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Rating 4.4 (187 votes)

Great Barrier Reef

Listed under Coral Reefs in Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

  • Photo of Great Barrier Reef
  • Photo of Great Barrier Reef
  • Photo of Great Barrier Reef
  • Photo of Great Barrier Reef
  • Photo of Great Barrier Reef
  • Photo of Great Barrier Reef
  • Photo of Great Barrier Reef
Photo of Great Barrier Reef
Photo by flickr user Leonard Low
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Diving for me is a magical experience and diving the Great Barrier Reef was the one of the finest and exotic dives that I’ll never forget.

Not only is it the largest reef on this planet, it’s also a home to countless species of corals and fish life which can be found no where else. Not to mention the Great Barrier Reef is a centre of coral diversity – great for coral lovers. While I was pursuing my masters degree I dived extensively on various dive spots around Townsville (Wheeler's reef, Davis reef, Broad Hurst Reef, Bowden Reef, just to name a few) and witnessed the very wonders of the magnificent reef. Personally I preferred diving outside the main Barrier Reef since water visibility is much better compared to the inside.

A must see for everyone is coral spawning and this well documented on the Great Barrier Reef. Corals are animals and they reproduce once every year for a couple of nights during which all corals simultaneously let go of their eggs and sperms packaged in a bundle. Millions of bundles are released. It’s like being in a situation where the snow is falling upside down.

Personally I prefer to dive the Great Barrier Reef, whether its outer or inner reefs, during the dry, cool months since the water visibility is much better during this season.

As for getting to the reef, live-aboard is much better if you're prone to sea sickness. A lot of dive centres can predict the day and time corals will spawn and often base their drive trips around this event. Again there no guarantees in nature, it may happen or it may not – plan well and take a chance.

Written by  Johnny Singh.

Other expert and press reviews

“Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea”

We ventured out 210 miles into the Coral Sea aboard a small live-aboard. The water was cooler than I expected in November (about 72-74F) but it was very clear. The reefs are mostly hard corals and some leather coral and sea fans. I had hoped to see more… Read more...

Written by  Bonnie Pelnar.

“Great Barrier Reef”

The Great Barrier Reef is a site of remarkable variety and beauty on the north-east coast of Australia. It contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. It also holds g… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

“Excerpt from 'Down Under a living legend'”

By Tony Wheeler for The Independent First published February 19, 2005 If you're planning a scuba diving stay on a Barrier Reef island it's worth researching the island's diving credentials. Any island can claim to send you out on diving trips, but scu… Read more...

Written by press. Full Article from The Independent

“Excerpt from 'Reef with a heart'”

By Jay Canning for the Telegraph First published October 5, 2004 ...Exploring the Great Barrier Reef is both exhilarating and easy. You can snorkel or scuba dive, or view the reef from the comfort of a semi-submersible or underwater observatory. Or tak… Read more...

Written by press. Full Article from the Telegraph

“Excerpt from 'Exploring the Great Barrier Reef'”

By Sasha Bates for the Telegraph First published August 1, 2007 Flying visits Even if you only have a day to spare, it is still worth making a visit to the reef, with Cairns, Townsville and Airlie Beach all good jumping-off points for a day trip. From… Read more...

Written by press. Full Article from the Telegraph

“Holmes Reef (Coral Sea)”

Just like the rest of the beautiful Great Barrier Reef but with more sharks. The hard and soft coral gardens are bright and lush, and it’s open water so as well as the sharks there are big fish, pelagics and turtles, as well as the usually colourful sm… Read more...

Written by  Nick Shaw.

“Cruising on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef or 5 Star Seabirding!”

I was fortunate to travel as naturalist / bird guide in October 2005 on MS Orion, now called MV Orion. Operated by Orion Expedition Cruises out of Sydney, Orion offers luxury, expedition style cruising to The Kimberley, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, Gre… Read more...

Written by  Alan McBride.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

The Best Things in Life I WISH could be a Secret!

My best diving was the Great Barrier Reef. It was 10 years ago and I will never forget this dream land. I think it is absolutley imperative that we protect this reef. We cannot take this reef for granted. Don't ever let these miraculous wonders die. Our reefs need to be nurtured, loved, respected, non-harmed. This reef is delicate. Observe and respect. Let nature be in charge.

1 Reply

HI Lisa, Thanks for your thoughtful review, you're very right and I hope more people heed your advice and comments.

We had a good time

well i loved it it was so fun and nice an beutiful i really did liked it

It spread of over 2000 kilometers. Along with Green Turtles, whales, and dolphins, the water conserves over 4000 types of mollusks that wander around in search of food. You will find almost every type of marine creature in the bunch of reefs. This is one of the reasons why Great Barrier Reef is top tourist destination in Australia.

Green Island was awesome. I swam with a sting ray and loved every minute of it. If only that was my day job.

Cod Hole

For the huge potato cod! These guys are massive slow moving things something like a cross between a pig, a fish and a lizard? weighing up to 150kgs! People have been attracting them here with food for years and they come in at regular times in between the coral bommies and the rest of the colourful life of the Great Barrier Reef.

Awesome experience

I stayed on a yacht moored by the reef, having flown out from the Whitsunday Islands by Air Whitsunday on a small seaplane. Expensive option, but the best way to see the reef, and in splendid isolation.

Australia's GREAT Barrier Reef

What ever you're looking for from a dive you will find it somewhere on the Barrier Reef. It's such a vast area that you can find your own space to investigate and spend weeks just poking around a variety of dives. Personally I enjoy swimming amongst the strange coloured coral formations and there are lots of places where you can go without much kit or even snorkel and still see an amazing array of marine life. The main problem is the tourists, but then they're mostly around a few spots and if you beg borrow of steal a boat you can find your own tourist free patch. Port Douglas has lost a bit of it's charms because of it's popularily with tourists, but if you go in the off season (and it's still be warm don't worry!) you can avoid the crowds and the worst of the dodgy tourist markets. It's touristy but worth doing - go on one of the glass bottomed boats around Green Island, it'sll spur you on to get your diving quals if you haven't already. So get a boat get some gear, find a quiet patch and be careful where you put your feet - this is an animals home remember and coral is living.

More diving spots on The Great Barrier Reef

The most famous sites to dive the reef are the Ribbon Reefs, Dynamite Pass, Pixi Pinnacles and Cod Hole, though Great Detached Reef and Mantis Reef, known for their sharks, manta rays and green turtles, are also great sites.

The Northern Reefs have the greatest diversity of marine life, but you can dive and snorkel all over. Milne Reef offers vertical walls, Thretford Reef offers sand cay, walls, coral gardens and small caves and Michaelmas Cay is home to huge numbers of fish and a breeding ground for sea birds.

The Great Barrier Reef supports 10,000 different species of sponge, 350 species of coral and 1,500 types of fish. There is literally something for everyone.

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