The biggest coral reef in the world and located in the Coral Sea in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is over 2600km long and covers an area over 344,400 square km. There are over 2,900 coral reefs, 600 islands and about 300 coral cays and its ecosystem holds the greatest concentration of life on the planet.
The reef is so vast that it can even be seen from outer space and is now recognised as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It was made a World Heritage Site in 1981 and the Australian government goes to great lengths in protecting this amazing asset to the world.
Sea life on the Barrier Reef is epic! With about 1500 species of fish, 360 of hard corals, between 5000 and 8000 different molluscs, 600 types of echinoderms, 17 species of sea snakes, 1500 of sponges, 30 types of whales and dolphins and 6 different types of marine turtles. Other than the underwater life, 54 species of birds breed on the many islands on the reef.
There are some fantastic holiday destinations to be discovered as there are tropical islands galore. Some of the best include Wilson Island, Heron Island, Hayman Island, Hamilton Island, Daydream Island and Lizard Island. There’s nothing like them anywhere in world and offer amazing experiences, the most amazing being diving and snorkelling.
The easiest way to explore the islands and reef is off the coast of Cairns, Port Douglas, Airlie Beach or Townsville. From budget liveaboards to luxury cruises, you’ll find a trip for any budget and booking is easy from any of the towns mentioned. A lot of the islands have a small airport so you can fly there or catch a speedboat from the nearest coastal town.
With so many coral reefs to explore, you could spend years diving on the Great Barrier Reef and not see everything. It’s such a special place to visit and one you’ll never forget.
(By Kelly Luckman)