The Great Barrier Reef – the name itself sounds so enchanting. It’s an incredible maze of 900 islands and 3,000 individual reefs, spread out over 2,600 kilometer (1,616 miles) of the most pristine waters. “Blue Outback,” as the reef is known, is a must-see and must-experience destination for travelers worldwide.
Explore Coastal Towns
It’s tough to see all of the GBF, unless you spend a year or two at it. We recommend taking day trips by boat, up and down the length of Queensland’s coastline. Get off at and explore the mainland coastal towns of Cairns, Mackay, Townsville, Port Douglas, Airlie Beach, Gladstone and others.
Visit Reef islands
Consider day trips, overnight trips or weekend trips to GBF’s many islands. There’s Pumpkin Island in the GBF Marine Park that offers eco-friendly and stylish cottages set against pristine blue waters. Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, diving, sailing and exploring here. There’s also Bedarra Island, a great place if you want to sign up for snorkeling and scuba diving trips.
Enjoy Reef Activities
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
The Great Barrier Reef is a fabulous place for scuba divers and snorkelers. If you don’t know how to do either, you can learn to dive and snorkel in Cairns, Port Douglas or Townsville. On the Reef, you’ll find many diving sites graded according to difficulty. You can dive and snorkel from shore too, if you don’t want to head out to sea, on the fringing reefs that are present on some islands. If possible, dive down to visit shipwrecks at the bottom of the reef. The Yongala is one such that sank in 1911 off Townsville.
Watch Marine Life
Sign up for a day trip on a glass-bottomed boat, and watch the intriguing marine life that goes on underwater. Get into an underwater observatoryand observe the multitudes of colorful fish, turtles, sharks, dolphins and other exotic marine life pass you by. The GBF is a treasure trove of such exotic marine life as stonefish, jellyfish, huge sea snakes, box jellyfish, and saltwater crocodiles and so on. Be sure to carry a good video camera.
Fly Over The Reef
Sign up for a helicopter flight over the GBF, and observe the reefs, the islands, the coastline and wildlife and the spectacular scenery from high. You can ask the pilot to swoop low or even hover over special areas for a better look. Being as it is one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the GBF is best viewed from a height, as you pull away. It is bigger than the Great Wall of China. You get to appreciate the true scale of it only from the sky.
Fish in the GBF
Fishing on the GBF is an A$1 billion industry. Of course, you can always set up your fishing tackle, or join a fishing charter. Game fishing, reef fishing and even fishing for barramundi sharks can be had on the GBF.
Go Dugong Hunting
The dugong is a large marine mammal, that somewhat resembles the hippopotamus. Dugongs are part of traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wild foods. Sign up for a dugong hunt at the GBF Marine Park Authority. Hunting with the aboriginals is an exciting activity. There are bag limits, of course.
Jasmine spends her time traveling across Australia and writing about travel. She enjoys the best of both worlds while contributing freelance to Adrenaline.