Once I learned how to scuba dive, I discovered a whole new world of beautiful reefs and sealife. If you get the chance to explore Australia, then the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland should be on everyone's bucket list.
As experts will tell you, the impressive reputation of the Great Barrier Reef is entirely justified. This large and imposing reef structure is the largest barrier reef in the world, and despite recent bleaching events, it still receives a steady stream of visitors on a yearly basis, remaining one of the most impressive and diverse coral reef habitats that are found in Australian waters.
The Largest Living Thing
Did you know that the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on Earth that can still be seen from space? A sight to behold, regardless of whether you see it from above or from a nearby island, the reef is more than 2,300 km long, which is close to the distance between London and Athens. If you want to envision the total size of the reef, you can think of it as exceeding Victoria and Tasmania combined, and according to the latest calculations, the reef structure itself is the size of about 70 million football fields.
Located near the Australian continent, in the waters belonging to the territory of Queensland, this coral reef is thought to be remarkably old – just about 20 million years, according to most estimates. Visiting and exploring this large living structure is quite possibly one of the most amazing experiences on Earth, and shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to the sheer richness and beauty that it can offer.
A Remarkably Diverse Ecosystem
Due to its age and size, it’s safe to assume that the Great Barrier Reef has one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems in the entire world. When compared to many other coral reef ecosystems, this is definitely true, and it has to be said that the reef itself is home to more than 1,500 unique species of fish, 600 different types of hard and soft coral, more than 200 species of birds and 6 species of sea turtles.
It’s also worth keeping a lookout for the 30 or so species of whales and dolphins, as well as other sea mammals that frequently visit the area. Sadly, they, together with many of the other species of marine life found on the reef are in danger of losing their habitats in the next few decades, since 90% of the corals found here were already affected by coral bleaching.
Visiting the Great Barrier Reef
Australian holidays and tours will provide you with the unique experience of visiting the reef. Even though organizers are wary about disturbing the barrier reef’s natural ecosystem as a result of increased tourism, they have become extremely proficient when it comes to organizing the most exciting, relaxing and informative trips that not only serve to act as a nature retreat, but will also provide you with fascinating information about the reef and the efforts made to save it.
The reef and its surrounding areas attract more than 2 million visitors each year, and here you will find the vibrant marine life to be the main attraction of the area. However, the surrounding tropical rainforest, beaches and coastal wildlife will be equally fascinating, providing visitors with a truly unforgettable experience.
The tours you can book will allow you to explore the paradise of the Queensland’s coastal regions and pristine islands. The idyllic islands of the Great Barrier Reef will present you with a once in a lifetime experience, and allow you and your family to take home memories that you never thought you could have.