Said to be the world’s largest living structure and the only one visible from outer space, the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The Whitsundays region benefits from being located as the closest point off the Queensland coast to the Great Barrier Reef, which ensures it is the ideal hub from which to explore this aquatic wonderland.
Stretching over 2000 kilometres in length, the Great Barrier Reef protects the Whitsunday Coast and Islands from huge ocean swells providing the region with some of the safest sailing and cruising waters in the world.
The magical, naturally formed Heart Reef is located in the Whitsundays and is a sight to behold when viewed from the air. Take a seaplane or helicopter flight
to admire this beautiful sight, or surprise a loved one with the ultimate romantic gesture over the region's most romantic natural icon.
"Great Barrier Reef" the Documentary
Airing on Australia’s channel 9 in early 2012, the impressive documentary "Great Barrier Reef" was filmed entirely on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland.
Watch a quick 1 minute preview of the documentary to the right >
If scuba diving is your passion, then this is your paradise. Home to tens of thousands of species of brilliantly coloured fish, coral and other marine life including whales, dolphins and turtles enjoy the diversity of your underwater playground. Local companies are able to cater for every skill level from novice to dive master.
If snorkelling is more your style, then the warm shallow waters of the Whitsundays provide some of the most colourful fish and coral formations anywhere in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Or stay dry, and enjoy the reef views from an underwater viewing chamber, glass bottom boat and coral semi-submersible. The Whitsundays offers the only opportunity to spend a night in a hotel room right on the Great Barrier Reef! There is definitely a reef experience on offer for everyone.
The Whitsundays also has some of the best fishing in Queensland. Charter Vessels operating out of Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island offer a variety of trips to the rich waters of the outer Great Barrier Reef chasing, tuna, mackerel and coral trout, or tagging and releasing sailfish and the legendary black marlin.
More than just fish and coral
The Great Barrier Reef is home to a stunning array of animals, from microscopic plankton to whales weighing more than 100 tonnes. More than just fish and coral, the Great Barrier Reef supports:
• 1625 species of fish, including 1400 coral reef species
• More than 3000 species of molluscs (shells)
• 630 species of echinoderm (starfish, sea urchins)
• 14 breeding species of sea snakes
• 215 species of birds including 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds
• Six of the world's seven species of marine turtle
• 30 species of whales and dolphins
• One of the world's most important dugong populations
• 133 species of sharks and rays
• ....and much more
The different types of animals found along the Great Barrier Reef help make it one of the richest and most complex natural systems on earth. While there is a lot known about some of the animals that make the reef home, vast amounts of information and species are yet to be discovered.
Find out more about reef species