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How to Experience the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

How to Experience the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Some things in this world are so awe-inspiring that they take your breath away. The Grand Canyon. The Taj Mahal. The aurora borealis. And, of course, the Great Barrier Reef.

Located in the Coral Sea off the Queensland coast, Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most incredible natural wonders and the largest coral reef system.

What is the Great Barrier Reef?

Coral Outcrop Flynn Reef
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It’s home to some of the most diverse marine life globally, including more than 1,500 species of fish, 4,000 species of coral, and 400 species of seaweed.

A living structure that has become synonymous with the word coral, the Great Barrier Reef is both breathtaking and exotic in its own right. It has been a world heritage site by UNESCO since 1981.

As a visitor to the reef, you will experience and see things you never thought possible, and you will begin to understand how important it is to the development and health of the entire planet.

The barrier reef is located off the Eastern coast of Australia and stretches for over 2,000 miles.

It is both the largest and the fastest disappearing living structure globally. But what makes this natural habitat so breathtaking, and what can you hope to see and experience on your visit?

How to get to the Great Barrier Reef

Coral reef
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

There are many ways to get to the Great Barrier Reef. You can fly into Cairns, the closest major city to the reef.

You can take a boat ride or a helicopter tour to see the reef. Alternatively, you can fly into Brisbane and take a road trip to the reef. No matter how you get there, you’re sure to have an amazing experience!

Tips for Visiting the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most incredible natural wonders, and a visit is sure to be a highlight of any trip to Australia. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit.

Firstly, bring your sunscreen and hats – the reef can be quite hot and sunny, even on cloudy days.

Secondly, take care when swimming – there are many reefs and rocks just below the surface, so it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings.

Thirdly, don’t touch or stand on the coral – it’s very delicate, and even the best human intentions can cause damage.

Finally, remember to respect the wildlife – many of the animals that call the reef home are quite shy, so it’s best to keep your distance and enjoy them from a safe distance.

With these tips in mind, you’re sure to have an amazing experience on the Great Barrier Reef!

What to bring

A Great Barrier Reef trip is an amazing experience, but it’s important to remember to pack everything you’ll need. Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses are a must as swimwear and reef-safe sunscreen.

You’ll also want to bring a camera to capture the reef’s beauty!

Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated in the tropical climate. And don’t forget your sense of adventure – the Great Barrier Reef is a place where you can explore and discover new things around every corner.

What to see in the Great Barrier Reef?

There are over 3,000 different reefs located within the Great Barrier, and each one is home to a diverse group of animal life seen nowhere else in the world. The reef is home to sharks, fish, and a vast array of unimaginatively beautiful corals.

The reef is like an underwater mega city where all the ocean species meet to rest and fuel up for their next journey. That makes it especially unique for divers who journey under the surface to enjoy seeing marine life they would never have otherwise.

Visitors to the reef have access to hundreds of marine operators, including charter boats, range rover tours, helicopter tours, bare boats, whale watching, swimming with the dolphins, and glass-bottomed boats.

All of which enriches the experience of seeing the reef in person. Regardless of your budget, once you make it to Australia, you have to visit the amazing Great Barrier Reef and lay eyes on the amazing life that resides under the ocean.

There is no guarantee that the reef will be around for your children or even grandchildren to see, and although attempts are being made to preserve it, it remains a struggle to keep fully alive and healthy.

Experience the Great Barrier Reef for yourself and enjoy the best the ocean offers.

Marine Life in the Great Barrier Reef

Beneath the Great Barrier Reef waves, you’ll find an astounding variety of marine life. Huge schools of brightly-colored fish can swim among the coral, while dolphins, sea turtles, and sharks often put on a show for divers.

The reef is also home to many different kinds of coral, including both hard and soft varieties. Some corals can grow over two feet high, forming spectacular underwater gardens.

In addition to its vast array of marine life, the Great Barrier Reef is also one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

The colors of the water shift from deep blue to turquoise and green as you dive down; minke whales, manta rays, and the coral cays and formations are a rainbow of pinks, oranges, and whites.

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Best Things to Do in the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most popular tourist destinations globally. There are plenty of things to do and see in this amazing place, including:

Snorkeling

Couple Snorkeling

One of the best ways to experience the reef is by snorkeling. You can see all kinds of fish and coral up close and personal.

Snorkeling tours are a great way to see the Great Barrier Reef. You’ll explore the reef and see all kinds of fish and coral. Most tours include equipment rental and instruction on how to use it.

Most tours also offer transportation to and from the reef and snacks and drinks. Some tours even include a meal or two.

Book your tour in advance, as spaces fill up quickly. And remember to pack sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses!

Scuba Diving

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try scuba diving? This will allow you to explore even more of the reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most popular scuba diving destinations globally. It offers divers a chance to explore some of the most diverse and beautiful marine life.

There are many different dive sites to choose from, each with its unique features. Whether you’re looking for coral gardens, shipwrecks, or sea turtles, the Great Barrier Reef has something for everyone.

Kayaking

Group Kayaking in Clear Waters

Another great way to explore the reef is by kayaking. This allows you to go at your own pace and take in all the sights.

Gliding over the crystal-clear water, surrounded by brightly-colored coral and fish, is an amazing way to explore this truly remarkable place.

You can paddle around corals, into caves, and under arches and get up close and personal with marine life. It’s an amazing way to experience the beauty and diversity of this natural wonder.

