Actually one of many seven pure wonders of the world, the Nice Barrier Reef is one thing so many individuals have on their bucket lists. Not shocking when you think about what makes it so totally different and particular from different marine points of interest on this planet.
Do learn on as I share so many wondrous issues I noticed and discovered after I was capable of go to not too long ago with my fiancé James.
What’s the Nice Barrier Reef?
Comprising over 2,900 reef and coral cays, the Nice Barrier Reef is the world’s largest and most spectacular coral reef system.
Located inside the Nice Barrier Reef Marine Park off the coast of Australia, the Nice Barrier Reef measurement is the one factor that stuns most individuals once they hear about it. It’s the largest single construction on the planet made by residing organisms. Plus, it’s the solely residing construction on earth sufficiently big to be seen from house!
We’re speaking a couple of reef stretching for over 2,300 kilometers! All collectively the Nice Barrier Reef Marine Park is roughly 350,000 sq. kilometers in measurement, equating to 70 million soccer fields or the complete measurement of Japan!
It’s acknowledged on UNESCO’s World Heritage Checklist, and was the primary coral reef ecosystem on this planet to be awarded World Heritage standing, and is visited by greater than 1.5 million individuals every year.
The place is the Nice Barrier Reef in Australia?
Positioned within the Coral Sea, the Nice Barrier Reef sits off the coast of the state of Queensland (Australia’s second-largest state located alongside the northeast coast of the nation).
The southernmost level of the reef lies simply south off the coastal city of Gladstone and the northernmost level is positioned off the tip of Cape York Peninsula and simply south of Papua New Guinea.
Being positioned alongside 2,300km of Queensland shoreline, there are such a lot of locations you may base your self to discover the reef. The principle facilities providing lodging embrace (from south to north) the City of 1770, Gladstone, Yeppoon, Mackay, Airlie Seaside and the Whitsundays, Townsville, Mission Seaside, Cairns, and Port Douglas.
There are additionally many smaller cities and facilities open to you relying on the time you could have, your price range, and your potential to analysis (it is a gigantic space with so many lovely nature spots).
Indisputably, the primary or hottest entry level for the reef is from Cairns, positioned inside Tropical North Queensland. This northern metropolis is effectively outfitted for vacationers eager to expertise day out on the reef and is definitely accessible with an Worldwide and Home airport and all ranges of lodging.
Cairns is the place we flew into and the place we selected to be primarily based as we explored many areas on our adventures south to Mission Seaside, west to the Atherton Tablelands, and as far north as Cooktown.
Details concerning the Nice Barrier Reef
Corals, marine life, and islands
Corals of the Nice Barrier Reef are each fascinating and delightful. The reef is residence to no fewer than 400 totally different species of coral.
This place is actually a marine biologist’s dream. Except for the coral, the fish of the Nice Barrier Reef contains greater than 1,500 species and 30+ species of marine mammals.
Above the water, there have been over 200 hen species and 118 butterfly species recorded on the reef’s islands and cays.
The complete space of the reef has arguably a number of the world’s most lovely islands.
Round 900 in whole, the islands are all fairly accessible by boat from the mainland. Fairly just a few have been developed into world-class resorts however many stay undeveloped and of their pure state.
The Nice 8
The place it involves fish and animals of the Nice Barrier Reef, guests are predominately looking out for ‘The Nice 8’. The Nice 8 is the underwater equal to an African Safari with the next considered the enduring marine encounters on the reef:
- Nemo (aka the clownfish) present in sheltered reefs or shallow lagoons;
- Sharks with the commonest being white tip, black tip, and gray reef sharks;
- Manta rays: the most important of all rays with wingspans of as much as 7 meters, they’re just like the birds of the ocean for his or her sleek acrobatic expertise;
- Maori Wrasse: big-boned fish that can fortunately play and comply with you round like a devoted pal, these fish can develop as much as 2 meters lengthy and weigh as much as 180 kg;
- Potato Cods: these gill-bearers wish to rise up shut and private with their vast mouths opening and shutting as if attempting to have a chat;
- Big Clams: robust on the skin however colourful inside, they spend their days consuming algae, photosynthesizing and looking out fairly;
- Turtles: with six of the seven of the world’s turtle species calling the Nice Barrier Reef residence, it isn’t too exhausting to identify them;
- Whales: the reef supplies the final word playground and nursery for humpback whales and their new calves as they make an annual look alongside the Queensland coast from June till September.
