As one of the seven natural wonders of the world, The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system in the entire world. Located right off the coast of Cairns, Queensland (Australia) The Great Barrier Reef is home to more than 1500 species of fish alone, with several species of whales and dolphins as well. More than 600 islands also make up the reef, so there’s plenty to see and do.
The best time to plan a vacation to The Great Barrier Reef is between June and October, which is late fall/early winter through spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Because the state of Queensland is located in close proximity to the equator, winters there aren’t brutal and offer the best conditions for fully enjoying the reef. Here are some things to enjoy while visiting The Great Barrier Reef.
Take a Cruise
If swimming in the water isn’t for you, then you can still experience this amazing reef above the waters by taking a cruise. With clear waters, you’ll still be able to see some of the beauty and wildlife that inhabits the reef. Some cruises may even offer some opportunities to explore the waters below.
Depending on what you wish to see and who you’re traveling with, there are different types of cruises to choose from. One of the most unique types of cruises is an overnight cruise. These smaller cruises allow you to avoid large tourist crowds and still offer kayaking and snorkeling opportunities.
This is the best way to experience the reef. Two hours off the coast of Cairns is what’s known as the Outer Barrier Reef. There’s a strip of 10 smaller reefs known as the Ribbon Reefs, numbered 1 through10. The Ribbon Reefs are located in some of the clearest waters, about 60 miles off the coast of Queensland. There’s no doubt that you’ll be able to see all of the diverse wildlife living in the reef.
Snorkeling in the reef can be as low as $152 per person or over $1000, depending on where and what type of tour you’re considering. If possible, opt for group tours to save money and enhance your experience of the reef.
Take a Helicopter Tour
A unique way to see the reef is from a bird-eye view. Flying high above the Coral Sea, you can view the amazingly 1400+ mile-long reef that is also visible from outer space. A helicopter tour can be a quick, half hour ride or like snorkeling and diving, it can be a part of a boat tour or cruise.
What many people may not know is that fishing is actually allowed at The Great Barrier Reef— but, of course, not without certain rules and restrictions. The Marine Park area of The Great Barrier Reef allows for fishing in some parts, but it is restricted in others. So to fish there, you just want to make sure you get the right fishing gear! Unfortunately, there are restrictions in certain places and more restrictions may have to be enforced due to many factors negatively affecting the reef. Fortunately, there are conservation efforts taking place to ensure that The Great Barrier Reef is protected and even restored.
The Great Barrier Reef is a bucket list location for many people to visit sometime during their life. As the largest living organism in the world, it’s a popular tourist spot. Unfortunately, some of these tourist activities have contributed to its demise. Luckily, there have been changes made that still allow tourists to experience the reef without causing further damage.
Visiting The Great Barrier Reef is still considered to be one of the best experiences in the world. Nowhere else in the world will you be able to see such unique marine life in their natural habitat. The islands along the reef have some of the most beautiful sandy beaches and the clearest blue waters. This will definitely be one of your most unforgettable experiences.