10 – 15th May 2014
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef, with over 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays. It already suffers the impacts of industry, agriculture and shipping and is extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Both the reef and surrounding coastland will be further impacted if plans to dramatically expand coal and gas mining and exports from Central Queensland go ahead. On top of these pressures are the challenges of managing the largest coral reef and marine national park in the world and the potential impact of sea level rise and warming sea water on the reef and coastal area.
Field trip dinner and overview of itinerary.
|Day 2||Gladstone to Heron Island
Boat trip around Gladstone Port and information about current environmental issues including fish disease and proposed port developments on the nearby coast.
Travel to Heron Island by boat and meet scientific researchers and marine park managers on the island. Experience first-hand the magnificent Great Barrier Reef with a snorkelling trip.
|Day 3||Heron Island to Gladstone
Further exploration of local reef research and issues with a small amount of free time. Then travel by boat back to Gladstone. Official field trip reception to meet key not-for-profit organisations and hear from land and reef managers.
|Day 4||Gladstone to Airlie Beach
Bus to Mackay, hearing from key non-government organisations working on mining and reef issues on the way. Meet with Mackay and Louisa Creek community groups who are living in the shadow of Queensland’s biggest coal export facilities and dealing with plans for two more terminals in the vicinity. Visit the port to see some of the issues first hand and then travel by bus to Airlie Beach.
|Day 5||Airlie Beach
Meet with tourism operators and other local organisations to explore the challenges they face with environmental pressures on the reef and the expansion of the coal industry. In the afternoon take a guided nature walk in the Conway National Park near Airlie Beach.
|Day 6||Airlie Beach to Port Douglas
Travel by bus to Townsville. Meet with North Queensland Conservation Council and other non-government organisations. Fly to Port Douglas for the night.
|Day 7||Port Douglas
Boat trip and snorkelling on reef with Team Wild, ecotourism and social venture company.