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There are certain things in life that surpass your expectations, visiting The Great Barrier Reef is definitely one of those experiences. The colours of the coral, the extraordinarily vast marine life and the sheer immensity of this underwater magical world can’t help but impress even the most jaded traveller. Thala Beach Lodge is the perfect choice for a Great Barrier Reef resort as it is positioned in close proximity to the wonders of the reef.
As one of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef is bigger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth that is visible from space.
The region is made up of over 3000 individual reef systems. Internationally the Great Barrier Reef is recognised as the world’s largest and healthiest coral reef system in the world and provides sublime experiences at a world-class destination.
Blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most remarkable natural regions, and naturally attracts millions of visitors from all over the world.
There are many ways to experience the reef. Scuba diving and snorkelling are two of the most popular activities on the reef. If you can, nothing beats actually being in the water amongst the hundreds of thousands of species of magnificent marine life.
Other popular ways to explore the region include sailing, boating (including glass bottom boats), expedition cruising as well as helicopter flights over the reef.
A large part of the region is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit and control the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. This is an important aspect of the reef, maintaining the fragile and important eco-system for the future.
When you visit the Great Barrier Reef it is imperative you tour the region with reputable tour operators, whichever way you decide to ‘do the reef’. It is equally important you follow all instructions when you are out on the reef and respect the amazing environment that is the Great Barrier Reef.
Great Barrier Reef diving is one of those experiences in life that you will never forget. For most lucky enough to visit this part of the world, it surpasses expectations. Famously larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living organism on earth visible from space, the reef is world renowned for its stunning scuba diving locations.
There is an extraordinarily wide range of sites for Great Barrier Reef diving. If you are a certified diver, a Great Barrier Reef diving expedition will take in some of the best ocean life in the world. Equally, if you have never dived before, the reef offers some great, safe places to learn to dive.
There are calm, protected, shallow spots around the islands, ideal for novices, gentle reef sites with abundant fish life and corals, while the deeper sites on the outer reefs are ideal for experienced divers.
While some sites are more famed for the marine life, other sites are almost aglow with the spectacular rainbow colours of coral. The best diving experience however should take in both the colourful coral reefs as well as the abundance of marine life that stretch for over 2,000km length of the reef.
A Great Barrier Reef diving expedition can reveal the world’s largest collection of more than 400 types of corals. Expect to be astounded by the marine life of over 1500 species of tropical fish, sea turtles and the amazing giant clams that can be up to 120 years old.
All these Great Barrier Reef diving sites are reached by boats ranging from large catamarans, luxury cruisers to spectacular sailboats. For those visitors who have never snorkelled, let alone dived, but want to experience first hand the richness of the reef, there are excellent one-day, first-time dive trips that are undertaken with qualified instructors.
A Great Barrier Reef snorkelling trip is about as much fun as you can have legally and one of the great attractions of snorkelling the reef is almost anyone can do it. There are numerous operators that depart from Port Douglas everyday taking hundreds of happy would-be snorkelers out to the most magical, colourful and alive reefs in the world.
Not everyone wants to dive, or in fact can dive. But snorkelling is easy. If you can swim, then you can snorkel. However, a minimum level of fitness is required, especially if you want to be in the water for any length of time. It also helps if you can laugh at yourself because at first you feel strange and often the equipment is unwieldy.
Most of the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling trips include instruction from licensed instructors and all the equipment you will need. This equipment should include snorkels, flippers and in most cases wetsuits that can give you sun protection, warmth when the water is cold as well as extra floatation when you’re in the water. There are also noodles that add to your flotation, meaning all you have to do is bob and stare!
For the first-timers or the more apprehensive, some of the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling operators will take you to sandy cays or islands where you can walk into the water rather than jumping from a boat. Some tours even take along a marine biologist, which is a great way to learn and familiarize yourself with the awesome reef!
Of course, if you have snorkelled before, you’re in for a treat; Great Barrier Reef snorkelling is quite possibly the best in the world. There are more than 400 types of corals, more than anywhere else on the planet, as well as over 1500 species of tropical fish, sea turtles and amazing giant clams. Take in all this superlative beauty to the mediative rhythm of your breathing and enjoy. There’s not that many things in life that are better than experiencing the sea up close and personal. And there aren’t any places on earth better than the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef tours options are varied and plentiful, making visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World possible for virtually everyone. There are several ways to get out and enjoy the reef which is great, as not everyone has the same wishes, abilities or budgets.
Probably the most popular of the Great Barrier Reef tours would be a day trip on one of the many large catamarans that go to various reefs. Several of these operators even have their own platform on the outer reef, while some of these tours are snorkelling only, others also offer the choice to go diving.
Most of these tours depart from Port Douglas and include a marine biologist on board to pass on all the relevant information about what you will witness in the big blue. There are qualified snorkelling and diving (if appropriate) safety officers on board and equipment is usually provided, as are morning and afternoon teas as well as lunch.
The other alternative, some would say more romantic, is sailing on a mid-sized cruise ship. These journeys can be from two to seven days in duration with most departing from Port Douglas or Cairns. Another onboard option is ships that you can spend up to seven days cruising, reef diving and snorkelling. You can go as far north as Lizard Island to dive the Cod Hole or to the outer reef and the Coral Sea.
Not all Great Barrier Reef tours are about swimming, diving and snorkelling, some tourists prefer to enjoy the splendour of it all without getting wet. For a bird’s eye view and a big picture look (ideal for photography) you can take in the reef from a scenic helicopter flight.
There are even several Great Barrier Reef tours departing from Cairns and Port Douglas that offer reef and rainforest combined tours that include sailing, snorkelling, diving plus rain forest activities like white-water rafting and river cruises. Who says you can’t have it all?