Finally a chance to sit down and sort through my photos from Lady Elliot Island and The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. We started the day bright and early by catching a sea plane from the Gold Coast, catching quick glimpses of the serene coastline every few minutes as we flew North East out to Lady Elliot Island. Once approaching, we could see a tiny patch of land sitting in what looked like a shimmering silk blanket of blue, hidden beneath marshmallow clouds and literally drifting out in the middle of nowhere. It kind of looked like god had just thrown a tiny pebble into the ocean, deciding it would blossom into a beautiful island wherever it happened to land, and blossom it surely did. The water quickly went from dark shades of navy, to vibrant and eye popping blues, to beautiful turquoise greens, and lastly to crystal clear waters as it approached the shoreline. What’s crazier is the water is so clear we could even spot manta rays from the sea plane as we were landing. And trust me, the thought of swimming with manta rays freaks me out as much as the next person, but seeing as Lady Elliot Island is famous for these sea creatures I thought why not dive into the deep end (ha, see what I did there?) and face my fears. As fate would have it, I didn’t spot one manta ray the whole time I was snorkeling, only pods of fish and sleepy sea turtles.
As the island only accommodates 150 people, Luke and I had to cover the island on a half day tour as we couldn’t stay overnight as the entire island was already booked out. Personally I would highly recommend staying overnight if you can. The half day tour gave you enough time to experience the beauty of this island but two full days would really give you the chance to move at your own pace, discover more parts of the reef and ease yourself into the island life – sun-baking at breakfast, snorkeling at lunch, watching the sunset in the afternoon with a mojito in hand and perhaps watching the turtle hatching at night if you visit at just the right time of year.
I can’t really believe it’s taken me this long to visit The Great Barrier Reef being from Australia myself, but after experiencing this secluded slice of heaven I’m already day dreaming about when I can return. Perhaps because I know it may not always be there with the threat of global warming or perhaps because it was just so damn beautiful.
Photos by Luke Shadbolt