Diary of the WU3A Group of Friend’s Barrier Reef Discovery Cruise

Let your troubles float away on Pacific Aria. 

We all met at Tullamarine Airport for an early flight to Brisbane Airport. The bus picked us up and took us to our ship –  P.O Ship Pacific Aria.  Lunch was waiting for us all to enjoy and the suitcases were taken care of by the crew. We departed from Brisbane around 2pm for our 7-night cruise. Visits on our itinerary included Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, Cairns, Willis Island and back Brisbane.

Day 1 Brisbane 27/10/2017. Sightseeing the ship; there are 12 levels, and about 2.000 people on board including staff and passengers and we just relaxed.

Day 2 at Sea 28/10/2017. Lots of different activities for everybody to enjoy; workshops, movies, dancing, theatre, or just being near the pool. Choose one of 3.

Day 3 Hamilton Island, Australia 29/10/2017. We went into a tender (this is a smaller ship that takes us to the harbour as the liner cannot approach due to its size) and leaving the ship for the day. We took a free bus travelling around the Island, stopping whenever we wanted to have a drink or meal, and then got back on again to see and hear more about the Island.

Day 4 Cairns 30/10/2017. There were buses to take us to where we had booked our trips, and some of us went on tours, others went to different places, e.g Port Douglas. We had      pre-booked our tours either from home or on the internet on the ship.

Day 5 Cairns 31/10/2017. Some people took taxis to the township of Cairns, walking around for couple of hours’.  There is so much to see, such a big place, and beautiful beaches. Cairns is a modern and vibrant city and the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest. Cairns is an ideal base to explore the wonderful attractions Tropical North Queensland has to offer.

Day 6 01/11/2017. We dropped anchor at Willis Island as this was a Scenic Cruising only. Willis Island is where the Bureau of Meteorology calls home, ‘weather watch’ in QLD. Observations for Extreme Weather Records.

“Willis Island formed tens of thousands of years ago when coral grew on a seamount or ancient volcano that drowned after the last ice age when sea waters rose. Slowly, wave action pounded the coral into coarse sand, then seabirds helped vegetate what would have otherwise been a barren lump in the ocean. Their droppings contained the seeds, and provided the fertiliser that gradually built up the thick vegetation on the island. Willis Island’s real value to Australia has been as a weather station. Since 1921 it has provided north east Queensland with an early warning “ear” that detects cyclones. Located 450 kilometres northeast of Townsville, Willis Island is one of Australia’s most remote weather stations. It is staffed by three observers and one technician who live and work there for six months at a time”.

Day 7 at Sea 02/11/2017, Pacific Aria entertainment & activities; Theatre, Bars and Lounges, Day and Night, Blue Room, Ocean Bar, Salt Grill Bar, Oasis Bar, Pools, Recreation, Sun Decks.

Day 8 Brisbane 03/11/2017, Disembarked the ship by 8.15am, and our bus was waiting to get us all back to the airport. We had a spare couple of hours, and some of us went into Brisbane township to do some shopping, and some stayed at the airport. We all had a great time away. People have asked where our next destination might be, Broome maybe?

Who’s for the next adventure?