Dive the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (UNESCO site)
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The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system, is located in the Coral Sea off the coast of the Australian state of Queensland and is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The reef system stretches for nearly 2,000 km, comprised of approximately 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. The Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding islands support an incredibly diverse collection of life and a number of endangered species. 30 species of dolphin, whales and porpoise along with the extremely rare dugongs can be found in the habitat along with various species of sea turtles, sharks, rays, sea snakes, seahorses, pipefish and over 1,500 other varieties of fish. Multiple types of seagrass, algae and seaweed, nearly 400 varieties of coral, over 200 different birds, saltwater crocodiles, thousands of plant species, frogs, ascidians and bryozoan are among the incredibly varied life forms that can be found in and around the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef is a very popular destination for scuba divers and snorkelers. Diving at the Great Barrier Reef has earned a reputation that no 2 dives are ever the same and every dive is an adventure. Access is primarily from the Whitsunday Islands and the city of Cairns. Cairns supports a good number of dive centers and charters for live-a-board yachts. Primarily, there are four distinct areas frequented by divers and it is possible to experience them all on one trip to The Great Barrier Reef. The Inner Reef Gardens, close in to Cairns, presents well sheltered dive sites and shallow water; The Outer Reefs are further offshore and are characterized by large gorges and canyons with prolific amounts of marine life including large schools of clownfish; to the north is the Ribbon Reef system which contains the most famous of the Great Barrier Reef dive sites, the Cod Hole, with the amazing, gargantuan and entertaining Potato Cod; Live-a-board charters provide access for the more experienced divers to sites such as Osprey Reef or Bougainville Reef further out in the Coral Sea, thought to be among the best dive sites in all of Australia.
Consider adding a trip to dive at The Great Barrier Reef to your list of dreams to experience an once-in-a-lifetime tropical holiday of diving in the land “Down Under”. Besides the endless opportunities for SCUBA and snorkeling, you may also enjoy reef walking, bird watching, stargazing and giant green turtle midwifing or perhaps just hanging out in paradise.
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