The Great Barrier Reef: Why It Is Worth Visiting

Scuba diver exploring the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia

One of the most mesmerizing natural wonders of the world has to be the Great Barrier Reef. Surely you’ve heard about its size and seen pictures everywhere, but you should really get acquainted with it before you decide to visit. You’ll be able to enjoy it more than if you simply treated it like eye candy. So stick with this article to find out more!

Where is the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef is just off the coastline of Northeast Queensland, Australia and is short boat trip from the amazing little town of Cairns, Australia. Cairns is the perfect launch point for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding area.

a view of the esplanade in Cairns, Australia

Although Cairns is small, it offers a wealth of natural wonders to see before exploring the barrier reef. For example, you can visit the oldest rainforest on Earth, the Daintree Rainforest, or you wander around the many beautiful islands in area such as Green Island where you can see branches of the Great Barrier Reef.

Facts about the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system in the world. You can even see it from space! The reef consists of around 3000 individual reefs covering an area around the size of Texas in the United States. This makes it the largest collective living organism on earth.

Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia

It’s beginnings date back twenty million years. Although it has suffered in recent years from the effects of climate change, new corals continue to grow.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to 10% of the world’s known fish species in addition to numerous species of whale, dolphin, sea turtles and sea snakes. Add to this the many bird species that depend on this reef, you have a truly remarkable ecosystem.

Fun in The Water

Of course, the best part of visiting the Great Barrier Reef is seeing the beautiful coral and sea life. For this, it is best to take an organized tour. There are many tour companies available that offer both snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. It is best to book in advance.

Once you are ready to start your underwear exploration, simply head to the local boat terminal where all the tour boats and cruisers are located. The names of the all the tour companies will be visible. Just look for the company you booked with and check in. The staff at the check-in desk will explain any company policies and the plan for the day.

Scuba diving tour on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia

Typically, the tour guides will provide any gear you will need so don’t worry about bringing your own. Depending on the company, the tour will usually involve two or three stops. This gives you an opportunity to explore different areas of the Great Barrier Reef.

Several colorful fish species that are found on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Once you are in the water, prepare to be amazed. The colors and wildlife you will experience is truly overwhelming. Most of the fish and other wildlife you will see are used to tourist and are harmless. If you are lucky, you will get to see a sea turtle! Don’t worry if you see the occasional shark. Most tours operate in areas less likely to be inhabited by sharks but there is a chance you will see one.

Sea turtle underwater at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Most of the tour companies around the Great Barrier Reef have been in operation for decades and their main focus is your safety. Just follow their instructions and you will be in good hands.

What else you should know about visiting the Great Barrier Reef?

It’s important to mention that the Australian government doesn’t mess around when it comes to the safety of the Great Barrier Reef.

You are allowed to swim and look around, but in no case may you step on the corals, touch, hurt, hunt the fish or pollute the water in any way. Your are not allowed to move a single pebble or shell out of it’s place. If you do, you may get a fine so big that it will make you regret choosing a holiday here. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

These severe measures have been taken because a lot of people underestimate how fragile the system is. If each of them took something or stepped on a coral, there would be nothing left. The most important thing is to preserve this natural wonder since there are already other things threatening its existence. You don’t need to be one of them.

Final Thoughts on Visiting the Great Barrier Reef

So you’ve finished swimming through this informative article. Great job! Hopefully, you are better able to appreciate the beauty and importance of the Great Barrier Reef. Australia has many amazing adventures to offer but the Great Barrier Reef is probably the one they are most proud of. Enjoy your amazing holiday exploring the great reef in the world and don’t forget to bring the sunscreen!

Contributor: Kate Mark

Kate is the founder of OneBagger who quit a growing corporate career to reawaken her passions and her lifelong dream of traveling the world. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.


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