The Great Barrier Reef
Known as the Seventh Wonder of the World, the Great Barrier Reef is the planet's largest Marine Park
The Great Barrier Reef lies along the coastline of Queensland from Cape York in the north and stretches for more than 2,000 kilometres to Bundaberg in the south. It has 2,900 individual reefs and 71 coral cays, it represents the world's greatest living coral reef. Queensland is a very large state. The state of Texas would fit inside Queensland with plenty of room to spare.
The coral reefs grow in the warm tropical waters and support a diverse and dense population of 10,000 species of sponge. 400 species of coral. 4,000 species of molluscs. 350 species of echinoderms. 4000 species of Molluscs. 500 Species of seaweed. 215 Species of birds. 16 Species of Sea Snake. 6 Species of Sea Turtle. 1,5000 species of fish and we'll let you find out how many species of Sharks there are for yourself. Divers estimate it would take over 1,000 dives just to see the Reefs highlights.
You can swim with giant Turtles, Manta Rays, join a swarming school of Unicorn fish or come face to face with the gentle giant potato cod. Coral gardens and Staghorn forests await you and taking a night dive reveals colourful new corals and brilliant glow fish.
You might even see a few white or black tipped reef shark (they don't bite humans). You don't need a SCUBA tank to see the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkeling is the most popular way to enjoy the reef as most things worth seeing are found in the first few metres of water. Pontoons moored permanently right on the edge of the coral shelf also provide safe sites for divers and snorkelers.
You can see it all from a glass bottomed boat, a semi-submersible submarine or an underwater observatory or you can just dive into the crystal clear waters (up to 60 metres visibility). The water is teeming with tropical fish.
Humpback Whales migrate along the Queensland coasts between late July early November. Being naturally curious Humpbacks will swim close to boats and under them, surfacing to eyeball you. They are best seen in shallow waters. You will see advertising for many different coastal towns to see Humpbacks but take my word for it. Hervey Bay is the best place in Australia, there is no better place to interact with these Whales.
Fishing is permitted on the reef subject to Queensland fisheries restrictions. It is prohibited in certain National Park, preservation and scientific zones. Size, season and quota restrictions apply to most fish and shellfish. Whales, Dolphins, porpoises, dugongs, turtles, clams, trumpet and helmet shells, female crabs and all gropers and cod over 1.2 metres are totally protected and may not be taken.
It doesn't matter how you see the Great Barrier Reef, it is a once in a lifetime experience for most people and one you will never forget, it is one of the worlds most unique environments so please treat it with respect when you go there. Oz Magic knows the absolute best areas to visit and will be happy to guide you there and book your tour for you to make sure you experience the best the reef has to offer. Some areas have experienced millions of tourists feet treading on its coral. Oz Magic will not send you there.
Queensland is a world class SCUBA divers paradise. Diving the Great Barrier Reef will take you into an underwater world of thousands of brilliantly coloured marine creatures. The waters of the Great Barrier Reef have excellent visibility often exceeding 100 metres in some places.
Taking a night dive is a mind blowing experience with colourful new corals and amazing glow fish. For the ultimate experience, try diving after a full moon in October/November when the coral pulp spawns and releases a technicolour snowstorm of plankton, a once in a lifetime experience.
In order to SCUBA dive you must produce evidence of internationally recognised diving qualifications and experience. This must be supplied to resorts and charter boats (PADI/NAUI/BSAC/SSI) you must bring your certificate and log book with you. SCUBA refills are available at most mainland areas, islands and on some vessels. Heavy items such as tanks and weight belts can be usually hired.
Some charter boat operators offer a "resort dive" this allows you to dive with a SCUBA tank" but only to a very shallow depth and under supervision. No qualifications are required for this. No requirements for Snorkeling.
If you can't find what you are looking for on the Oz Magic network email us and we'll do the research for you. If you experience anything on your holiday that was "out of this world" let us know so others can experience it too.