Great Barrier Reef, Great Barrier Reef NP - Port Douglas, QLD

Great Barrier Reef, Great Barrier Reef NP

The Great Barrier Reef of Australia is the most extensive coral reef in existence, and for interest, variety and beauty of marine life, it is possibly unrivalled by any other region of similar extent. Built up over millions of years by the tiny coral polyp, the Reef extends from north of Cape York, [1250 miles] southward, enclosing a waterway of great beauty. It is not a single reef, but a series of detached coral reefs, shoals, and islands, some submerged, many awash, and others topped with a pile of sand and shrubbery and inhabited by strange and unusual types of tropical life.

This is the greatest single tourist attraction that Queensland can boast. This reef consists of innumerable bays, atolls and islets, with an unbelievably intricate system of individual reefs and shoals together with at least 600 islands, which are large enough to be named.

The Great Barrier Reef is a region of contrasts. There are, for example, sea anemones, which for delicacy of form and beauty of colour have a charm greater than any other form of reef life; they are the flowers of the reef. On the other hand, there is the stone-fish which, for repulsiveness, can have few rivals. On its back are thirteen spines, each with tow glands secreting a venom as virulent as that of a snake. But the stone-fish is rare on most parts of the reef and presents no danger to the visitor wearing shoes.

On many of the beaches surrounding the coral islands are enormous numbers of shells. On the reefs themselves, clams of varying sizes and colours abound. There are the giant claims, easily the largest shellfish in the world, weighing three or four hundredweight, and interesting for their size rather than their beauty. There are also smaller clams, some twelve inches in length, whose velvety mantles vie with the fishes in the brilliance and variety of their colours. But common as are the claims, they are far outnumbered by bêche-de-mer, which somewhat resemble a large slug. Most of them are black or brown in colour and cannot be described as beautiful. Bêche-de-mer are, however, of economic importance and there is a demand for them in the east as a food delicacy.

In winter, turtles may be seen basking in the warmth of a shallow pool. In summer, the female turtles come ashore to breed, leaving the water at dusk to wend their cumbersome way up the beach above the limits of the highest tide. Here they set to work to scoop, my means of their flippers, great holes in the sand in which they deposit from 100 to 150 eggs at a single sitting. As many as forty turtles may come ashore overnight and tourists derive great fun from riding the clumsy creatures over the sand as they make back for the water [don’t think we should include this Andrew].

In summer also the bird life is very interesting. Great flocks of mutton birds and terns are scattered over the ocean during the winter, but in the spring they congregate on the islands of the reef to nest, and as thousands of them wheel and turn, the sky is almost obscured.

The coral gardens on the fringing reefs form an entrancing spectacle. Drifting over the reef lagoons in a boat, with the aid of the “waterscope” – a special box-like instrument with a bottom of glass – the visitor sees the coral 10 to 12 feet below. The walls of the gardens are a hedge-like growth whose surfaces often resemble the shapes of plants and familiar objects.

In addition to these natural wonders of the reef, cruising, and aquaplaning are available.

With over 1000 islands in the Great Barrier Reef, many of the islands are only a short ride aboard one of the boats departing regularly from Cairns and Port Douglas. On the islands you can discover a world of pristine beaches, rainforest vegetation and coral coves. Most of the islands also offer accommodation ranging from camping grounds and bungalows to luxurious resorts.

The Reef is a marine wonderland made up of 6000 species of flora and fauna including 1500 species of fish, 4000 species of molluscs and 400 types of coral. Snorkelling or diving here is, quite certainly, the adventure of a lifetime. The best way to see the reef is by marine park vessels on a day trip. Most reef trips include coach transfers from your accommodation, morning or afternoon teas, a tasty tropical luncheon, as well as your snorkelling gear. Scuba diving and scenic helicopter flights are options that may be pre-booked or added once you are on board. Agincourt Reef is one of the reefs known as ribbons - at the very edge of the continental shelf and is best accessed by departing from Port Douglas. Agincourt is renowned for its visibility and the wondrous diversity of marine life and corals found in its pristine waters.

Features

Facilities
With over 1000 islands in the Great Barrier Reef, many of the islands are only a short ride aboard one of the boats departing regularly from Cairns and Port Douglas. On the islands you can discover a world of pristine beaches, rainforest vegetation and coral coves. Most of the islands also offer accommodation ranging from camping grounds and bungalows to luxurious resorts.
Attractions
The coral gardens on the fringing reefs form an entrancing spectacle. Drifting over the reef lagoons in a boat, with the aid of the “waterscope” – a special box-like instrument with a bottom of glass – the visitor sees the coral 10 to 12 feet below. The walls of the gardens are a hedge-like growth whose surfaces often resemble the shapes of plants and familiar objects.

In addition to these natural wonders of the reef, cruising, and aquaplaning are available.
Activities
The Reef is a marine wonderland made up of 6000 species of flora and fauna including 1500 species of fish, 4000 species of molluscs and 400 types of coral. Snorkelling or diving here is, quite certainly, the adventure of a lifetime. The best way to see the reef is by marine park vessels on a day trip. Most reef trips include coach transfers from your accommodation, morning or afternoon teas, a tasty tropical luncheon, as well as your snorkelling gear. Scuba diving and scenic helicopter flights are options that may be pre-booked or added once you are on board. Agincourt Reef is one of the reefs known as ribbons - at the very edge of the continental shelf and is best accessed by departing from Port Douglas. Agincourt is renowned for its visibility and the wondrous diversity of marine life and corals found in its pristine waters.

Location

Port Douglas, QLD, 4873