Cairns natural attractions

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    CAIRNS IS EASILY ACCESSIBLE TO THE LARGEST REEF SYSTEM ON THE PLANET, THE GREAT BARRIER REEF: Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland
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    THERE ARE PLENTY OF OPERATORS THAT WILL TAKE YOU OUT TO THE REEF TO DO SOME AMAZING SCUBA DIVING OR SNORKELLING: Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland
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    YOU CAN SEE SOME FASCINATING MARINE LIFE IN THE REEF: Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland
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Natural attractionsCairns natural attractions

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is one of seven wonders of the natural world and the world's largest coral reef at over 2000 kilometres in length. It starts around Bundaberg in Queensland's southeast and goes up to the Torres Strait Islands near Papua New Guinea.

The Great Barrier Reef actually comprises over 3,000 separate reefs and coral cays. It is one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth with around 400 different types of coral, about 1,500 species of fish, 350 echinoderms (sea urchins, starfish, sea cucumbers etc.), 4,000 types of mollusc (snails, clams, etc.) and thousands of other species of crustaceans, sponges and worms. There are also plenty of larger species like turtles, sharks, dugongs and the majestic humpback whales, which migrate from Antarctica every winter. On the islands and coral cays there are also many species of bird life.

There are many islands in the Great Barrier Reef system. There are the larger islands found mostly around the Whitsunday region, with many of these hosting excellent holiday resorts. There are also many smaller islands or coral cays, which are usually found towards the outer reef. All these islands vary considerably on how you can get to them, some have airstrips, while most require boat transport. Many of these islands are uninhabited by humans, so if you are lucky enough to be sailing to some of these, you can have your own deserted island paradise.

The best way to view this amazing reef, is either by snorkelling, scuba diving or by viewing it through a glass bottom boat. There are many tour operators that provide trips to the reef and they are located at all major Queensland coastal towns and cities that lie next to the Great Barrier Reef.