The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living ecosystem in the world. It has been around for many millennia and is continually growing and changing. It is a network that spans across 2,600km and is made up of corals, seagrass, islands, and cays that make up the entirety of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It is said that the reef dates back as much as twenty million years ago, with an ever-changing landscape and coastline. It has moved and morphed over the years and was first encountered by humans 40,000 years ago when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples settled in the area. The current reef is about 6,000 to 8,000 years old and was formed after the last ice age began to recede and water levels and temperatures rapidly changed.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Wonders of the natural world - it's larger than the Great Wall of China and it's the only living thing visible from space! While in the Whitsundays there are 3 ways in which you can see the Great Barrier Reef for yourself - on an overnight tour, a day tour on an a scenic flight. Each option offers you an exceptional and unique experience, but its personal preference as to which method you prefer and what tour suits your time-frame best. To help you make your decision we have broken each option down for you below.
The Outer Great Barrier Reef and Inner Fringing Reefs are both part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park off the east coast of Northern Queensland which stretches over 2,300km. While the two types of reefs are similar, they also host an abundance of differences that make them both unique and beautiful in their own way.
Looking for the ultimate adventure? Want to experience another world? Scuba Diving is for you. Experience the beauty and diversity of Australia's Great Barrier Reef in the best way possible, under the water! Under the guidance of our friendly and knowledgeable instructors, you can take a ride through the wonders of the underwater world for the first time, no previous experience necessary!
The Heart Reef, in the Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays, is a beautiful display of nature - coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart. Located in Hardy Reef, Heart Reef is best experienced from the air by helicopter or seaplane, as visitors are unable to snorkel or visit at sea level due to it being protected under Marine Park legislation. At 14 metres in diameter, it is very much visible from the window of any of the aerial flight options.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is the most important integral authority in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, a huge area that spans 344,400 km2. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - or GBRMPA - is responsible for the protection and care of the reef. They work with a wide variety of partners, supporters and advisors with the aim of conserving the reef for future generations. They are responsible for pretty much all of the comings and goings in the park as well as its maintenance.
The Whitsundays are one of the best places to try scuba diving for the first time! The diverse and calm reef beds offer the perfect place to explore the underwater world alongside your fellow divers and dive instructor, experiencing this exciting sport for the first time! The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is home to a huge variety of fish, corals and other marine life. It is famously known as the biggest reef system in the world, stretching thousands of kilometres.
Australia’s ‘Great 8’ are a group of colourful characters found on the Great Barrier Reef, each with a unique and vital role to play in the ecosystem. As the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach provides the ideal opportunity to swim, snorkel or even dive with them all!