Located just off the coast of Northeastern Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is a spectacle to be seen. It's impossible to see the entire reef in a day (without a plane or helicopter), or even half since the reef's size is comparable to the size of countries. Chances are, if you're a swimmer, you might think that the Great Barrier Reef is not a good vacation. After hearing 25 little-known things about the Great Barrier Reef, you'll be packing your bags in a flash.
For forever and a day, it's possible to converse about the magnificence of the Great Barrier Reef. Trying to compare the Great Barrier Reef to an aquarium or water park like Seaworld is like comparing apples to oranges; they're totally different. The Great Barrier Reef is the real deal. It's a network of reefs filled with aquatic animals like turtles, whales, dolphins, and more than 1,500 species of fish. 900 islands and beaches as far as the eye can see make the reef a vacation fit for people of all ages.
At face value, the Great Barrier Reef may seem like a boring destination. It is recognized for being the most extensive reef system in the world. Stop beating around the bush. These are 25 little-known things that make us want to visit.
25 Tourism Could Impact The Health Of The Great Barrier Reef
The health of the Great Barrier Reef is affected by tourism to an extent. Although tourism can negatively impact the Great Barrier Reef by tourists who fish and scuba divers who may upset the ecosystem, tourism also has positives. Many tourists who arrive at the Great Barrier Reef spread awareness about issues, and lend a helping hand.
As an active tourism zone, there is more monitoring compared to if it weren't an attractive tourist destination.
With educators educating the public, we can ensure the Great Barrier Reef has a healthy future. Plus, according to gbrmpa.gov.au, "The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) have management tools and processes that allows tourism to occur with minimal impact on the marine environment."
24 Over 2,000,000 People Visit The Great Barrier Reef Per Year!
Forget the usual vacation at Disneyland or Seaworld. Take yourself on a real-world adventure that is unlike anything you'll ever see. Scuba diving next to coral reefs and marine wildlife is to some, an unconventional way to enjoy oneself on holiday. Yet, the call of the Great Barrier Reef is strong. You can visit and observe crustaceans and algae for educational or enjoyment. Marine life found in the ocean is usually good-natured.
There are too many reasons for why, as reported by portdouglasmeridian.com, more than 2,000,000 visit the Great Barrier Reef per year. What are you waiting for? Book your trip today!
23 You'll Find Six Of Earth's Seven Turtle Species At The Great Barrier Reef
When sea turtles are born, it's a quick dash to the ocean. Interestingly, a turtle's gender is not determined by chromosomes, but by the temperature of their nest. Baby turtles must avoid predators such as birds, crabs, and various types of fish. Using a combination of instincts and memory, baby sea turtles swim to their home—if they can find it. Sadly, not all baby sea turtles reach their home as some become lost on the way.
The Barrier Reef is undoubtedly the most spectacular turtle-watching destination.
At the Great Barrier Reef, you'll find six of Earth's seven turtle species. You may even make a friend once you visit the Great Barrier Reef.
22 A chance to Meet A Dugong!
No, it's not Dewgong from the Pokémon animé, but is a Dugong marine animal that is found in the Great Barrier Reef. To see a Dugong at the Great Barrier Reef would be a rare find. This massive marine mammal can weigh up to 2,000 pounds! Slightly lighter than the weight of your car, unless you drive a Mitsubishi Mirage, which weighs less than 2,000 pounds.
According to the website of softschools.com, "Dugong has a flat tail and flippers like a whale, but it is more closely related to an elephant. Dugong has evolved 50 to 60 million years ago, when an elephant-like creature entered the water."
21 You'll Find More Than 1,500 Fish Species
It's not only of the world's most magnificent natural structures, but it also hosts the widest variety of fish compared to other coral reefs in the world. You'll find unusual and unique fish such as Maori Wrasse, Coral Trout, Butterfly Fish, Parrotfish, and Surgeonfish. You'll also see familiar fish such as Clownfish, Trout, and Cod.
Although fishing is permitted in most areas of the Great Barrier Reef, overfishing is an issue that needs to be addressed.
