Friday, January 30, 2009


So I haven't been posting regularly and probably won't be for the next couple of days. I am off to San Diego, CA today to go play in the sunshine :D

I am leaving the cold 30 F (-1 C) to the sunny, warm 75 F (25 C) Hello beach! So in the meantime here are some pretty beach pictures from the GBR to keep everyone going.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Surf's Up!

Now I have been waiting to do this post, because it is something I have wanted my entire life. I have ALWAYS wanted to learn how to surf. Now growing up I lived nowhere near an ocean and was crushed when I figured out you cannot surf on a lake.

I have tried once since living near the Atlantic Ocean and it wasn't the best experience. I went with 8 other people. The weather was still pretty cool so we had 2 surf boards and 2 full body wet suits. This was the first time I had had any interaction with surfing, so of course the experienced surfers sent out the 2 newbies out on their own after everyone else. First I had to but on a wet, wet suit. (This is one of the worst experiences I have EVER had) Then once we got out in the water it was going ok until the sky opened up. A thunder a
nd lightening storm hit and we were stuck in the water with HUGE waves.

Needless to say it wasn't the best first experience, but I was so excited to come back and tell my roommates I had gone surfing :D I've always vowed that I will learn and it will become one of my greatest pass times.

Now back to work, but I will post more later about surfing around the GBR!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hamilton Island-Part II

Something else I learned about in the article was Heart Reef. The best way to see it is by seaplane or helicopter ride. These rides average about 30 minutes and are the best way to see the Heart Reef.

Heart Reef as seen from a seaplane

One more thing I found really cool in the article the mention of a Koala Gallery. You can eat breakfast outside, while looking at the animals. I want to see koala bears, kangaroos, and Tasmanian devils! Sooo cool!

A Hamilton Island Resort Website gives a description:

The Koala Gallery Wildlife Experience features a large collection of Australian native animals including koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, crocodiles, wombats, Tasmanian devils, frilled necked lizards and various reptiles. The sanctuary also houses the Koala Gallery Gift Shop and licenced coffee shop. The perimeter of the coffee shop dining area is a koala exhibit and 'Breakfast with the Koalas' is held daily from 7:30am to 9:30am. An Aussie buffet breakfast is served at this time and coffee, cakes and light snacks are available all day. Lunch is available from 12:00pm to 2:30pm. Educational tours, cockatoo presentations, crocodile shows and souvenir photos with the koalas are available at set times each day. Great for all ages. Breakfast packages are available.


Hamilton Island

I found an article today written in a Japanese newspaper about getaways to Hamilton Island. Since the Best Job in the World house is located on Hamilton Island I figured I should learn more about the island itself.

The first thing I found out about Hamilton Island is that everyone gets around on golf buggies. Private vehicles are prohibited on the island in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. According to the article by June 2011 all of the buggies will be electric powered.

Golf Buggies on Main St. on Hamilton Island

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Swimming, Swimming, Swimming, Swimming...

So I had a dream about swimming last night...and now all I want to do is go swimming. Seeing as it is the middle of January in NYC it doesn't look like I will get to swim soon, but I can still think about it...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

But I Still Want To See It...

Ok, but what if you don't want to spend as much time and money on scuba diving, but you still want to experience the GBR up close and personal? Well the answer for you may be snorkeling.

Snorkeling is a great alternative to scuba diving and the only prerequisite is knowing how to swim! What's great about snorkeling is you can take some of the same boat day trips that the scuba divers do and it costs less.

I Want To Go Scuba Diving...Right Now.

So in NYC right now the temperature is 8 degree fahrenheit (-13 degrees celsius) with wind chill. After coming in from outside I can't get warm so I have decided to think warm...the warm ocean to be more specific.

After looking up all those pictures of sea animals that live in the GBR all I want to do is learn how to scuba dive. I looked up the GBR on Wikitravel it gave some useful information for travelers who want to learn once they get there.

"Most travellers learn to dive in Townsville, Cairns or Port Douglas: all have a very competitive dive industry. Most students prefer to do a two day pool and classroom course, followed by a two or three day liveaboard visiting the reef to the east of Cairns. It's possible to learn with some of the operators that travel to the Coral Sea, but check first about the difficulty of their dive sites. Land based learn to dive courses cost about $500, dive courses including a liveaboard start at about $700."

Most of the divers go out on day trips to see the best part of the reefs. These boat trips have varying difficulties and have something for every diver. Now I also read on Wikitravel that you can come day of for a diving trip and try and get on. This is risky, but if you get on the trip you can save as much as 40% of the cost.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Want To See a Blue Spotted Stingray!

