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Reef Report for Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Headed to the Great Barrier Reef?
Get out bush as well!

A friend sent me the picture below, which they entitled "Accurate Mud Map of Australia" and my first reaction was to laugh at the puddle, which is remarkably shaped just like the country; a mud map it is!

My second reaction was a recollection of all the great times I have had in the outback of Australia. © Russ Hodgemann For years I led mountain bike tours in the remote Cape York wilderness, and spent several months each year with small groups camping and riding in the dry country and rainforests of Australia.

The dry air, the expansive views, the remote the chance to camp pretty much anywhere, the incredible peacefulness and the wildlife are all great memories. Watching visitors marvel at the beauty of the outback, and unwind into a more relaxed mode of life are equally important memories.

I am lucky to say that I have many more chances to get out and explore the outback. What I hope to do in this short article is convince you to take the time to so as well. If you are visiting Cairns or anywhere on the Queensland coast you just have to get a short distance inland to go home with the sort of memories I have.

There are all sorts of ways to get out bush. The easiest way is to take an organized bush tour, which are called safaris here. There are safaris from 2 to 15 days in length departing from Cairns and nearly every major city in Australia. We index many of them in our Adventures Section, and have extensive files of many more we can share with you. Most of the trips are based around 4WD vehicles that can access the region, although some are horse or mule trips, bicycle tours and motorcycle tours. The majority of safaris are fully outfitted camping safaris, where they supply the food, water, tents and all the other gear you need. A few take advantage of the limited supply of lodging in the small towns that are found out beyond the backyard as well.

If you are the do-it-yourself type you can even rent a fully-equipped 4WD, complete with all the camping gear, and even a fridge. Just drive to the grocery store to stock it up, then away you go! Keep in mind that you do need to choose and plan a route, as there are some very remote areas where help is not easily available.

Sound interesting? Contact us and tell us what you are looking for, we are glad to make recommendations and any necessary arrangements for you!

(C) DiveTheReef The weekly reef report is written by Joel Groberg of DiveTheReef.com, who compiles them from the many conversations he has with dive staff in the area, as well as  many other local sources in the dive community.

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