Fish can adapt to their environment. Similarly to the coral reef, the fish are multicolored. Blending into the environment is a survival technique.
20 Overfishing Is Tough To Control
It's well-known that overfishing is tough to control in any part of the sea. Fish in the Great Barrier Reef are becoming endangered, and there is never enough help for this issue.
There are plenty of volunteering opportunities available at the Great Barrier Reef, so instead of vacationing and relaxing, it may be more beneficial to join in on the effort.
Collecting information about coral reefs is necessary to measure the Barrier Reef's health. You don't have to be a marine biologist, but someone with a positive attitude. Organizations such as GoEco and Love Volunteers will find a volunteering opportunity fit for you.
19 It's The Largest Reef System In The World
As the most extensive reef system in the world, the Great Barrier Reef is critical to the survival of our planet. The Great Barrier Reef is the habitat of more than 1,500 species of fish and other aquatic wildlife. Like trees, coral reefs found in the Barrier Reef help to prevent climate change.
Overfishing and pollution are putting the health of the Great Barrier Reef in trouble. It is critical that we take steps towards protecting the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is called a "Barrier Reef" for a reason. The reef acts as a barrier to protect land masses from waves and storms.
18 You Can See The Great Barrier Reef From Outer Space
It's one of the few natural structures visible from space. The fact that the Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outside Earth's atmosphere adds to the magnificence of the Barrier Reef.
Even in cold outer space, the view of the Barrier Reef is impressive.
The website of mnn.com details the spectacle that is the Great Barrier Reef. Notably, from space, an individual who would have to be an astronaut could see where the Great Barrier Reef runs along the coast of Northeastern Australia. The Great Barrier Reef has an area of 348,700 km² and is visible from the Moon.
17 You'll Run Into Marlin From Finding Nemo
Clownfish are easily identified for their orange body, white stripes, and black lining. The bright orange stands out from a school of fish. Many people place clownfish in their aquarium next to coral reefs to simulate an aquatic environment. The actual Giant Barrier Reef, however, is unparalleled in natural design.
Instead of viewing serene clownfish behind glass, you'll gain an opportunity to swim with them.
Seeing them in their natural habitat is a serendipitous find. You may recognize clownfish from Finding Nemo. Seeing Marlin, star of Finding Nemo is one of the most juvenile, but probably the most awesome of reasons to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
16 There Are Over 900 Islands Across The Great Barrier Reef
The chain of islands found across the Barrier Reef is seemingly endless. There are islands such as Lady Elliot Island, Lizard Island, Wilson Island, Pumpkin Island, Raine Island, Snapper Island, Murray Island, One Tree Island, and Wreck Island; the list goes on, and on, and on. You could lose yourself in a perpetual sea of islands. There is much to do, so you'll need plenty of time to enjoy the tropical Great Barrier Reef.
If it's for a honeymoon, solo travel, or with friends, there is an activity for everyone.
A hot air balloon ride will allow you to witness the scale of the reef and to see the azure ocean from up high! Whitewater rafting will you make you feel alive, according to ExperienceOZ. The vivacious scenery can't be missed!
15 Climate Change Could Have Irreversible Effects On The Reef
While visiting the reef, you're likely to be swarmed by a school of hundreds and maybe thousands of fish. Areas affected by climate change may show signs of decay, and as a result, fish and other marine life have migrated to other areas of the Great Barrier Reef.
The most lively areas of the reef are filled with colorful marine invertebrate and vertebrate, and most importantly, the underwater ecosystem required to sustain aquatic life.
There's a chance the Great Barrier Reef will disappear or won't be as impressive as it is today. Rapid decay is another reason to visit Australia's Great Barrier Reef soon.
14 The Great Barrier Reef Is A Great Family Vacation Destination
We've mentioned how the Great Barrier Reef is an ideal honeymoon and solo travel destination. It also makes for a wonderful family vacation. You don't have to buy an enormous yacht in the background of this photo, but you could rent a boat or be part of a sightseeing tour.
