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Orpheus Island Resort is surrounded by walking trails, and there are spectacular snorkeling and diving sites right off the beaches, with manta rays the highlight. Resort guests get complimentary use of snorkeling and light fishing gear, as well as canoes, paddle-skis, catamarans, and motorized dinghies in which to buzz from cove to cove. The coral around Orpheus is some of the best in the area, and cruises to the outer reef can be arranged through the resort for an additional fee. Whereas most of the islands are more than 50 km (31 mi) from the reef, Orpheus is just 15 km (9 mi) away. Dive operators on the island provide scuba courses and various boat-diving options.
Outer Reef Dive & Snorkel Excursion. A true Great Barrier Reef island, Orpheus is surrounded by some of the reef's most diverse coral gardens, sheltering 340 of the world's 350 known species of reef coral and more than 1,100 species of fish. Orpheus Island Resort organizes Discover Scuba Training Sessions and first guided dives, half-day local dive trips around the Palm Islands, and full-day charter excursions to the Outer Barrier Reef that include two guided dives, the chance to swim and snorkel, and a generous smorgasbord. Pick-ups from Orpheus Island Resort jetty, Orpheus Island, QLD, 4810. 07/4777-7377. www.orpheus.com.au. Price on application. Daily on demand (pre-booking essential, subject to weather conditions).
Picnic & Snorkel Cruise. A dozen guests at a time can join a daily five-hour cruise around the nearby Palm Islands, stopping at two premium snorkeling sites. Travel is via the resort's purpose-built catamaran, with a gourmet seafood lunch and relaxation time mid-excursion. The resort also runs hour-long PADI Discover Snorkeling pool training sessions and 2½-hour marine-naturalist-led tours of snorkeling spots around the Palm Island group. Orpheus Island Resort jetty, Orpheus Island, QLD, 4810. 07/4777-7377. www.orpheus.com.au. Free for guests. Daily 10-3 picnic cruise.
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