Reasons To Visit The Great Barrier Reef – We’ve all seen breathtaking images of the Great Barrier Reef and often imagined ourselves enjoying a relaxing tropical vacation exploring this amazing piece of paradise.
More than two million people from all over the world do just that every year, and if you need even more convincing why you should be one of them, then here are ten reasons why you should venture out and visit the Great Barrier Reef for yourself.
Reasons To Visit The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is amazing! Not only is it the largest living reef system in the world, but it is also the largest living structure on Earth.
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In area, meaning it is about the same size as Japan or Italy, or the equivalent of 70 million football pitches. When you combine that with its intoxicating beauty and unique marine life, it’s no wonder it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.
The Great Barrier Reef consists of 2,900 individual coral reefs that are home to a staggering array of marine life including 600 different types of soft and hard corals, over 100 species of jellyfish, 3,000 species of molluscs, 500 species of worms. , 1625 species of fish, 133 species of sharks and rays and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins.
In fact, 10% of the world’s fish population can be found in the Great Barrier Reef alone, and chances are you’ll even find Nemo.
The Great Barrier Reef is also home to six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles, and taking a reef excursion is a great way to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat.
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However, if you really want to get up close and personal with a turtle, visit the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Center on Fitzroy Island – a volunteer-run, non-profit organization dedicated to rehabilitating sick and injured turtles.
They host daily tours that allow people to learn not only about the history of the organization, but also about the recovery journey that injured or sick turtles at the center undergo before being released back into the ocean.
A huge number of tropical islands are scattered among the reefs, including 600 continental islands, 300 coral reefs and about 150 offshore mangrove islands.
Many of these islands have been transformed into tropical havens and have long been idyllic retreats for tourists. Among the most pristine and popular are Fitzroy Island, Hayman Island and Heron Island.
Things To Do
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most popular diving and snorkelling destinations in the world and there are many tour operators to cater for all ages and abilities.
With warm weather year-round, you can spend hours exploring the best coral reef systems in the world while enjoying the opportunity to swim among unique marine life, including amazing giant clams, some of which are over 100 years old.
Whale watching on the Great Barrier Reef is simply spectacular! The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area provides an important breeding refuge for approximately 30 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins), which is about 35% of the total number of cetacean species living in the world.
The most common sightings are minke whales, bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales, including the world’s only white humpback, affectionately known as ‘Migaloo’.
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Whitehaven Beach is a pristine, award-winning beach on the Whitsunday Islands. Whitehaven Beach stretches for over seven kilometers and boasts brilliant white silica sand that is among the cleanest in the world.
It provides a brilliant, almost luminescent color and doesn’t retain heat like regular sand, so you can enjoy the pleasure of sinking your feet into soft, velvety sand and wading in warm turquoise water.
Located at Hardy Reef in the Whitsundays, Heart Reef is a stunning composition of coral that has naturally formed into a heart shape. Discovered in 1975 by a pilot, it is now an internationally recognized Whitsunday attraction.
Heart Reef has been the site of many proposals and declarations of love over the years and you can book helicopter and seaplane flights if you want to see it for yourself.
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The manta is the largest stingray in the world with a wingspan of up to seven meters. Lady Elliot Island located in the southern Great Barrier Reef is known as the “Home of the Manta Ray” and is the place to go if you want to see these amazing creatures.
These giant sea dragons can be seen feeding around the island all year round, but migrate by the hundreds during the winter months.
Far North Queensland, where the Great Barrier Reef is located, is also home to the world-famous Daintree Rainforest and is the only place in the world where two World Heritage Sites exist side by side.
After your cliff experience, you can easily add a trip to the Daintree to explore the beauty of this ancient rainforest. If the image below isn’t enough to inspire you to visit the Great Barrier Reef, hopefully this article will convince you that this wonder of the natural world definitely deserves a place on your list
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As one of the most spectacular displays of nature on Earth, the Cliff joins Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon and Victoria Falls on the list of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World – and for good reason. The reef is incredibly large, awe-inspiring in its sheer size, stretching for a distance equivalent to the miles between London and Athens and covering an area roughly the size of Germany. It is also one of the most biologically diverse environments on Earth, rivaled only by a handful of tropical rainforests. In fact, the Great Barrier Reef’s two acres are home to more fish species than all of North America.
Oh, and did I mention the reef has World Heritage status? That is right. In 1981, the Great Barrier Reef was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The 1,400-mile continuous stretch of reef ecosystem has been designated as extremely biodiverse—after all, the reef is home to 400 species of coral, 1,500 species of fish, 4,000 species of molluscs, 133 species of sharks and rays, and 30 species of whales and dolphins, not to mention the endangered giant tortoise green and dugong. The reef is vital for coastal protection, fishing and tourism; it is visited by more than two million visitors every year.
There really is nothing like diving into the warm but refreshing tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef and tasting the mild saltiness of the water as you gaze down at the myriad of colorful fish and coral below. Whether you’re diving or snorkeling, there’s something magical about hearing the gentle but persistent click of life on the reefs as fish feed on the surrounding coral and dart around, creating a rainbow of dazzling yellows, electric blues, and oranges. The lure of seeing these underwater wonders is certainly one of the main reasons to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
Those who are really adventurous choose to explore the reef by scuba diving. The Great Barrier Reef is home to some of the best diving in the world, here are a few sites to whet your appetite:
Reasons To Go To The Great Barrier Reef Now
SS Yongala, near Townsville and Magnetic Island, is consistently listed as one of the top 5 dive sites on Earth. The dive site consists of a 100m long steamship that sank in 1911 during a cyclone and even without the abundant marine life it is one of the best wreck dives in the world. At the wreck you can see countless species of fish, as well as turtles, sharks and majestic eagles and manta rays flying around and through the dive site. If you visit between June and November, you may be lucky enough to spot sperm whales and humpback whales.
Cod Hole is considered by many to be one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, and predictably, the reason is the huge tame cod that call this part of the Great Barrier Reef home. Here you can get close enough to appreciate the colossal size of these creatures, some of which weigh over 100kg and can be 2.5 meters long. Reef sharks are also commonly found here.
Almost all Great Barrier Reef encounters focus on the natural world as a collective, but it’s definitely worth focusing on some of the reef’s rock stars.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to six of the seven species of turtles found in the world’s oceans and seas: hawksbill, green, hawksbill, leatherback, olive ridley and flatback turtles. Whether you see them gracefully drifting past you while diving or snorkeling, or you’re lucky enough to witness them scurrying along the beach after hatching (hatching season is from January to March), the opportunity to see turtles is sure to be one of the highlights. reasons to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
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The most common dolphin found on the reef is the spinner dolphin, named for its acrobatic abilities. These
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