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The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most iconic and interesting tourist attractions in Australia, if not the world. Breath-taking beauty and fascinating marine life of every colour and hue captivate and entrance divers, snorkelers and boat passengers.
One of the seven wonders of the natural world, the Great Barrier Reef is made up of more than 3,000 individual coral and reef systems, making it larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space. If you're keep to explore this underwater treasure, there's no better place than the Southern Great Barrier Reef, stretching along the coast of Queensland northwards from Brisbane.
Here are just some of the amazing activities you can enjoy here in the Southern Great Barrier Reef - and there's a lot more than just the reef!
Explore the wonder of the reef
Obviously, if you've made the trip to Southern Great Barrier Reef you want to get a good close-up look at this marvel of the natural world - so where do you start?
The resort on Heron Island lies 89 kilometres off the Queensland coast and sits right atop the reef, making it the perfect place to go exploring. There are 20 dive sites within 15 minutes of the island plus the beaches are perfect for snorkelling right off, straight onto the beautiful reef.
Heron Island is also a nesting location for green and loggerhead turtles, making it the perfect place for nature lovers to get a close-up look at these magnificent creatures.
Take a different approach to viewing the reef with an I-SPY semi-submarine adventure. Take a trip underwater without getting wet and gaze at the turtles, tropical fish, manta rays and more.
There are many other locations throughout the area from which you can explore the reef. Lady Musgrave Island is another perfect spot for both diving and snorkelling, while a guided island walk allows you to explore the reef from land and learn all about its fascinating biological diversity. Alternatively, from Lady Elliot Island you can take a glass-bottomed boat tour over the reef and feed the amazing array of fish that fill the 'fish pool' at the island's Marine Park.
More animal adventures
Away from the reef, there are plenty more animal adventures to be had. Visit the Koorana Crocodile Farm in Yeppon, which features more than 100 crocs. Bird enthusiasts will be in their element on Lady Elliot Island, such is the diversity of birds found there. See the likes of bridled terns, silver gulls, brown bobbies, red-tailed tropics and more on a guided bird-watching tour of the island.
Meanwhile, the Mon Repos Regional Park is home to the largest loggerhead turtle rookery in the Southern Hemisphere. Visit between January and March to glimpse the cute baby turtles hatching.
If fishing is your passion then grab your rod and head to 1770/Agnes Water where you'll have your pick of top-notch fishing beaches. 1770/Agnes Water is also a super spot for surfing and kayaking, should you wish to get your adrenaline pumping!
Something a little different
There is a plethora of other amazing activities on offer in the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Soar above the reef on a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter experience and stop for a romantic lunch on your own deserted island.
Take a break from all the outdoor adventure with a trip to the Bundaberg Distillery to get an inside look into how Queensland's famous Bundaberg Rum is made. Tour the factory and finish up with a few samples of this fine rum.
If you'd like to brush up on your history, take a guided walk along the sandy beaches and turquoise waters of 1770/Agnes Waters with Larc Tours and retrace the steps that Lieutenant James Cook took over two centuries ago when he first stepped ashore here.
Phew - what a trip! If you manage to fit all that into one trip to the Southern Great Barrier Reef then you've just had one incredible holiday!