Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Great Barrier Reef

On my flight to the Great Barrier Reef, viewing it from such a high elevation, you can understand why it’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It’s the largest living thing on earth and completely visible from space.

Stretching over 1800 miles, between 8 and 80 miles off shore and around 40 miles wide in some parts, is a world of living coral for divers to explore - the most spectacular diving in the world.

The reef contains the world's numerous collection that has more than 400 different kinds of coral, coral sponges, molluscs, rays, dolphins, over thousands of species of tropical fish, more than 200 types of birds, around 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles and giant clams over 120 years old.

Humpback whales migrating from the Antarctic use the area as a breeding ground.  It is also the habitat of a few endangered species including the Dugong (Manatee like animal) and green sea turtles. In recognition of its significance, UNESCO listed the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site in 1981.

The natural beauty of the reef has invited millions of visitors each year flocking to dive, cruise and explore the natural beauty.  Yearly, there are approximately 1000 tour operators and 1500 ships and planes allowed to operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park providing ease of access for all to experience the Great Barrier Reef.

With so many islands and resorts to explore – these are on the top of my list:
15km north of Cairns, Angsana has a luxurious spa and dozens of 1st class suites.  There are saltwater swimming pools and a watersports center offering diving, water-skiing, paddle boarding, windsurfing and parasailing and dozens of other activities that allow you to enjoy the GBR!
A 247-acre island on the Great Barrier Reef has numerous resorts and activities.  The kayaking here is tremendous.
A very popular wedding & honeymoon destination – with plenty of kangaroos and an Australian feel.
Manmade fun – a resort and island all in one.
A favorite with a rain forest vibe.  Don’t miss this one!
A good island for day trips to the rain forests and reef sites.  No need for overnight – but great to see.
Personally, I’m tired of man-made shorelines studded with condos.  Don’t waste your time unless you live there.
If man made activities are what you seek – this has it all.  Really a resort with an island holding it up – this place inludes tennis, a spa and an endless array of things to do.  If socializing is on your agenda – this could be for  you. 
Plenty of bird watching and water tours to allow any level of skill to enjoy.

There are thousands of other islands to cover, but not enough time in my life to do it.  Check out photo favs on my site as well.

Tim Beverley