Nice Barrier Reef excursions
There are such a lot of other ways to expertise the reef and there’s no scarcity of choices in terms of decisions of journey.
What fits you greatest? You possibly can choose from SCUBA diving the Nice Barrier Reef, cruising, crusing, enjoyable on the numerous island resorts, scenic flights utilizing helicopters or fixed-wing plane, coastal land, and waterways excursions, or snorkeling within the Nice Barrier Reef. And naturally, any mixture of those choices to fit your style and price range.
You possibly can even take a long-extended vacation and do a Queensland epic street journey proper alongside the coast, visiting the reef and quite a few islands that your route permits. That will little doubt be the final word exploration and journey alternative to see a lot of this huge and superb marine park.
For our visits out to the marine park, we selected to do that from Cairns not as a result of this location was the most well-liked, however that was additionally a super launching pad into different pure wonders similar to the traditional Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation, and the Atherton Tablelands.
The tour operator we chosen was ‘Down Beneath Dive’ which owns the ‘Evolution’. The Evolution is marketed because the quickest, most spacious, and splendid superyacht working out of Cairns which meant that you just really spent extra time really out on the reef. As well as, additionally they had a marine biologist on board to assist guests discover the reef by way of a guided snorkel tour and onboard data.
One of many issues I might strongly advocate on these kinds of journeys is to not overlook plenty of 50+ sunscreen, a solar hat, and sun shades.
The Evolution was a well-equipped craft with a number of ranges, loads of house, free snorkeling and diving tools, and stay musical leisure whereas cruising. They definitely catered effectively to company together with morning tea, full Australian-style buffet lunch in addition to wine and snacks within the afternoon in your journey again to land.
Touring from Cairns to the Nice Barrier Reef on a single full-day journey, we visited two outer reef areas: Saxon Reef and North Hastings Reef. Each had been lovely spots from which to discover and expertise the Nice Barrier Reef. As a result of velocity of the vessel, guests are assured not less than 5 hours out on the reef earlier than having to return.
The complete journey went so easily and it was great to see coral, fish, and different factors of magnificence whereas we had been there. The water was so clear and blue and much like what we had skilled when out on the water whereas staying on the Purple Sea Riviera in Egypt.
On account of the truth that I didn’t belief my digital camera for any underwater photographs, I solely took photographs to share right here from the yacht however there may be a lot in the way in which of photos on-line that you may simply lookup and determine for your self if you want to go to.
A spotlight for me was additionally speaking at size with Phil, the marine biologist aboard the Evolution who offered a lot data on the reef which actually added one other dimension to our journey.
Islands across the Nice Barrier Reef Marine Park
All up and down the reef for two,300 km, are so many pretty islands you may go to. From Cairns, these included a day journey to Inexperienced Island in addition to the bigger Fitzroy Island, once more very talked-about for day-trippers.
Solely a 45-minute ferry trip from Cairns, Fitzroy is a pretty big tropical island providing various kinds of lodging starting from tenting grounds to the 4.5-star Fitzroy Island Resort.
The island can be designated as a nationwide park.
There are many bushwalking tracks all through the island such because the Lighthouse (not lively) and Summit walks that supply nice views out to the Nice Barrier Reef.
Different actions embrace snorkeling straight off the seashore at Welcome Bay, exploring the rainforest-covered areas of the island, or sea kayaking.
As a result of lovely shade of its sand and clear blue waters, this seashore is taken into account to be iconic to the area. Opposite to what some individuals suppose it isn’t a nude seashore in any respect. Nonetheless, it’s acknowledged as one of the photographed seashores selling tourism on this area of Queensland.
We loved a beautiful hike alongside a observe between the rainforest and the water to reach at Nudey Seaside and the effort and time to get there didn’t disappoint. I hope the pictures we took whereas we had been there gives you some thought of simply why this seashore is considered so iconic.
For these eager about marine life and turtles, Fitzroy Island is residence to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre that appears after sick or injured turtles earlier than releasing them again into the wild. The group additionally affords informative excursions via the Turtle Hospital to satisfy recovering residents.
A lot smaller than Fitzroy Island and in addition designated as a nationwide park, Inexperienced Island is likewise round a 45-minute ferry trip from Cairns.
The island is a coral cay and could be walked round in roughly half-hour. It’s certainly a good looking island and the one coral cay on the Nice Barrier Reef with a rainforest rising on it! It’s well-known for the 5-star Inexperienced Island Resort.