Learning to scuba diving is not as difficult as it seems.
As long as you are a moderate swimmer, you'll be scuba diving in no time. Life is short, so bring the entire family. Take plenty of pictures and be glad you chose the Great Barrier Reef. Even if you don't swim, you can enjoy the sunshine, or hang out by the beach.
13 It Contains At Least 600 Types Of Coral
A GoPro camera such as the GoPro HERO7 Black is ideal for swimming in the Great Barrier Reef since it's waterproof and takes pictures in 4K. GoPro is the leading brand for action cameras. Maybe, you can snap a picture for every type of coral reef you encounter.
The Great Barrier Reef contains at least 600 types of coral!
Soft corals and hard corals are equally as impressive. According to ocean.si.edu, Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one-quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter.
12 It Is Estimated That The Great Barrier Reef Is 500,000 Years Old
The Great Barrier Reef isn't a new amusement park or a vacation resort. It's a natural structure that has existed on Earth for over 500,000 years! Life developed in the reef, off the coast of Northern Australia, over thousands of years to bring the world's largest aquatic ecosystem.
As stated by the website of theconversation.com, the Great Barrier Reef's northern sector has bleaching of approximately 81%.
Bleaching is also spreading in other lower sectors. The photo above contains an example of a reef that is severely bleached. How impactful bleaching of coral reef is on its environment will have to be scrutinized.
11 It Has 30 Species Of Whales And Dolphins
Whales and dolphins are unlike other marine life due to possessing high levels of intelligence and swimming capabilities. Whales and dolphins are mammals. Whale watching and swimming with whales is possible at the reef. You could encounter a Humpback Whale or a Dwarf Minke Whale during a voyage.
Remarkably, dolphins are as intelligent as apes and have a brain structure that is similar to humans. The mammals must come into contact with air to breathe. "Dolphins are carnivores. Fish, squid, and crustaceans are included in their list of prey. A 260-pound dolphin eats about 33 pounds of fish a day," says 2.padi.com.
10 12 Shipping Ports Are Located Across The Barrier Reef
The shipping ports located throughout the Great Barrier Reef may have a slight impact on the reef's well-being. If anything, ports are interesting sites that could provide transportation. Regulations require ships to follow a designated route. In that way, ships at ports can cause the least amount of harm to the Great Barrier Reef.
To see the various ports is yet another reason to visit the Great Barrier Reef, even if they are impacting the reef in the long-term. The website of theconversation.com states, the number of vessels at GBR ports is expected to rise in the coming years.
9 Sunsets Are Groovy
Come for the fish and wildlife, but expect to stay for the sunsets. After a day of swimming with the fish, it isn't time to pack up and go home because, wait for it, the finale. Swim to shore and unfold a beach lounger, so that you can marvel at the sun setting in the horizon. Fish have to sleep too, so it's not like you could swim forever.
However, don't worry—the next day will bring a new adventure and a different memory of that time you skipped the trip to Las Vegas and decided to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
8 See Wildlife Besides The Ones Found Underwater
Underwater, there is a plethora of fascinating marine animals, which provide a major reason to visit the Great Barrier Reef. There is, however, incredible wildlife to be discovered outside the water, which is equally impressive and is around the Great Barrier Reef. Of course, with so many fish species swimming in this area of the sea, birds flock to the reef to catch a meal.
The website of greatbarrierreefs.com states, "there are approximately 40 species of seabirds on the GBR, with 60% breeding within the marine park. "Capricorn Silver Eye, Ruddy Turnstone, White-Faced Heron, Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, and Bar-Shouldered Dove are found near the reef. Be sure to pack your bird-watching binoculars!
7 It's About The Size Of Countries Such As Japan And Germany
The Great Barrier Reef's size shouldn't be underestimated. The size is comparable to many humongous countries like Japan and Germany, or to put it another way, 70,000,000 football fields! If there were a setting for the world's first underwater country, the Great Barrier Reef would be a strong candidate.
