Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the largest of its kind, and one of the natural wonders of the world. Thousands of marine species make their home along the reef, giving it those fabulous colors that we all want to experience ourselves. Cairns is one of the most northern Australian cities, which puts it in great position as a jumping-off point, so to speak, for all the divers coming through. Cairns is well-serviced by dive companies and hostels. Before signing up to just any dive tour, you should know a little bit about your options, because there are several popular reefs that companies take their groups to. Here we outline just a few in no particular order.
One of the dive spots you can check out is the Thetford Reef. Why would you want to check this one out over the others? Well, Thetford Reef boasts some of the greatest variety of marine life of the entire Great Barrier Reef. You can see all manner of coral and fans, and giant clams to boot. There are also great opportunities to dive along towering reef walls, and the visibility is stupendous. Sometimes the colors seem almost unimaginable!
If you’re more interested in sharks and sting rays, then consider carefully Flynn Reef. The reef itself might be a little bit smaller than your average barrier coral blocks, but you can expect to see several species of small sharks and many, many sting rays. The variety of corals found here will also dazzle your imagination. Just make sure you go with a company that has secured an optimal mooring like Tennis Court or Tracey’s Bommie.
Milln Reef is another superb option for a dive spot. Expect to find large schools of fish and absolutely beautiful vertical walls of coral populated by that ever-elusive parrot fish, which hides in the tentacles. This area is located a bit further off from the main chunk of reef, and is a great spot to sight turtles and large sting rays. Make sure you visit the 3 Sisters or Pinnacles moorings.
The mooring known as Surrounds at the Moore Reef is particularly interesting for the fact that it was relatively recently depopulated of its gorgeous diversity by a large colony of starfish. It makes for a wonderfully educational dive, because within the past few years coral and other marine life has begun to return to prominence along the reef. There are a whole bunch of fun swim throughs, and good visibility. Although you might not see the same burst of life as at the previous spots, here you’re sure to garner a new appreciation for what you observe.
There are literally dozens of moorings to choose from. You’re going to want to be able to relax and decompress in a good Cairns hostel once back in town. You should consider checking out the Traveler’s Oasis hostel, which offers great accommodation in an enjoyable outdoor-centered environment that makes meeting like-minded travelers easy. They also throw in a free BBQ and fully-stocked kitchen.
HostelBookers is the leading budget accommodation website in the travel industry not to apply a service charge and is, on average, 8.7% cheaper than its nearest competitor. It features over 20,000 hostels, cheap hotels and budget properties on its website in over 3,500 destinations across the world. Follow us on Twitter @hostelbookers