Inexperienced Island was first chartered by Captain James Prepare dinner in 1770 and never named due to its lush rainforest, however after the astronomer onboard the HMS Endeavour, Charles Inexperienced.
Inexperienced Island has a rainforest inside, pristine white sand seashores, and beautiful snorkeling spots. Except for actually having fun with strolling via the island, we additionally took a glass-bottom boat tour across the coral websites surrounding the island. Are you able to consider the world’s first glass-bottom boat was pioneered on Inexperienced Island in 1937?
That piece of trivia along with quite a few data indicators throughout the island had been some issues we contemplated as we relaxed and loved lunch and facilities of the resort.
One other of the island’s points of interest was a family-owned aquarium: the Marineland Crocodile Park.
The principle draw right here is Cassius, the world’s largest crocodile in captivity, measuring some 5.5 meters in size.
He’s believed to be over 110 years previous and is fed day by day at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm.
Tenting within the Nice Barrier Reef Marine Park
Campsites are unfold all through the area on numerous islands inside the marine park. Amenities fluctuate broadly starting from extraordinarily fundamental (nearly simply the spot) to websites that supply showers, flushing bogs, and picnic tables arrange with the backdrop of some fairly spectacular surroundings.
Whereas tenting brings you nearer to nature and is extra economical than most different lodging, you may solely camp in designated areas, hold to marked trails and comply with the no hint rules. Fires are banned so you will want to have a gasoline range or related.
Additionally, you will want a Nationwide Park Tenting Allow, obtainable from the Queensland Authorities Nationwide Parks web site.
Threats to the Nice Barrier Reef
All through the entire size of the reef are hundreds of delicate ecosystems upon which marine life species rely to outlive.
Local weather change and tourism are each vital threats to the well being and vitality of the reef which I briefly talk about under.
Coral Bleaching within the Nice Barrier Reef
When corals are confused by modifications in situations similar to temperature, mild, or vitamins, they expel the symbiotic algae residing of their tissues, inflicting them to show fully white. That is referred to as coral bleaching.
Because the Earth’s temperature warms as a consequence of world warming – so does the chance of mass bleaching – as seas get hotter. Coral bleaching could be devastating – it has the potential to wipe out complete ecosystems – as wildlife across the coral can not discover meals, they transfer away or die, creating barren underwater landscapes.
Coral bleaching represents a big risk to the reef, which has already suffered consequently with some studies suggesting that over a 3rd of the reef has been affected, albeit to various levels.
Bleaching leaves corals susceptible to illness, stunts their development, impacts their copy, and may affect different species that rely upon the coral communities. Extreme bleaching kills them.
Vacationers, or extra to the purpose, irresponsible tourism practices of introducing guests to the reef with out being conscious of the fragile nature of the coral could be equally devastating.
These embrace things like permitting water vessels or tools too near the coral and even allowing guests to the touch and even take away coral from the reef.
Defending the Nice Barrier Reef
The Australian Authorities has acknowledged the significance of defending the reef and has created a statutory physique charged with overseeing the marine park.
The Nice Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority displays the state of the reef and regulates tourism operators inside the park. There are strict guidelines round their actions and breaching of those can incur hefty fines and lack of license.
Each customer to the marine park additionally has to pay a levy to the Nice Barrier Reef fund that’s often collected by every tour operator and submitted to the Authority. These monies offset the prices of regulating the environmental and enforcement actions linked with defending the reef.
Most tour operators checklist the park levy as a separate cost to the charges they cost for accessing the reef. That is completed to point out that a part of the charge guests pay goes towards sustaining the standard of the reef and types a part of an initiative to coach individuals on how fragile the reef is and why it needs to be protected.
To me, the extra levy is completely definitely worth the cash to guard the Nice Barrier Reef of Australia, and actually, an absolute pure jewel of the world.
For anybody that has a love of all issues pure and marine, the Nice Barrier Reef needs to be on the very high of must-see, must-experience lists.
Whereas visiting Australia could also be a problematic and costly train for a lot of, there isn’t a query that icons just like the reef and different magical pure wonders round Far North Queensland, collectively make for an unforgettable expertise.
If you’re contemplating venturing to this a part of the world then keep tuned for different wonderous locations we managed to see whereas we had been there.
What are your impressions of the Nice Barrier Reef? Is that this one thing you’ll regard as a must-visit? Or maybe you could have already visited and want to share your ideas within the feedback part under.
Both method, I might love to listen to from you and thanks for studying about our journey to this superb marine treasure.