The complex systems of coral reefs off the coast of Queensland, Australia is extensive, to say the least. The Great Barrier Reef is filled with engrossing sites as far as the eye can see (no pun intended). It's a trip for the ages, and the Great Barrier Reef isn't going away anytime soon.
6 Tips To Avoid Sharks encounters
Yes, when scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef you may encounter dangers. Being trapped between a rock or being stung by a jellyfish are things to avoid. Sharks are the waters' most fierce predators that need only be approached by experts. That won't stop many from swimming near sharks to catch a feel.
To avoid sharks, stay out of the deep sections—sharks are not aggressive towards humans. They prefer to eat small fish and sea plants. Studying the different types of sharks can help you know which to approach and which to avoid. Most sharks in the reef are more scared of you than you are of them.
5 The Average Depth Is 35 Meters
The Great Barrier Reef has areas that are not as deep, but the average depth of the Great Barrier Reef is 35 meters; pretty much the perfect depth for underwater diving. You wouldn't want to go too deep into the water since water pressure becomes progressively uncomfortable at a rapid rate.
Most likely, if you are new to the Great Barrier Reef, you'll want to get lessons from a scuba diving instructor.
The water can become much deeper in some areas. Although the Barrier Reef has an average depth of 35 meters, according to the website of gbrmpa.gov.au, the Reef can extend more than 2,000 meters.
4 The Reef Is Next To Daintree Rainforest
Visitors of the Barrier Reef do not have to stay within the Reef's area. There is a nearby rainforest called the Daintree Rainforest, which is frequented by Barrier Reef goers. According to the website of daintreerainforest.com, the Daintree Rainforest is host to various wildlife such as the Golden Orb Spider, Estuarine Crocodile, Rufous Owl, Musky Rat-Kangaroo, Azure Kingfisher, Bandicoot, and the Giant Tree Frog.
During a tour at Daintree Rainforest, one can go zip-lining, go up close and personal to animals, or see the various sites of the forest. Exploring Daintree Rainforest is the perfect complement to the Great Barrier Reef.
3 You Don't Have To Scuba Dive
There are a variety of other ways to enjoy yourself at the Great Barrier Reef. Although scuba diving tours can give you up close experiences of the Barrier Reef, sightseeing tours can be done from the safety of a boat. You won't have to worry about getting stung by a jellyfish while aboard a tour's ship.
Some sightseeing tours, such as the one in the above photo, have viewing glass on glass-bottom boats, which allows observers to see the underwater world without getting wet (maybe you'll get a little wet). These tours are affordable and make visiting the Great Barrier Reef worth it!
2 An Unforgettable Whale Watching Experience
What could be more incredible than swimming with the whales at the Great Barrier Reef? There is an abundance of whale-watching tours that are worth every penny. Whales are some of the biggest creatures of the sea, and certainly one of the most magnificent. A misconception suggests they are fish, but the fact is that whales are mammals like human beings.
Whales eat small aquatic creatures such as crab, squid, and shrimp, and larvae. Most who try the reef's whale watching tours say that they exceeded expectations. Whale watching tours at the Barrier Reef can give memories lasting a lifetime.
1 Whitehaven Beach Is Unforgettable
It's like a beach that must be a mirage. Whitehaven Beach is seven kilometers in length and is impeccable for new tourists. Its white silica sand doesn't retain heat, so visitors will feel comforted while walking bare-footed. You might catch a tan, but in the end, it's worth it to experience that wonder that is Whitehaven Beach. The blend of colors is exquisite.
Strict regulations ensure the beach stays free from pollution and to ensure it remains one of the Great Barrier Reef's most attractive places. The website of emperortraveline.com recognizes Whitehaven Beach for having been voted the world’s "top eco-friendly beach."
Sources: greatbarrierreef.org, portdouglasmeridian.com earthnworld.com, whalefacts.org, seeturtles.org, experienceoz.com.au, emperortraveline.com, smithsonianscience.org, ocean.si.edu, destinationtips.com