Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia's most important tourism icons. It runs along the coast of Queensland from Lady Elliot Island, and Heron Island in the south, almost to Papua New Guinea in the north. It is the largest coral reef network in the world. Every overseas tourist who visits Australia will spend some time visiting the Great Barrier Reef so its value to the Australian economy is huge. The whole of the Great Barrier Reef system is now protected by a marine park under the authority of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority which has its headquarters in Townsville. You can visit the reef from almost every town on the Queensland coast. The most popular destinations from which to visit the park are The Whitsundays, Cairns and Port Douglas.
Visitors can choose from a number of options. Day trips operate all the time and will usually provide a great lunch, interpretative information, and snorkeling gear so that the average tourist can get up close and personal. Dive trips range from introductory dives and dive tuition right through to extended trips away into the Coral Sea to see parts of the reef that are practically untouched and pristine. There are some famous locations also which you can visit. Places like the Cod Hole off Lizard Island are home to a number of inquisitive Potato cod who play with the divers like big aquatic dogs. Also near Lizard Island, you have the opportunity to dive with beautiful Minke whales.
The Great Barrier Reef is a fantastic ecosystem and has been described as the largest living organism on earth. There are hundreds of different types of corals, thousands of species of fish and crustaceans, and a myriad opportunities to visit coral atolls, cays and islands, many complete with sensational holiday resorts. The whole region is a holiday maker's paradise. Although the reef is a fragile ecosystem it has survived for eons through many of the major climate changes in the past when average temperatures have been both warmer and colder than they are today. Its major threat today comes from overfishing, especially for Beche De Mere and nutrient rich runoff from surrounding cities and agricultural lands.
If you are planning an Australian holiday, then make sure you include a visit to the Great Barrier Reef in your itinerary.
Important Travel Information:
- Wiki Travel - Great Barrier Reef
- Far North Queensland Tourism
- Queensland Holidays
- Bureau of Meteorology
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority