, but that’ll now have to wait for another day.
One of the reasons why K and I were so excited to move to Asia was that we’d have the opportunity to easily travel to places like this. This is also why I was not so sad to leave, as I know we’ll be back again, perhaps to another part of Australia – Melbourne maybe?
Blog edited by: Betty Ho