Ok new goal right now...I want to see a Blue Spotted Stingray live! Soooo cool!

What Makes It So Great?-Part II

Now I wanted to find out more about the types of animals that are actually found in the Great Barrier Reef...and I found out that there are a lot:

There are over 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises that live (or visit) the GBR. This includes Dwarf Minke Whales, Humpback Whales, and of course my beloved Dugongs :D

Dwarf Minke Whale

There are over 200 species of birds, some that only exist in the area of the GBR, including White Breasted Sea Eagle and the Roseate Tern.

Roseate Tern

6 species of turtle call the GBR home including the Green Sea Turtle and the Loggerhead Sea Turtle. Interesting fact about sea turtles is that the temperature of the sand in which they lay their eggs determines the sex of the baby turtle. Cooler sand produces male seas turtles and warmer sand produces female turtles.

Green Sea Turtle (Crush!)

There are about 17 species of Sea Snakes. These snakes come to the surface to breathe, but can stay underwater for up to 2 hours. These snakes have also evolved from land snakes.

Sea Snake in the GBR

Now of course there are over 1,500 species of fish that live in the GBR. These include Clown Fish (Nemo!), Coral Trout, and Seahorses.

Coral Trout

Now there are also over 5,000 species of Mollusks, 400 species of Coral, 60 species of Seagrass, and 500 species of Seaweed or Marine Algae.

Nudibranch, a type of Mollusk

WARNING: As I was going through different animals located in the GBR I also came across many warnings of what to watch out for in the GBR. Big ones included the Box Jellyfish, Stone Fish, Blue Ringed Octopus, and Stingrays. Some are more dangerous then others, but you should always know what you're getting into and be careful.

Box Jellyfish

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What Makes It So Great?

Now I'm sure everyone has at least seen a picture of the Great Barrier Reef at some point, but what do you really know? After doing some reading I found out I didn't really know that much...

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. (But I'm sure could have guessed that because really how many other coral reef systems can you name?) What I didn't know though is that you can see the Great Barrier Reef from It is the largest st
ructure made by living organisms.

View of the Reef from space!

What really interests me personally in the reef are the animals. There are actually species of animals that only live in the Great Barrier Reef and no where else on Earth. There are also several endangered species located in the reef as well. This includes 6 out of the 7 kinds of endangered sea turtle, the largest mammal the blue whale and dugongs. Dugongs are a kind of sea cow that closely related to elephants. (I find them to be so cute)

An adorable dugong!

At some point in my life I really wanted to be a marine biologist, so I did a lot of reading and looking at pictures of sea life. This is something I would love to get the chance to finally see in person.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just Keep Swimming...

So I honestly wanted to get through some how to stuff before getting to what I really want to learn about and explore...The Great Barrier Reef!

Now my goal is explore, and write about, the reef, the creatures, and ultimately what people can do and see.  First, though, I need to learn and explore more for myself.  Also I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I've never actually been to Australia.  This is just me wanting to know more and eventually see it for myself.

Now I found a really cool section of National Geographic Online that let's viewers do some exploring through an interactive virtual world.  I'm going to explore it some more and then report back, but in the meantime here are some pretty pictures :D

Monday, January 19, 2009

Now where am I going to sleep?-Townsville Edition

Now since I talked about flying into Townsville too I thought it would be only fair that I look into cheap places to stay there as well. Now when I looked into hostels there only seem to be two:

121 Flinders Stre
et Townsville, 4810
Average Room Rate USD$18.46 per person, per night
*Has free breakfast and free dinner

Adventurers Backpackers
79 Palmer St, Townsville

Average Private Room Rate USD$19.58 per person, per night
Average Dormitory Room Rate USD$17.04 per person, per night

Hotels seem to be a little cheaper in Townsville than they are in Cairns. The prices on the cheaper side seem to range from about USD$70-90. A couple I found were:

Best Western Castle Lodge Motel
Corner Warburton, Mckinley & Rose Streets Townsville
Average Room Rate USD$69.43

Hotel Ibis Townsville
12 14 Palmer Street, Townsville
Average Room Rate USD$87.76

Jupiters Townsville Hotel and Casino
Sir Leslie Thiess Drive, Townsville
Average Room Rate USD$87.76

Pictured Jupiters Townsville Hotel and Casino

Now where am I going to sleep?-Cairns Edition

So you paid for a plane ticket to Australia...I would think the next logical step is a cheap place to stay. I will try and focus on hostels and cheap hotels.

