The Great Barrier Reef is appropriately described by superlatives. It’s the largest organic structure evercreated on the planet. At 1250 miles long, it’s easily viewed from outer space and its broad frontiers encompass one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems. Roughly 400 species of coral provide habitat for over 1500 varieties of fish and several thousand invertebrate species. Starting at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney, this Sea for Yourself adventure uniquely combines comfortable accommodations, good food and hot showers with a rich educational program organized in cooperation with the Heron Island Marine Station.
The Great Barrier Reef is appropriately described by superlatives. It’s the largest organic structure ever created on the planet. At 1250 miles long, it’s easily viewed from outer space, and its broad frontiers encompass one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems. Roughly 400 species of coral provide habitat for over 1500 varieties of fish and several thousand invertebrate species. For our explorations of this area, we have chosen Heron Island as our base featuring a modest, but well-established infrastructure.
Located approximately 45 miles offshore, Heron Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef, and a classic example of a true coral cay. The island is surrounded by white sand beaches, a broad reef terrace, and excellent shallow gardens of hard coral. Using our private boat, we will be able to take full advantage of the many rich snorkeling environments this reef system has to offer.
While our program centers on Heron Island, we begin our journey in Sydney. For our time in Sydney, we’ve worked diligently to organize activities relevant to our interests in the marine environment.
Species great and small
Whenever possible, we plan to coordinate our snorkeling activities with the tides, allowing us calm, protected conditions and the chance to observe and compare fish behavior at different times of day. We also considered nature’s chronology of animal behavior. We hope that a highlight of this program will be the opportunity to snorkel with massive green turtles, and to reserve one evening to witness their nesting behavior on a nearby beach.
Our program begins with a group flight departing from San Francisco. Upon arrival in Sydney we transfer to the Four Seasons Sydney, our hotel for the next two nights. Lunch is on our own. In the afternoon, we plan a cruise of the Sydney Harbor. While cruising one of the world’s largest natural harbors, we enjoy afternoon tea/coffee, biscuits and the famous Sydney skyline. At night, we will have a program orientation, followed by dinner.
After breakfast, we transfer to the Sydney Aquarium where we’ve arranged to have a special guided tour of the exhibits, featuring an extensive Great Barrier Reef display. After a guided tour and delectable lunch at the Sydney Fish Market, we encourage individual explorations of Sydney’s cultural and culinary attractions. We have scheduled free time for the afternoon and evening.
After breakfast, we transfer to the Sydney airport for our 3-hour flight to Gladstone. Upon arrival, we drive to the nearby dock for our highspeed catamaran shuttle to Heron Island (approximately 2 hours). After checking into the resort, we will continue with an orientation of Heron Island and an overview of responsible snorkeling practices, including special concerns relevant to the Great Barrier Reef.
Typically mornings and early afternoons are devoted to snorkeling the various reef environments around Heron Island. From our private boat we will visit protected shallow reefs where gardens of hard coral harbor numerous species of colorful reef fish. The early evenings are spent enjoying slide and video lectures, and interpretive sessions by resident researchers.
After a morning at leisure, our high-speed catamaran departs the island and returns us to Gladstone where we overnight. This evening we celebrate with farewell drinks and dinner.
After breakfast, we transfer to the Gladstone airport for our return flights.
$TBD per person, based on double occupancy
For those requesting a single room an additional supplement of $TBD will be added to the tour cost. Please be advised that single space is limited and subject to availability.
If you wish to share a room we will do our best to find a roommate for you. If, by the time of departure a share cannot be found, and space is available, you will be charged a single supplement.
The tour fee includes…
All group bus, and boat, most meals as indicated in the itinerary, accommodations in resorts and hotels as specified, all snorkeling activities, cultural and natural history excursions, local taxes, group gratuities to resort/hotel staff, services of the trip leader including any needed snorkeling lessons and biology lectures.
The tour fee does not include international airfare from San Francisco to Sydney, domestic airfare (to connect with group international flights), air transfers in Australia, deviations from international group flights, air upgrades, departure taxes, medical immunizations, medical expenses, visa and passport fees, accident/ baggage/ cancellation insurance, individual transfers, excess baggage charges, meals not specified in the itinerary, dishes and beverages not part of included meals, alcoholic beverages, laundry, telephone or fax charges, room service, Sea for Yourself staff gratuities, rental gear, SCUBA diving activities and other items of a personal nature.
Other terms and conditions exist. Please see all the information listed in the download section
Although Sea for Yourself does not issue airline tickets, we will arrange for a discounted airfare. If you wish, we can also arrange for U.S. domestic air flights (to connect to international flights).
Participants will receive an air request form with more information on international and U.S./Australia domestic air ticketing.
If you prefer to make your own international flight arrangements, a surcharge for the domestic air within Australia on specific group flights will apply.
The Heron Island Resort, has been awarded a four star designation. The resort provides roomy and tasteful accommodations, excellent management, and delicious food. For our group, we’ve elected rooms in a garden or balcony setting, which feature private baths, tea/coffee making facilities, refrigerators, ceiling fans, and daily maid service. Near the lobby, there are internet kiosks and telephones that can be used for domestic and international calls.
Go to http://www.heronisland.com for more information.
For our time in Sydney we plan to stay at a 5-star hotel , located in the historic Rocks district. Both of Sydney’s most famous architectural icons, the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House, (in addition to a host of shops, cafes, and the Circular Cay ferry terminal), are just short walks from the hotel.
Deposits & Payments
A deposit of $850, plus a signed, completed reservation form confirms your registration for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. You will be notified when your space on the program is confirmed.
Final payment, plus single supplement, if applicable, is due 4 months prior to departure.
For more information please read our cancellation and refund policy in the download section.
This program will be enjoyed by all snorkelers from novice to expert. Our trip leaders will gladly provide any needed snorkeling instruction, from floating to free-diving. Whenever possible, we will seek out protected waters for our snorkeling excursions, but at times the surface may be choppy due to wind.
Daytime temperatures in the areas we’re visiting during the month of November range from the low 70’s to the low 90’s. Although we have selected this month because of low rainfall, in the tropics, there is always a chance of rain. Water temperature during this period ranges from the low 70’s to the low 80’s.
Sea for Yourself provides participants who are U.S. or Canadian citizens with limited medical, accident and evacuation coverage under our group travel insurance policy. We highly recommend the purchase of optional baggage and trip cancellation insurance; information will be sent to registrants. Exclusions for pre-existing conditions may be waived with the prompt purchase of travel insurance.