Swimming the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
If you're holidaying in Cairns and you haven't included a trip swimming the Great Barrier Reef in your travel itinerary, you're definitely missing a lot. A visit to the Great Barrier Reef is an experience that you'll never forget. One of the greatest natural wonders of the world, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a dream destination for many—if not all—professional and amateur divers. And whether you're a diver or not, you'll certainly appreciate and be amazed by the natural beauty of this paradise on earth. So be sure to pack your men's swimwear and get ready for an experience of a lifetime.
What You Need to Know about the Great Barrier Reef
Located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. Comprising more than 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, it covers an area of about 344,400 square kilometres. In fact, it was so big it can be seen from outer space and what's amazing about this is that the reef is made entirely by billions of tiny living organisms.
Throughout the decades, the reef has received a number of distinctions as a testament to its greatness. In 1981, it was designed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and a few years ago, CNN included Great Barrier Reef in its list of the seven natural wonders of the world. Also, any travel magazine or blog will tell you that a trip to Australia's east coast won't be complete without a visit to the Great Barrier Reef.
Swimming the Great Barrier Reef
While the Great Barrier Reef mostly stretches along the coast of Queensland, the best jump-off point for this destination is the city of Cairns. It is because the further north of Queensland you get, the shorter the trip to the reef would be.
Getting to Cairns, whether you're flying in internationally or domestically, is relatively easy. There are lots of international flights heading directly for Cairns Airport and there are also a number of domestic flights flying into Hamilton Island, Proserpine, and Townsville airports.
Once you get there, prepare yourself for a day or two of water activities. There are lots of options when it come sto swimming the Great Barrier Reef, so start making a plan! The Great Barrier Reef is best-appreciated underwater so the best way to enjoy this natural wonder is to go diving or snorkelling. If you're a beginner or you simply want to get a "feel" of the place, you might want to try diving the outer reef first. There are a number of companies along the coast, particularly at the Port of Airlie, that offer day-long tours that allow you to snorkel, visit the underwater observatory, and explore the outer portion of the Great Barrier Reef.
If you're inching for just a simple swim, Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island is a must-visit. With its clear blue waters and white sands, you can't resist going in for a dip and spending the day getting a natural tan.
Or if you don't want your swimwear for men to get wet, there are a whole lot of activities that don't involve jumping into the water. You can go on a cruise and go island-hopping, trek the Thorsborne Trail on the eastern side of Hinchinbrook Island, or see koalas in their natural habitat on Magnetic Island. Take your pick.
Be sure to check out more of our guides to the best Australian beaches.
- Bondi Joe
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