A travel and lifestyle blog

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Great Barrier Reef tour with Skedaddle

One of the things I was most excited about to see during our trip to Australia was the great barrier reef. It's worth flying to Cairns even if you don't want to see anything else because the reef itself is worth the trip. 

If you do end up going then I'd recommend staying at Gilligans hostel. We stayed here after our lovely break at Tide 9 and it was cheap, fun and the location was great; We were about 15 minutes walk to the harbour where all the reef boats were stationed. A lot of the people we met there were off out to the reef as well and just wanted an overnight base.

Before we arrived in Cairns I did a little research on who to go with for a reef tour because there are so many operators, each with quite widely different prices and I wanted to make sure we would pick a good one. I heard a lot about giant boats taking hours to travel to the reef and back so even for a 'full day' tour you were actually only getting a couple hours in the water. I definitely didn't want to do that because I can get a little sea-sick and I personally would always rather pay more for a better experience. It cost us $135 each in total and was well worth it ($115 for the tour and a $20 reef levy that you have to pay at the harbour).

I ending up booking with Skedaddle who have a speed boat that takes 45 minutes each way to get to the reef. We were literally passing boat tours on the way, so it was a good choice. The crew were really friendly and kitted us out with wetsuits, flippers and snorkels as soon as we got on board and also told us we could get lifejackets or pool noodles if we wanted to once we reached the reef. There were only about 8 people on board so it felt really fun and I just loved it.

(All reef photos by Skedaddle)

They say on their website that because the boat is so quick it can be very turbulent, so we had some sea-sickness tablets before we went and we were fine. They also told us this in person when we boarded but since initially the boat took a while to get up to speed, it was smooth-sailing so I just thought 'they're being OTT about safety'...until it got started and then I was gripping on to the seats for dear life and absolutely crying with laughter because it was like being on a roller coaster - It was so much fun. It felt very safe but was such a laugh. I'm really glad I had those seasickness tablets though.

On our way out to the reef we also saw a humpback whale. This was ironic since in Sydney we went on a whale watching tour but we didn't see much apart from a few tails. This time the whale came right up to us and starting breaching (when they launch themselves out the water and sort of belly flop down).

Then pretty quickly, we arrived at Hastings reef. I took a pool noodle with me to help me float and although I look like very uncool in the photos it did make it a lot easier to swim about. 

How horrendous do we look hahaha.

One of the crew took us around the reef for about an hour pointing out the different species and telling us information about them before we had time where we could swim on our own. They also took pictures for us which was great because I had forgotten my GoPro (purchased specifically for the reef....what a noob haha). 

There was even a float ring you could hold on to so you could be pulled along the reef if you weren't confident at swimming and they were actively encouraging people to use it when they felt tired so I thought that was good.

I had such a great experience and absolutely loved the reef as well as the journey to and from it so if you're in Cairns I would definitely recommend it.


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