Visiting the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders in the world, was a dream come through for me. This magnificent attraction, along the Queensland coastline in Australia, was awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO as a unique place for protecting some endangered species of wildlife.
My adventure to the Great Barrier Reef included learning about this one-of-a-kind tourist attraction. As the largest reef system worldwide, the Marine Park extends over 1,800 miles and it can be seen from outer space. It comprises of over 3,000 individual reefs and coral cays and more than 1,500 species of fish and a wide range of marine animals and wildlife.
No vacation to Australia is complete without a visit to the famous Great Barrier Reef. For my trip from the USA to Australia I left nothing to chance, therefore, I got travel insurance cover for the non-refundable portion. My journey included traveling from Sydney to the northeastern beach town of Cairns, which is about miles 45 kilometers from the Outer Reef.
The day tour was from 9:00 am to 5 pm and I spent 5 hours at the Marine World on the Outer Reef. The 90-minute trip on the fast, stable, spacious and air conditioned motor catamaran was comfortable. The tour package offered many options for swimmers and non-swimmers to experience and learn about the Great Barrier Reef at an affordable price. It included snorkeling equipment, presentation by On Board Marine Biologist, glass bottom boat and semi-submersible tours and refreshments and lunch.
As a newbie to water sports, one of the best ways to see the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef was by snorkeling. After getting some useful tips on how to use the snorkeling equipment, I was fitted with a mask, fins and snorkel. I was then ready to begin the guided tour and experience the amazing underwater life at the Outer Reef. By using the stairs provided, it was extremely easy getting into the water from the snorkel platform at the sheltered coral lagoon. The water clarity was of the highest quality, which made for excellent visibility and I was able to look at the bottom of the lagoon to see the breathtaking view. It included different colours, shapes, textures and movements of the array of corals and marine life.
One of the highlights of the snorkeling trip was swimming alongside Wally the Giant Maori Wrasse and taking pictures with my underwater camera. It was also good to have floating rest stations that were strategically placed at points so that I could take a break from my snorkeling activities.
On the 30 minute semi-submersible tour, while sitting about 1 meter underwater, I was able to see the colorful coral gardens as well as schools of fish, including reef fish, red bass, angel fish and Jump Headed Parrot fish. I even saw Minke whales and friendly reef sharks. Another way I was able to experience the colors and beauty of marine life in the Outer Reef was by taking the 30 minute glass bottom boat tour.
My adventurous trip to the Great Barrier Reef was an amazing one filled with fun, excitement, information and wonderful close-up views of a diverse range of coral reefs and marine wildlife. Overall, I would recommend this once-in-a life-time experience to everyone.