DOWN UNDER: Kate Dodd and Michael Schmidt scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.
DOWN UNDER: Kate Dodd and Michael Schmidt scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

Stay close for holidays

DARLING it's better down where it's wetter, take it from me.

Those are the wise words of Sebastian the crab.

He might be a fictional character from that fabulous Disney movie from our childhoods, The Little Mermaid, but that doesn't make it less true.

There are no words to describe the wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef and it's right on our doorstep.

Many of us, myself included, place a high priority on visiting countries overseas, but I think we need to open our eyes and look at what we've got in our own backyard too.

I recently went on a road trip from Rockhampton to Cairns, stopping along the way at Townsville, Mossman, Port Douglas, Cairns and Mission Beach.

They were all beautiful (Mossman was definitely a favourite) but the highlight of the trip was definitely the reef, which is one of the seven wonders of the natural world.

And a wonder it is.

Reef Experience was our pick for a day out in the water, but there are many others to choose from.

The crew was fantastic, with people from all over the world, and they took us out to two different outer reef spots.

Scuba diving and snorkelling with a marine biologist is the perfect way to see the underwater world.

Introductory scuba diving only lasts for 20 minutes and goes down about six metres.

It's a whole new world - there's so much life and colour as far as the eye can see.

And the fish! There are so many kinds of fish, just swimming around, living their little fishy lives.

While you're underwater, you don't think about much else except how beautiful the underwater world is.

But it's also filled with a little sadness, because among all of the beauty, there's death.

And a lot more than you might think - climate change is a real thing and so is coral bleaching.

I recommend snorkelling with a marine biologist too.

While the snorkelling part is pretty easy, it's always better to have a guide with you. I think it helps you get more out of the experience.

Our marine biologist (Harry) pointed out many types of different fish, including Nemo (a clown fish for the uninitiated), a Moorish Idol (who became famous as Gill, the badass in the fish tank from Finding Nemo) and parrot fish.

The parrot fish were particularly cool, because they swim around the coral and clean it.

You might be lucky enough, like we were, to actually hear them nibbling on the coral.

But coral and fish weren't the only underwater life to be seen - there are giant clams and jellyfish - but don't worry, they're not all bad.

There are some good ones that just float around and do their thing too.

So, if you take nothing else from this, just take the time to think about your next holiday.

Instead of spending thousands on a plane ticket across the world, get in your car and drive around and discover the beauty of our own beautiful county first.

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