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Glass Bottom Boat

The glass bottom boat is a great way to experience the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef.

As you cruise along the reef, you can see the colorful fish and coral up close without getting wet! It’s a great way to learn about the reef and its inhabitants and get some amazing photos.

You can always take a glass-bottom boat tour if you don’t feel like getting wet. This will give you a great view of the reef without getting in the water. Some tours come with tropical buffet lunch.

Coral reef viewing (submarines)

Red Submarine

The submarine tours are a great way to see the reef up close. You can see the beautiful coral reefs and fish swimming around them.

The submarines are equipped with large windows so that you can get a good view of everything.

The tour lasts about an hour, and you will see some of the most beautiful parts of the reef. To see the beautiful corals is among the reason to visit the great barrier reef.

Swimming

Man Swimming

Swimming in the Great Barrier Reef is an amazing experience. The colors of the fish and coral are so vibrant, and it’s cool to be swimming among them. The reef is also a great place to snorkel since there are so many different types of fish to see.

Boating

Boat in the Middle of the Ocean

Many people enjoy boating in the Great Barrier Reef. The clear turquoise waters and the diverse marine life make for a perfect day on the water. There are many places to dock your boat and explore the reef.

You can find crystal-clear swimming holes, beautiful coral gardens, and secluded beaches. Pack your sunscreen, snacks, and drinks, and enjoy a day of boating in paradise!

Islands Surrounding the Great Barrier Reef

Hamilton Island 

White Sand of Hamilton Island 

Hamilton Island is located in the Whitsundays, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Queensland, Australia.

The island is situated in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and offers stunningly beautiful scenery, crystal-clear waters, and some of the best beaches in the country. Hamilton Island is also home to various luxury resorts, including the world-famous Qualia Resort.

Lady Musgrave Island

Ocean and Sunset

It is located in the southern section of the Great Barrier Reef. The island was first discovered by Captain James Cook in 1770 and named after his wife, Lady Margaret Musgrave.

The island is about 1 kilometer long and 500 meters wide. It has a maximum elevation of 6 meters above sea level.

The island is surrounded by a beautiful coral reef that teems with aquatic life. It’s not uncommon to see dolphins, turtles, and tropical fish swimming around the island.

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Whitsunday Island

Aerial View of an Island Bar

The Whitsunday Island is one of the many islands located in the Great Barrier Reef. One of the beautiful places to relax on the island is Airlie Beach.

It is a popular tourist destination and offers some of the best diving and snorkeling globally. The Whitsunday islands are also home to several resorts and luxury hotels.

Daydream Island 

It is a luxury resort island located in the Whitsundays, a tropical area in Queensland, Australia.

The island is situated in the Coral Sea and is surrounded by 74 other islands. It is known for its white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush vegetation.

Fitzroy Island

Ocean and Mountain View of Fitzroy Island

Fitzroy Island is one of the many islands that make up the Great Barrier Reef. It’s located about 48 kilometers from the mainland city of Cairns. The island is a popular tourist destination thanks to its beautiful beaches and pristine corals.

Fitzroy Island is also home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, and it is a natural beauty to appreciate the Great Barrier Reef doesn’t require a trip to one of the islands.

There are plenty of vantage points on the mainland where you can snap photos or take in the beauty of this natural wonder.

Green Island

Pathway Leading to the Ocean

Green Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s easy to see why with its crystal-clear waters, lush rainforest, and white-sand beaches. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities here, including swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay located in the southern Great Barrier Reef, about midway between Bundaberg and Fraser Island. The island is 11 hectares or 0.11 square kilometers in size.

It is located in the Capricorn Sea and has a maximum elevation of 3 meters above sea level. It is part of the Capricorn and Bunker Group of Islands.

The island is part of the Capricorn and Bunker Group of Islands. The island has a public school, a small general store, a lighthouse, beachfront accommodation, and a dive center.

Lizard Island

Landscape and Ocean View from Lizard Island

Lizard Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Great Barrier Reef. It’s located about 24 km northeast of Cairns and is well known for its dive sites, secluded beaches, and crystal-clear waters.

The island has about 10 square kilometers and is covered in a rainforest that’s home to coral trout, and other tropical fish.

Magnetic Island

Ocean Sunset

Magnetic Island is located just off the coast of Townsville in North Queensland, Australia.

The island is approximately 8 square kilometers and is covered in tropical rainforest. Magnetic Island is a popular tourist destination known for its wildlife, beaches, and coral reefs. Explore the island through a fun tour.

Heron Island

Aerial View of Heron Island
Heron Island harbour” by ciamabue is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Heron Island is located in the southern Great Barrier Reef and is one of Australia’s most popular diving destinations.

The island is surrounded by coral reefs, making it a paradise for divers and snorkelers. Heron Island is also home to various aquatic life, including sea turtles, dolphins, and whales.

Orpheus Island

Island Shoreline
Orpheus Island” by Mark Gillow is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Orpheus Island is a stunning piece of paradise located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

The island is surrounded by crystal clear waters and offers some of the best diving, helicopter tour, and fishing in the world. It’s also home to various wildlife, including dugongs, turtles, and dolphins.

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Kate @ Babaganosh.org

Friday 8th of August 2014

I cant imagine how beautiful and breathtaking it must be to actually dive in the great barrier reef! So jealous of people who (1) have the opportunity to go there and (2) are not scared of scuba diving and all the creatures who live in the ocean haha!