We decided our final adventure in Australia would be to experience the world’s largest living structure – The Great Barrier Reef.  The reef stretches over 1,400 miles (2,300 km) and can even be seen from outer space.  The reef and other marine life we saw was spectacular.   Because the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, we were only able to see a tiny fraction of it on our one out on the reef.  We took a one-day snorkel tour with Seastar Cruises; we chose Seastar because they limit their group size to 35 and they had excellent reviews.  Because it’s jelly fish season, we were required to wear lovely blue stinger suits that you’ll notice in the photos.  The reef is a treasure that is being harmed by tourism, but we felt better because Seastar is an eco-conscious tour operator and has an eco-certification and commitment to the sustainability of the reef.  We didn’t want to make a negative impact on such a gorgeous piece of our Earth.  During our day-trip we visited two reef destinations: Michaelmas Cay and Hastings Reef (outer reef).  We enjoyed both areas, but the reef and fish at Hastings Reef were more vibrant and where we saw a sea turtle & some of Nemo’s black striped cousins (Clown fish).

A few days after our tour ont he reef, on our last night in Australia, we indulged in a wonderful Australiana feast.  We dined at Ochre, a local Cairns restaurant serving traditional Australiana cuisine.  We had the “Taste of Australia” 4-course dinner: 

Ochre - Australian AntipastoAustralian Antipasto - green ant ocean trout gravlax, crocodile wonton with red pepper jam, caprese salad, smoked kangaroo with wild spice and mango chutney, and pulled emu on betel leaf

Ochre - Salt and native pepper crocodile and prawns

Salt and native pepper crocodile and prawns with Vietnamese pickles and lemon aspen sambal

Ochre - Char grilled kangaroo sirloin and wallaby

Char grilled kangaroo sirloin with quandong chilli glaze, egg noodle cake and bak choi in hoisin sauce and wallaby topside with smashed kipflers and celeriac remoulade

Ochre - Wattle seed Pavlova with blood orange sorbet

Wattle seed Pavlova served with blood orange sorbet and macadamia biscotti

We had a great six weeks in Australia and hope to return again soon – and hopefully next time Mike will have better luck finding surf!  The people were hospitable, the food was delicious and the beaches were beautiful.  All three things we love and enjoyed about this awesome continent and country of Australia!