Facts on the Great Barrier Reef

Facts on the Great Barrier Reef are simply amazing and encompass the history of one of the greatest natural features on the planet. This fragile-yet-beautiful ecosystem is one of the most interesting places to visit in all on Australia. When planning a Great Barrier Reef vacation, you have many options; some travelers choose a multi-day cruise while others stay on the mainland and experience the reef through some short-term diving excursions or glass-bottom boat tours.

The white-sand beaches off the coast of Queensland, barrier islands, and coral reefs make up the Great Barrier Reef region. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is larger than Ireland and the United Kingdom combined, stretching for some 1,8000 miles from Bundaberg, through Cairns and Cape York. The Great Barrier Reef is a ribbon of corals—a living underwater world that is visible from space. At some points, the spectacular reef is as close as nine miles to the coast and as far as 93 miles from the mainland.

The history of the Great Barrier Reef goes back through thousands of years, and it's largely Mother Nature's tale. While there are other reefs in the world's oceans, none is as large or as pristine as this one. Under the surface, the array of Great Barrier Reef animals is not duplicated anywhere else. Some of the biggest fish on earth make a home here, as do rare turtles, schools of fish, and corals. You'll be sure to find these facts on the Great Barrier Reef interesting: more than 4,000 species of fish make a home here as well as 500 different corals, 50 species of marine mammals, and several seabirds.

In 1975, the Australian government declared this national treasure as a marine park, providing protection and conservation for the future. Even though the ecosystem is delicate, it's still possible to enjoy Great Barrier Reef tours to see the wonder up close. Access is limited to the reef, but the local outfitters who lead tours, well aware of the unique history of the Great Barrier Reef, are leading the way in conservation. Many even donate a significant portion of their profits to conservation and plan tours that leave no trace. The resorts, both on the mainland and on the barrier islands, often offer green accommodations, including water conservation and solar or wind power. The concierge, ready to share Great Barrier Reef info, can make suggestions on how to explore the reef.

A guided tour is one of the best ways to see this marine marvel up close, even short narrated sightseeing cruises are filled with facts on the Great Barrier Reef. Longer tours depart for a half-day or a full day, giving you time to enjoy the reef up close and return to shore in time for dinner. To really see things up close, you could choose an excursion with time for Great Barrier Reef snorkeling or diving. If you want to see the reef without getting wet or strapping on a snorkel, a glass-bottom boat would be a good choice. The Great Barrier Reef located in Australia has no rival anywhere, so you'll want to spend some of your time to see it.

Whether you're planning on spending a bunch of your vacation diving or you want to experience the reef as a scenic backdrop, you'll experience amazing vistas that will look fantastic in your photograph and will bring back warm memories after you return home. While knowing the history of the Great Barrier Reef is cool, seeing it in person is nothing short of amazing.

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