Exploring the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Used by the Australian Aborigines and also by the Islanders of the Torres Strait, the Great Barrier Reef has sustained life, particulary that of the Aborigines in the areas surrounding it for over 40 thousand years and the Great Barrier reef became an important part of their spirituality and their day to day culture.

The Great Barrier Reef as seen from above

Formed from rock, coral or sand, the reefs of the ocean are formed underwater, and usually the top of the reef sits about three feet under the water. Most coral reefs are found in clean but shallow ocean waters.
The most incredible of this variety is the Great Barrier reef, which is actually a chain of smaller reefs that make up the whole and measure a most astonishing 1200 miles across the floor of the ocean.

A Giant Wrasse

The Great Barrier Reef is located in the Coral Sea, an aspect of the Pacific off the coast of Australia and incredibly, poses a sort of natural dam, a water break between what is the coast of the continent and the vast endless waves of the Pacific.

In the late 1700’s( about 1769 or 1770) James Cook, an explorer who is credited with the discovery of the reef for the Europeans, ran his ship aground here.
The accident caused a vast amount of damage and the only way to save the ship was to lighten the load and then refloat it during the higher tide. Several other wrecks of a more famous nature have also taken place their, including that of the HMS Pandora, which sank in 1791, killing about 35 persons.

One of the few places on earth that the Giant Clam calls home

Since 1983, the Museum at Queensland has been undertaking archeological digs to the Pandoras wreckage.
, but since there were at the time not great atolls on the entire reef system, a great deal of other exploration didn’t take place.
In 1922 the Great Barrier Reef committee was formed to begin exploring and studying the system.The waters around the reef are covering an area that is just about the size of Minnesota, the US state, and the Reef is known as the single largest structure of its kind, made by a living organism. It is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and was actually visible from outer space, amazingly enough.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to many kinds of sea turtles

The Reefs surround areas that are just as diverse in nature, and the land is as amazing and spectacular as the seas if one takes the time to explore both.Your visit to the Great Barrier Reef can include viewing many diverse species, including large numbers of endangered ones, and some that live no where else on earth today. It can also encompass nearby and surrounding Queensland, offering you culture, amusement both indoors and outdoors at any time of the day or night.

The wildlife on land is as fascinating as that under the water

Specific to the Barrier Reef are some thirty odd types of dolphins, several whales and porpoises, including the humpback, the tiny Minke, a dwarf whale and the humpback dolphin, along with Dugongs, a rather large population of them, which live in the waters of the barrier protected from the open sea.
More than ten types of sea turtles use the reef as a breeding area, among them the gentle olive ridley turtle, as well as the leatherback, the hawksbill, the loggerhead, the green sea turtle and the flatback turtle.

There are also incredible species of plants that are found no where else, including seagrasses that provide both food and cover for the turtle and dugongs, keeping them within the reef area.

You will fall in love with the wild water aspects of the Great Barrier Reef and be astonished at all of the immense wildlife species you are going to view there, including over 100 species of sharks and more than two undred kinds of birds who are using it as their feeding area.
It is also one of the few places on earth where the giant clam makes its homes.

Coral and Clownfish as just a few of the species under the water on the Great Barrier Reef

Because the reef is so vastly biodiverse, because its clear waters offer warmth and welcome and because it is so accessible, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most popular areas world wide for tourist, particularly those who are fans of scuba diving and snorkeling.

You will find that the Queensland coastal cities will offer daily boat trips out to the reef and that some of the coral cay islands have been turned into resorts for your enjoyment and convenience.One of the most popular of these is the absolutely crystal clean resort of Lady Elliot Island.
About two million people will come to visit the Great Barrier reef in any given year and although most of these visits are done in consort with the marine tourism, there are also some wildly popular places near the shores that have suffered some damage from the tourist industry, so that now it is well regulated to keep the Reef as clean and unsullied as it is possible to be.

Hastings Reef

A multitude of boat tours and various types of cruises are able to be booked ranging from single days to much longer trips with boats ranging from small dinghy sized crafts to superyachts, as well as glass bottom boat trips and larger craft.
There are also underwater observatories available to you and if you so desire you can take a helicopter flight out over the reefs.Some of the best loved activities that take place on the Great Barrier Reef are snorkelling and diving, particularly the outer areas of the reef due to the wondrous water quality, and in some cases you can find areas that are enclosed by net for your safety. The Great Barrier Reef is now managed and great care is being taken to make the tourist trade sustainable, with fees being charged to keep the Reef sustained, so be prepared for a small fee when you use the Reef.

There are also now policies in place that limit the traffic of cruises, charters and other types of boats as well as their anchorage.

The Great Barrier Reef offers excitement, wildlife, undersea adventures and some of the most diverse life forms that are available to be seen anywhere as well as some of the most dangerous.

Queensland Parliament House

Whiel you are in Australia, take the time also to view local wildlife, which is as diverse as that of the reef, and to view some of the many land borne areas and adventures such as a river trip that will treat you to wild kangaroos, wallaby and several other unique species.
Isn’t it time that you visited the Land Down Under, checked out Queensland and viewed the world in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef ?

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