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Great Ways to See the Great Barrier Reef (Without Getting in)

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by Anupa (subscribe)
I'm a travel writer currently living in Sydney. My partner and I quit our jobs a year and a half ago to see and do new things across the globe - and we're still doing it!
Published October 2nd 2017
Many people ask us why didn't you snorkel or dive the reef? Well boyfriend can't swim and I freak out in open water if my feet can't touch the ground. So no, snorkelling or diving isn't exactly our idea of fun. I'm sure we aren't the only ones in the world that prefer not to get into (shark-infested) water. It really is an unfortunate misconception that those activities are the best ways to enjoy the reef. I want people to know visiting the reef was the highlight of my life - I love the way we did it and would definitely do it again!

Here is how I explored this amazing natural wonder of the world.

First, my favourite! A scenic flight - just wow! We found a good deal on for a 30-minute scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef. This was never the original plan but I definitely have no regrets. The experience was flawless. We got picked up from our accommodation, went through the safety information, got into the helicopter, waited for some planes to take off as we were sharing the Cairns airport runway. And take off! It didn't take long before we were above the beautiful reef. The colours were so spectacular. So many shades of blue and green, deep and shallow parts, tiny beaches suddenly appearing and little islands sitting proudly in their surroundings. My boyfriend even spotted some manta rays! If you're lucky you may even see some whales. I recommend this 100%, absolutely stunning!

My second favourite, a semi-submersible, this was also pretty awesome! As you get into the boat you walk down some stairs and the bottom half is completely underwater. As the semi-sub goes further out, life in the reef becomes so real and there is so much to see! The sea life down there was completely unfazed by us and went about their daily business. All kinds of fish, sea cucumbers, sea turtles, clams and beautiful coral. And the colours are breathtaking, everything is illuminated and pristine. I 100% recommend this too - a window seat looking into the Great Barrier Reef, it really is out of this world!

Last and least favourite, however still enjoyable, the glass bottom boat. If I had to choose between the semi-submersible or glass bottom boat, I'd say the semi-sub wins! And both experiences were very different even though many people would perceive them to be similar. The floor of the glass bottom boat captures everything while the boat commentator throws some food out. The fish even come up to the surface to take a bite and the birds swoop down to compete, that was quite cool.

So there it is, a run-down of how to enjoy the reef if swimming in it isn't really your thing. I hope that this inspires everyone on how to enjoy this beauty in different ways.
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