Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Accounting for roughly 10% of the entire world’s coral reef ecosystems, this UNESCO-listed natural wonder has pride of place on every diver’s wish list.

There are many amazing things about the world’s largest coral reef system, but perhaps the most important is that, uniquely, it extends over 14° of latitude, giving it a vast expanse of habitats ranging from shallow estuaries to deep ocean. This gives it the scope to house an astonishing range of ecological communities, habitats and species.

It’s difficult to know where to start with a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, and that’s part of what makes it trip-of-a-lifetime stuff. Factor in plenty of time and as well as seeing some of the world’s most dazzling marine life you can trek through ancient rainforest, island-hop around the Whitsundays with their white silica sands (also one of the world’s most scenic spots to skydive), chill out on tropical idylls such as Hayman and Lizard, and enjoy a seaside retreat in vibrant destinations such as Cairns, Airlie Beach, Hervey Bay, Mission Beach and Port Douglas.

One unforgettable option is to take a high-performance catamaran from Cairns to the reef sand island of Michaelmas Cay to dive and snorkel within eyeshot of turtles and colourful fish or, if you prefer, take a semi-submersible coral-viewing tour. This is also one of the most important bird sanctuaries on the Reef. Then there’s the ribbon-like Agincourt Reef with its 16 dive sites; cruises there invite you to snorkel, dive and helmet walk to see the kaleidoscopic marine life.

If you’re here as a couple, a seaplane ride over the world-famous Heart Reef is a romantic idea, while with kids in tow (or without), a ferry trip to Magnetic Island will bring you up-close and personal with koalas living peacefully in the wild. On Daydream Island, meanwhile, you can hand-feed friendly baby stingrays at the artificial Living Reef, and in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, you may even witness baby turtles hatching on the beach.

A tropical getaway to Barbados

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Every luxury included with Regent Seven Seas Cruises

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