Great Barrier Reef
Colorful coral gardens, romantic sunsets and views to Cora sea, private beaches with sparkling white sand, endless blue horizons and beautiful night sky – this what the islands of the Great Barrier Reef can offer. It is one of the seven wonders of the natural world made of 2900 separate reeds and 900 islands. The Great Barrier Reef is 2300 km long stretching from Bundaberg region to the south all the way to the Tores Strait which separates Queensland from Papua New Guinea. The reef is 350 thousand sq km in size. The amazing colors and shapes of the reef are result of the 400 species of corals that provide a permanent home for around 4000 species of mollusk, 1500 fish species, 350 species of starfish, sea urchins, crabs, shrimps and many other crustaceans. The Great Barrier Reef is called the State Icon of Queensland and is enlisted as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.
Due to the huge biological diversity it offers, the Reef is a very popular diving destination. The tourism activities related to the Great Barrier Reef are concentrated in the city of Cairns and the Whitsunday Islands which has become a popular wedding destination together with the rest of the entertainments and services it offers. Over 1500 couple chose the Whitsunday Islands for their fairytale wedding ceremony.
Around 2 million people visit the Great Barrier Reef ever year. The best way to see the reefs is scuba diving or snorkeling with one of the many tourist boats. There are also boats with transparent acrylic bottom as an alternative if the tourists don’t want to get in the water. Helicopter tours are also available and provide for stunning views.
May of the coastline cities of Queensland offer daily boat tours to the most popular and most beautiful coral reefs. The islands Green Island and Lady Elliot Island have become resorts with great hotels, restaurants and beaches. An airplane runway is built on Lady Elliot Island which services flights to Bundaberg, Harvey Bay, Brisbane and Gold Coast. The island is located in the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef, far from the shore and it is a famous for the mesmerizing underwater views the visitors can enjoy while snorkeling or scuba diving. The Great Barrier Reef is a main habitat of the sea turtles and Lady Elliot Island is a key part of it. Every year, between November and March, the Green and Loggerhead turtles climb up the same shore where they were born 50 years ago to nest. They nest eight times in a season and lay between 80-120 eggs. Eight weeks later the newly hatched turtles are on their way to the ocean. The observation of this process is really exciting. Humpback whale can also be seen around Lady Elliot Island during their migration period from June until October.
The Great Barrier Reef is an exception peace of the planet and faces many dangers: rising the global sea level, extreme low or high water temperatures, mechanical damages from fishermen nets, offshore drilling rigs, passing cyclones and so on. Regardless all that we hope that this magical part of Australia will bring joy to its visitors for many years ahead.