Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is regarded as one of the world’s most popular scuba diving holiday destination. The Great Barrier Reef is situated off the east coast of Australia and it is the only living organic collective on earth, said to be visible from outer space.

This Australian reef is also regarded as one of the wonders of the world and was declared as a World Heritage since 1981. It is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem and being so huge, scuba divers are offered a large array of magnificent dive sites and bountiful marine life to enjoy.

The Great Barrier is more than 300,000 sq km (115, 831 sq miles) in size and is the home to more than 3000 smaller reefs. Deciding where to scuba dive in this huge diving destination can certainly be a happy problem because of the many astounding choices.

Wreck diving is a favorite scuba diving activity. Amongst the many wrecks are Captain James Cook’s ship “Endeavour”. Another popular wreck is the HMS Pandora, which sunk in 1791. All in all, there are about 30 shipwreck dive sites for scuba divers to explore.

An amazing 2 million people visit the reef annually spending about a billion US dollars collectively and entrenching tourism as the main pillar of the eastern Australia economy. Since tourism dollar is very important, it is thus vital for the Australian economy to protect the reef from destruction and hence the magnificent reef protected in many ways. As a form of protection, even recreational fishing is restricted to only certain areas and animals such as dolphins, whales, dugongs are protected species.

For the more adventurous divers, there are dives organized to view shark feedings, especially the ferocious man eater, the Great White Shark, which shot to stardom in the movie Jaws and its sequels. Divers are lowered into the clear water in steel cages to view these man eating sharks closed up.

Let us take a look at some of the popular dive locations in Great Barrier Reef :-

Cairns and Port Douglas – This is the area of the reef that is closest to the Queensland coast. It is because of this proximity to tourist centers and accommodations, the area attracts the biggest numbers of divers here than anywhere else in the Great Barrier Reef. There are some good dive spots here for beginners as well as for experienced scuba divers.

Southern Coral Sea – You encounter crystal clear water, steep drop offs, and pelagic fish when diving in The Southern Coral sea. Huge colorful soft corals and gorgonians sea fans are typical features in this dive spot.

The Coral Sea is a “must dive” location for braver scuba divers who get a thrill out of mingling with menacing sharks.

Southern Great Barrier Reef – This area is the largest section of the Great Barrier Reef. However, since it is further away from mainland Australia,it is less accessible and diving done here are usually from liveaboard cruises. The Heron Island and Lady Elliot Island in this part of the Barrier Reef offer the best accessibility.

If you are planning a holiday vacation to Australia, why not make a trip to The Great Barrier Reef and go scuba diving there?

Chris Chew