THE GREAT BARRIER REEF - World Heritage Area
|TOWNS & ISLANDS
The Great Barrier Reef lies offshore of most of the coast of Queensland and comprises some 3,000 reefs and
around 900 islands. It contains the largest collection of life forms of any one area in the world, and is
around half the size of Texas.|
Access to the reef is available from most towns between Hervey Bay and Cooktown and includes glass bottom craft, catamarans, cruisers and just about any form of water or air transport you can imagine.
Reconstructions of the Coral Reef can be found in several cities along the reef and these can be as enchanting as a trip onto the reef itself. The spectacular 'Great Barrier Reef Aquarium' at Townsville's Great Barrier Reef Wonderland Complex which houses the world's largest living Coral Reef on land. (See Townsville)
Townsville is also the base of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which is also located in the Wonderland Complex, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, just outside Townsville at Cape Cleveland.
The major resort islands on the reef are accessed from the cities of Cairns, Cardwell, Townsville, Proserpine, Mackay and Rockhampton.
Magnetic Island: Can be reached by passenger ferry, helicopter, or car barge. Activities include snorkelling and a swimming enclosure, horse-riding and para-flying. Facilities include accommodation for back-packers, the budget conscious, a full resort, or motel; a koala park, shops, coffee shops and restaurants.
From Cardwell:162km. north of Townsville
Hinchinbrook is the worlds second largest island National Park and provides secluded beaches, exhilarating bush walks and extensive mangrove areas. There is a first class resort on the island and camping areas are available.
From Mission Beach 237km. north of Townsville
This island off Mission Beach offers bush walks, a WW11 swinging bridge, and Doug Arthur's artists colony.
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