Australia is one of the countries that have abundant options of oceans and everything else it can offer. The Great Barrier Reef is without any surprise, one of the most beautiful places on earth. What especially makes this 1400 mile stretch of Australian Coast a natural wonder is its coral shores with its rare geological formations, water life and attractions like the Blue Hole.
Recently with all the pollution and global warming impacts, the biologists are concerned about the climate changes damaging this wonderland. The resultant coral bleaching has been encouraging tourists to opt for more eco-friendly ways of enjoying the reef and the surrounding areas. But don’t let the restrictions stop you from booking your cheap flights to Australia.
There are a few other places in Australia where you can enjoy the waters along with the unique aquatic life such as the Australian great white shark without the crowd of the Great Barrier Reef. Here is our list of such places for you to try out without causing too much of environmental degradation to our planet.
If you ever thought sea lions are cute on videos, then you might actually want to see how it is like to swim with them. It is said to be one of the most delightful wildlife experiences you can encounter. Adventure Bay Charters at Port Lincoln in South Australia is known as one of the pioneers of this adventure. According to them, the sea lions are like the “puppies of the sea.” It becomes obvious why when you see them leap off from the beach into the water encouraging humans to join them. At the Seal Cove, you can enjoy a two hour swim along with these playful creatures diving and jumping. Then you will really know the worth of waterproof cell phones and cameras. An adult swimming rate starts at AUD 205 ($155) per person.
When to go: The best time tends to be between September and early June. There are many tours available by different operators, and it's best to contact them to book accordingly.
What else to do: The town of Port Lincoln is only a 50-minute flight from Rex or Qantas. This pretty small town has a lively dining scene that serves fresh seafood like Del Giorno’s and gourmet food at the restaurant Line and Leblanc at Peter Teakle Wines. There is also the fantastic craft brewery, the Beer Garden Brewing and you can find upscale accommodation at the Port Lincoln Hotel.
The whale shark is the largest fish in the world weighing over 20 tons and with a height that could go up to 40 feet. These mammals migrate through the UNESCO listed Ningaloo Reef of Western Australia each year to feed in the rich plankton waters. Only very few charter boat companies have the license to take visitors to see the whale sharks that includes Ocean Eco Adventures and Live Ningaloo. It is a good point that only ten people are allowed at a time so it is not a crowded area and you can be at ease; well apart from the fact that you are with a shark.
There will be spotter airplanes flying overhead, and once they spot the sharks, they will notify the boat; then jumps the snorkelers into the water to swim with the mighty whales. It is for sure an adrenaline rush in one of the most unique ways. For the rest of the day, you can also spot dolphins, turtles, manta rays and humpback whales.
When to go: The time to visit would be from mid-April through mid-September when the whales migrate, but the most sightings occur from May to July.
What else to do: Located two hours north to Perth, the Ningaloo Reef is in the town of Exmouth. There are excellent resorts in the town like the Manta Rays Ningaloo Beach Resort and Exmouth Escape Resort. However, if you want a bit more relaxed exclusive stay and have a bigger budget, you can opt for the safari style luxury camp in Cape Range National Park, the Sal Salis. There are also dramatic canyons you can hike up. Yardie Creek and Mandu Mandu Gorge have beautiful wildlife including kangaroos, dingos, emus, and echidnas.
Along with Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, to the south of the Great Barrier Reef, humpback whale swims are offered by Sunreef from its base since 2014. With its self-imposed low impact approach, Sunreef takes a maximum of 20 guests per cruise. The ship maintains a distance of 100 meters from all the animals and avoids mother-calf pairs. The whales’ behavior is assessed beforehand for safety concerns and drops the swimmers at a distance from the whale. It leaves up to the whales whether they come closer or not. The rate for one adult comes around to AUD 149 ($112).
When to go: Humpbacks set out on their 7000-mile journey to Antarctica during the winter in Australia. So this year, the whale swim charters will be departing from July 6 to October 22.
