Places to See Before You Die: The Great Barrier Reef

July 8th, 2014 | by Ashyln Molly

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world – and for good reason. The vast coral reef is the world’s largest, and is packed with colourful underwater flora and fauna, with colourful, shimmering fish darting around its more than 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays.

The vast and unique marine park stretches over more than 3,000 km, and lies almost parallel to the coast of Queensland, going from near the coastal town of Bundaberg, up past the tip of Cape York. It is genuinely out of this world, being the only living organism that can be seen from space.

From underwater it is simply stunning, with more than 400 kinds of colourful coral, as well as sponges, molluscs, rays, dolphins and more than 1,500 species of tropical fish, over 200 types of birds and around 20 different types of reptiles like sea turtles. It also plays home to stunning giant clams, some of which are more than 120 years old.

However, the Reef is not only to be enjoyed from underwater, as the land around the Reef is truly idyllic, with paradisiacal tropical islands galore featuring some of the world’s most sun-drenched golden beaches. Tourists can choose from a variety of luxury resorts and retreats, from the stylish eco-cottages of Pumpkin Island Eco Retreat to the secluded lodges of Haggerstone Island and Orpheus Island’s elegant beachfront accommodation. In fact, there are so many options when it comes to fantastic places to stay and tours of the Reef that there really is something to suit everyone’s individual tastes and requirements.

What we’re trying to say is that a trip to the Great Barrier Reef really is like nothing else on Earth, making a visit there a vital addition to any bucket list.

Exploring the Reef

There are a number of options when it comes to exploring the Reef itself, from hot air ballooning and helicopters which allow you to see its vastness from the air, to diving into the crystal clear water itself. No matter where you stay, you’re never more than an hour away from a fantastic diving spot.

Such organised tours are a common feature in most destinations and to get a real idea of the reef, visitors are advised to see it from both the sea and the air.

As when embarking on any such adventure activities when on holiday, you want to ensure you can enjoy exploring the reef worry-free by securing a great travel medical insurance policy.

With 3,000km of reef on offer, where should I stay?

With the Reef being so vast, there are seemingly endless options when it comes to destinations and accommodation – making them challenging to narrow down. It is important to think about what you want from your holiday before deciding on a specific destination.

For example, if you can’t wait to see the spectacular natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, but at the same time are most comfortable in a vibrant city destination, then Cairns is a great location to choose. The lively city features plenty of luxurious accommodation, as you would expect, and is the perfect destination from which to explore the wonders of the Reef, as well as the stunning scenery of the surrounding tropical rainforests.

Meanwhile, Port Douglas is an extremely popular option with Reef tourists thanks to its plethora of five-star hotels and glamorous Four Mile Beach. It is well known as the favourite spot from which to explore the northern areas of the reef and rainforest coast, and more than 100 day tour options depart from the resort every day.

Other destination options include the architecturally beautiful Rockhampton, the thriving metropolis of Townsville, Queensland town Ayr and historical Cooktown.

Tourists seeking true luxury will look to the Reef’s islands, however, like tropical lizard island (all sandy shores and exotic palms), idyllic Daydream Island with its three fabulous beaches, and the super-exclusive Haggerstone Island.

Staysure are the over 50s experts, specialising in providing over 50s holiday insurance. Travel Insurance Medical, part of the Staysure family, specialises in covering people with pre-existing medical conditions. Both companies offer 220 pre-existing medical conditions covered for free, which can include high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes.

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