The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world and runs for over 1,500 miles along the coast of Queensland, Australia. This intricate structure is comprised of colonies of plant-like coral polyps, which are actually tiny animals related to jellyfish. They provide a habitat for almost a quarter of all marine species and are the building blocks of over 2,800 reefs—making this awe-inspiring formation the largest individual system made by living organisms in the world. Here are three ways to soak up the beauty of this UNESCO-recognized destination.
From the shore
Don’t forget: Protect yourself in the harsh Australian sun by packing appropriate SPF and sun shirts, and rent an umbrella if you plan on spending hours lounging on the sand.
From the surf
Diving tip: Bring a waterproof camera to capture spectacular underwater views of over 600 types of hard and soft coral plus a plethora of marine life. Also, even if you’re a strong swimmer it can be strange to get accustomed to breathing with a snorkel—taking deep, steady breaths can help.
From the sky
The reef is the only living thing on earth visible from space, so one of the best ways to get a feel for the site’s staggering breadth is from above. If you want a bird’s eye view of the turquoise water and world-famous coral, take off in a helicopter, seaplane or hot air balloon. Choose an option once you’re in the area, or skip the extra costs and get a similar perspective by opting for a window seat on the plane as you fly into Cairns—you’ll be thankful for the sweeping overhead view.
Did you know? The reef is only one portion of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which was established by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act of 1975. The entire park covers an area of over 100,000 square miles—which is equal to about 70 million football fields.
How would you like to experience the beauty of Australia‘s Great Barrier Reef? Tell us in the comments!