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Australia's Great Barrier Reef: A Reef Refined 
Adventure-approved excursions for right now.   By Costas Christ
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The Base Camp
WHY GO: August is prime time for the Great Barrier Reef—clear waters, no cyclones, and daily temperatures near 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27degrees Celsius). At Voyages Lizard Island Resort, inside Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the Coral Sea begins mere steps from 40 stylish open-air rooms. Guests can slip out of bed, stride onto the white-sand beach, and dive straight into the water. Under the surface, gardens of three-foot-wide giant clams are found close to shore along with huge schools of yellowtail fusiliers—just two of the 1,500 species that inhabit these waters. On land, you'll trek to a peak that Captain James Cook climbed in 1770, when he discovered the island. Each night you'll enjoy amenities that Cook's crew would've mutinied for, including torch-lit dinners on the beach, served with wines from the finest Australian vineyards.
NEED TO KNOW: Australia's national museum operates its flagship coral research station on Lizard Island. The station invites visitors to learn about the 1,429-mile-long (2,300-kilometer-long) reef from its resident scientists.
Days: 5

Outfitter: Voyages

Cost: $3,615

Photograph courtesy of Voyages

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Adventure's September 2006 issue features 31 amazing adventure towns; chaos at the top of Mount Everest; an inside look at surfing California's Lost Coast; 11 fall weekend getaways near you; the best high-tech footwear, world class adventure travel; hiking the Alps, and more!

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