First in Cairns I was able to find hostels from around USD$10-20 per night for dormitory sleeping (USD$15-25 for private rooms) Some with great reviews include:

JJ's Backpackers
11-13 Charles Street, Qld 4870, Cairns

Average Private Room USD$19.11 per person, per night
Average Shared Dormitory USD$16.99 per person, per night

Dreamtime Travellers Rest
4 Terminus Stre
et, 4870, Cairns
Average Private Room USD$22.65 per person, per night
Average Shared Dormitory USD$17.70 per person, per night

Caravella Backpackers Cairns City Waterfront
149 The Esplanade or, Cairns
Average Private Room USD$26.55 per person, per night
Average Shared Dormitory USD$15.57 per person, per night

Now hotels are more expensive, but you are not paying per person and may have more amenities. These cheaper hotels average about USD$75-100 per night and include:

Comfort Inn Tropical Queenslander
287 Lake Street Cairns
Average Room Rate USD$74.84 per night

Mercure Cairns Harborside
209 217 the Esplanade Cairns

Average Room Rate USD$78.24 per night

Holiday Inn Cairns
121-123 the Esplanade, Cairns

Average Room Rate USD$89.40 per night

Flying into Townsville

So after looking further into a map, and at where the house is located for the Best Job in the World, I realized that there is another international airport in Queensland near the Great Barrier Reef in Townsville.

*Click on map to enlarge it

The climate in Townsville is very similar to tha
t in Cairns. The price in airfare is also very similar. Research on each place can tell you which one is better for you based on what you want to see/do.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Another Great Travel Website!

Ok a friend of mine gets credit for this one. Another great travel site is IgoUgo. Here you can find airfare, hotels, and get reviews from people who have traveled there. (Similar to TripAdvisor)

Check out the Cairns IgoUgo page here. I'm excited to check out what people talk about on this site!

This a photo someone posted to IgoUgo. Amazing...

Fly into Cairns

Beginning with the research I wanted to find out how would be the best way to get to the Great Barrier Reef. From what I could find it looks like the best way to get to Queensland is to fly into the city of Cairns. From there, there are plenty of ways to get to the other islands.

The Cairns International Airport (CNS) serves many international and national airlines from several countries including Japan, Guam, and Hong Kong. For the purpose of my traveling I wanted to see when the best time to travel is based on prices of airfare and weather.

Now the peak time to travel to the north of Australia (Queensland) is from June to August. Peak travel time to Australia on the whole is from October to February. So if you're looking for cheap flights; off season is the way to go. And of course booking early and traveling on weekdays will make your flight cheaper. There is a really great site called SideStep where you can see ticket trends for airfare to help you book.

Now what climate you are looking for your vacation for can also tell you when you want to visit. In January the weather averages about 30 degrees Celsius or 87 degrees Fahrenheit and is the rainy season. In July it is cooler, about 25 degrees Celsius and 77 degrees Fahrenheit, but drier.

*Oh and for those in the NYC area the flight will be about $1200-$1500. I made sure to check for myself :D

Getting Started...

So I am getting into this because I have always been fascinated by the Great Barrier Reef, but I know pretty much nothing about Australia...

So starting off I am going to be focusing on Queensland since this is where the job is located. So first things first is a map of Australia. Queensland is on the west coast of the continent/country.

Now a little travel tip. I love the website WikiTravel! Along with a lot of online research, much of the things I find out about different regions come from this site and I highly recommend it for anywhere you are planning to travel.

I plan to touch on what to see, what to do, where to eat, how to travel, and hopefully all there is in between :D


The best job in the world...who wouldn't want that? If you don't know what that is, just take a look here. I am out to prove that I am the best candidate for the job.

Now I could go on and tell you that I'm special and I deser
ve it more than others, but I don't know if that's actually true. I live a pretty typical post college grad life working a 9-5 job and making a very modest living. Of course I would love the travel, and lay around on the beach, and explore one of the 7 Wonders of the World...but again who wouldn't?

I have decided that with this blog I am going to prove that I am the perfect ca
ndidate because I am going to start working now. I am going to use this blog to show others, and frankly learn for myself, about the Great Barrier Reef. I want to know what makes it amazing, I want to know what there is to do there, and ultimately I want to answer the question, "Why should I spend my hard earned money to travel there?"

*And before we begin I would like to say the this is not currently associated, or endorsed, by the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Also all images that appear on this site are copyright of their respective owners and I claim no credit for them unless otherwise noted. If you own the rights to any of these images and wish to not have them appear on the site, please contact me and they will be promptly removed. Also any links to outside websites are not endorsed by those sites and if they wish for them not to appear, please contact me. Thank you.