What else to do: Just 60 miles from the city of Brisbane, the Sunshine coast is best visited as a day trip from this third largest city in Australia. Brisbane also has a thriving art scene as a result of the development of the South Bank Cultural District. The Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art both have a stunning collection of artworks. In the dining scene, there is the E’cco Bistro by the chef and cookbook author Philip Johnson at the chic Skyring Terrace area. The multi-course tasting menus there showcases produce from Queensland’s farms and fresh seafood.
Lord Howe Island is one of the best-kept secrets of Australia. Listed in the World Heritage Sites, this paradise island is all that remains of the ancient volcanic crater. The peaks covered with forests set against the Tasman Sea gives way for a dramatic landscape that lies midway between Australia and New Zealand.
The island will give you a very close personal experience as only 400 visitors are allowed at a time here. So soon everyone in town will know your name, and you will quickly get acquainted with everyone. The island hosts thousands of seabirds, 90 types of coral, 500 species of fish, endangered hawksbill turtles and green sea turtles. You can easily snorkel with the wit help of tour operators like Islander Cruises and Marine Adventures. Each person would be charged around AUD 50-60 ($38-$45) for a snorkeling cruise.
When to go: The subtropical climate of Lord Howe Island makes it suitable to visit all year round. However, if you are keen to see the turtles, November to April would be the best.
What else to do: You can catch a two-hour flight to Lord Howe Island on Qantas from either Brisbane or Sydney. Our favorites for accommodations are the Arajilla Resort with its lush tropical garden and 12 suites or the Capella Lodge for its luxurious style on the quieter south side of the island. There are many hiking options you can choose from. Also, a DIY beach barbecue at Ned’s beach could become the highlight of your trip.
“Swimming with dolphins” is now a lot more common than it used to be. With many water parks offering the same all around the world, what sets this one apart is how you do it. Rockingham Wild Encounters has been doing the tours since 1989 and by now has familiarized many of the 200 bottlenose dolphins by name, who lives in the area. They are very knowledgeable about the dolphin’s behavior, life cycle and what environmental activities affect them.
When you get into the water with them, you know a lot about them, and it is not like any other swim with dolphin fun. You feel more attached to the dolphins and would absolutely love playing with them. Rockingham also has a 99% success rate of spotting dolphins and getting people near them on any given day.
When to go: These tours run from September through June with a starting price of AUD205 ($155) per person.
What else to do: You can reach Rockingham from Perth with a 45-minute drive from Perth. The area now also has many luxurious hotels including the bohemian tribe Path, COMO The Treasury and the latest, Westin Perth. The city has recently redeveloped its riverfront Elizabeth Quay that now offers restaurants, bars, and shopping options. There is also the Northbridge neighborhood that has become the city's cultural center with institutions like the Art Gallery of WA, the State Theatre, and the Perth Cultural Centre.
The Great White Sharks in Australia is considered as one of the most fearsome predators on earth. The Neptune Islands in Eyre peninsula are one of the places where they are found and where you can go cage diving with them. If you are lucky, you would also come across other varieties of sharks like the bronze whalers and jumper heads. You can get a multi-day sea safari with the option of a surface cage or scuba diving from long-running operators like Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions or a day tour from Calypso Star Charters.
When to go: This one runs all year round. So the best option would be to look for cheapest days to fly if you are confused on dates.
What else to do: Port Lincoln will serve as the base point for this tour. Stay up a few extra days to enjoy the dramatic coastline and activities like beach fishing and picnics. You can also book helicopter tours and Oysterbed tour with operators like Goin’ Off Safaris and Australian Wildlife Adventures.
If you are already planning a trip to Australia, you could add these enticing options for a wild vacation to the list of activities to do. With its varied landscape and climate, Australia is becoming a very trendy tourist destination.
So grab your cheap flights to Australia from USA before it's too late to get the best flight fare on your international flights. All that you have to do is, go to FareDepot and select the best option for you.