Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

This Lady Reefs in Nature's Wonders; Island Is an Accessible Jewel Cared for by Passionate Staff and Home to Massive Manta Rays

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

This Lady Reefs in Nature's Wonders; Island Is an Accessible Jewel Cared for by Passionate Staff and Home to Massive Manta Rays

Article excerpt

Byline: TRAVEL with Hayley Nissen

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Getting there: Flights to Lady Elliot Island leave Bundaberg Airport at 8.40am and depart at 4pm.

Cost: Adults, $365; children $210.

Inclusions: Return scenic flight to Lady Elliot Island; welcome drink; orientation tour; glass- bottomed boat guided tour; snorkel equipment hire; hot and cold buffet lunch; afternoon guided activity/tour; use of day guest facilities

What to take: Swimmers, hat, sunscreen, underwater camera.

Overnight: There are various accommodation options available at the Eco Resort, ranging in price from $157 to $386. Packages are also available.

THE AZURE waters of the Great Barrier Reef glisten like diamonds from 10,000 feet in the air.

It's an enticing sight for visitors on a flight from Bundaberg to Lady Elliot Island, on the reef's southern tip. The flight's 30 minutes feel like five as an eagle-eyed pilot instructs passengers to keep their eyes peeled for migrating humpback whales.

Touching down on the coral cay at 9am, the excitement is palpable as the possibility of what awaits stretches ahead.

We are given a welcome drink at the Eco Lodge and an orientation of the island before our guide for the day runs us through an itinerary.

After being fitted with wetsuits and snorkelling gear, we head to the lagoon on the eastern side of the island.

We've been told the lagoon is one of the most spectacular parts of the reef, brimming with tropical fish, colourful coral and sea life.

Because it is sheltered, we were are able to snorkel to the far reaches of the lagoon and it wasn't long before someone spotted a green turtle, then another as underwater cameras worked hard capturing the beauty below the surface.

We were given about an hour to explore the lagoon before being rounded up for a ride on a glass-bottomed boat. …

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