Ocean spirit at great barrier reef, Australia

Ocean Spirit

Ocean Spirit

An ocean spirit tour to great barrier reef is a must if you come to Australia, which is the worlds largest coral reef system. But be prepared, as it is a long and tiring day out with children.

Our day started very early in the morning, with the pick up of the tour company from our hotel for ocean spirit. However, we found out that, we were not the only one to be picked, and the bus that took us, would also visit another dozen of hotels and look for the other attendees of the tour. So it took us more than an hour to reach the harbor-not a nice start. Than we queued at the harbor for check-in, which meant another half hour or so waiting everyone to come. Finally, it was about 10:00 when we started our journey.

Looks like a wonderful boat

Looks like a wonderful boat

Our boat was a nice, big, white catamaran with enough space inside and outside. We preferred to settle down on the top deck, at a rather secluded corner to keep away from the wind.

Michaelmas Cay

Michaelmas Cay

It took us another 2 hours to reach our destination-Michaelmas Cay. So it was already noon and everyone was already tired when we finally got there. After listening the safety information in the most attractive and fun way, presented by the staff, we were told that we had 3 hours there, to eat, swim, snorkeling, explore the coral reef with the glass boat and enjoy the sand.

First we decided to get off on the beach, for our son to swim and for us to enjoy the birds and the sand.

Lovely beach?

Lovely beach?

No need to be jealous of me. First of all, there was a rope around a very small part of the beach, and it was forbidden to go beyond, in order to protect the wildlife, especially the birds. Secondly, when I say “the birds” I mean an Alfred Hitchcock film-like birds, zillions of them shouting all the time, but more importantly smelling really really awful.

No passing the rope

No passing the rope

You should hear them and smell them

You should hear them and smell them

So it took our son just a few minutes to swim and we returned to our boat immediately to have lunch. The lunch was not bad. Sushi for our sushi-monster-son, nice seafood and vegetables. After lunch, we took the glass boat, where about 50 people sit in a boat-let me say a semi-sub-marine, where the majority of the boat is under the sea. A bit depressive if you are claustrophobic, but you can sit at the very back of the boat and have some fresh air over there.

Coral Reef

Coral Reef

This is a really enjoyable experience for the children. You can both explore the underwater beauty and stay dry at the same time. Moreover, there is a guide, telling about the fish and the reef and you can search for Nemo, for sure you will find him.

Our return to our hotel was about another 4 hours, 2 hours on boat, 1 hour for everyone to find the right bus back and 1 hour to the hotel, with many stops on the way. So as I said, it is a nice experience, but there should be an easier or leaner way to do this tour. The main activity of the day takes just a few hours, but it takes all day, so make sure to take enough books or whatever to kill time on the way.

Feeding the fish

Feeding the fish

 

Australian Reptile Park

Remember our tour to Blue Mountains and where we stopped was Featherdale wildlife park. A nice park that impressed us all. However, the Australian Reptile Park we have been the day after was much more better, clean, interesting, hands on and fun to go.

Learning the difference between crocodile and elegator

Learning the difference between crocodile and alligator

As soon as we entered the park, a cute baby crocodile (or was it alligator? I guess I still do not know the difference) was introduced to us by a very polite and patient caretaker. While we were listening the information about the alligator (or was it crocodile?), another cute animal of Australia came to join us:

Koala

Koala

A baby Koala I loved to hug and smell eucalyptus. So clean and so happy, that you would like to take home to keep on your bedside. I’ve never thought of it that it would be smelling so nice.

Sleeping Koalas

Sleeping Koalas

In the mean time we were served some tea with delicious cookies, while we were enjoying to touch and take close photograph of  alligator and koala.

Than we took a walk around the park. Every corner was very clean and all the animals were carefully taken care off. Another interesting corner of the park was the spiders hall, where various kinds of spiders from all over the world were kept and exhibited. Finally, we did some shopping at the gift shop and headed to Hunter Valley, to explore the fine wines.

See you later, alligator.