1,400 miles long. 2,900 individual reefs. 133,000 square miles. 900 islands. Over 1,500 species of fish. 6 species of turtles. 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises. The only living organism visible from space (!!!) And so, so much more.
Flying over the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef for some is a bucket list item, yet for others is overrated. I have a love/hate relationship with the idea of a bucket list and “ticking” things off, but I have to admit something: coming face to face with the Great Barrier Reef was on my “bucket list”. Not only did I want to see in person what I read about in elementary school, but I also wanted to get a closer perspective on the environmental issues facing the reef (more on that in another post).
My initial plan included going to Port Douglas (further up north) to see the GBR on a snorkeling trip – which I did end up doing – but after taking some advice from an Aussie, I changed my trip to also stop in the Whitsunday Islands on my way up north. When I arrived, I spontaneously decided to splurge on a flight over the Reef and Whitehaven Beach. Why not? It was supposed to be beautiful… I was only here once… I’d never flown in a seaplane before and that’s something I REALLY needed to experience once in life, I mean come on… these are the things I tell myself to justify the cost.
Yes it was pricey, but it’s one of my favorite memories from traveling in Australia. And thankfully, I wasn’t stuck with a group of couples either!!! Not that there’s anything wrong with couples but as a single person it can be a bit annoying sometimes. The plane flies from Whitsunday Airport, meaning the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef is through some of the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays. So really, it’s a 2 for 1 in terms of scenery! The islands boast lush, green, untouched forests. And with the bright turquoise water, stop my beating heart!!!
I’ll let the pictures do the talking, but if you ever go to the Great Barrier Reef, please I beg you: see it from above. It takes on an entirely new appearance; it’s much more spectacular from a bird’s eye view. The snorkeling was fantastic, but it really is something to see from the sky. All I could think about is we live in a beautiful world. Looking back, the money was well spent on the flight. It is one of the most memorable and striking things I’ve ever seen. And to think it’s a living organism… it’s pretty special.