One of the 7 wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is uniquely amazing for many reasons. For starters, it’s the largest living structure on the planet – so big it’s visible from space! The word’s largest coral reef is about the size of Italy, and is home to thousands of different species of fish, hundreds of different types of corals, whales, dolphins, turtles and birds. It is said to be one of the greatest and most splendid natural treasures the world possesses.
Maybe you’ve seen the facts, read about the reef or watched one of a million documentaries, but when you’re faced with the opportunity to see it for yourself…. where do you start?
The Great Barrier Reef is visited by millions of people each year. There are hundreds of companies offering various excursions, allowing you to experience its beauty firsthand. The two most popular Great Barrier Reef destinations are Cairns in the North and The Whitsundays in the South.
With a goal of enjoying the reef from two different perspectives – a birds-eye view and an underwater experience – we started in the South and worked our way North…
The Whitsundays provide a perfect jumping off point for sailing or flying over the reef, with the famous heart formation just off the coast.
We called a Heli-Taxi from Airlie Beach for an extraordinary flight over the reef. To say this adventure was epic would be an understatement! An aerial view provides incredible perspective on the size of the reef… you are able to view colorful formations that stretch for miles.
Here’s a video of our flight with HeliTaxi.com.au.
For an underwater experience, head north to Cairns or Port Douglas, your best bet for diving, snorkeling, or even semi-subversive tours. We chose to sail the outer reef from Cairns with Ocean Spirit Cruises and could not be more pleased with the staff, food, and activities offered on our catamaran cruise.
Here’s a video of our cruise to Michaelmas Cay with Ocean Spirit Cruises…
Ocean Spirit offers snorkeling, an introduction to diving, and (for those who prefer staying dry) a semi-subversive submarine tour! This really allows an up-close view of incredible coral formations that aren’t accessible from the nearby shore. The catamaran has plenty of space for sunbathing and relaxing during the sail, with champagne served on the ride home.
The Great Barrier Reef is magnificent, and what’s truly phenomenal is that almost every inch is living – precious and fragile. When exploring, you should never rest or stand on coral, stir up sediment or pester marine life. This Unesco World Heritage Site harbors one of the richest ecosystems on the planet, over 8,000 years old, and deserves great respect and preservation of its unique beauty.