27th January 2016
Although it should already rank pretty highly, get ready to move the Great Barrier Reef to the top of your bucket list. Following a remarkable endorsement from Sir David Attenborough, the most famous naturalist in the world has said the reef is the most memorable place he's been. The renowned English broadcaster is 89, so he's seen plenty in his time, yet Attenborough chose to make the reef the subject of a new BBC series, having first visited the reef almost 60 years ago.
Although much has changed since 1957 when Sir David first went diving in the largest coral ecosystem in the world, the reef's sheer beauty and magnitude certainly hasn't. Stretching more than 30,000 sq km the Great Barrier Reef is larger than Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK combined and is the only living thing visible from space. As if that wasn't impressive enough, the coral kingdom is also home to over 1,500 fish species.
Located off the north-east coast of Australia, there're plenty of opportunity to explore this natural wonder from multiple points off the Queensland coast. However if you too would like to do a Sir David, the Whitsundays are the most popular place from which to explore the reef. Hamilton Island is the most common spot as it is not only the largest of the inhabited Whitsunday islands but it's also the only one with an airport, making it the most easily accessible.
Hamilton Island holidays are easy and breezy, with free WiFi across the island and an optional cashless system that means you can charge everything back to your room, from ice creams to cuddles with a koala. There's also an app that allows you to sign up for activities including mini-golf and beachside bingo as well as check out all the dining options on offer. While the activities program provides a welcome relief from all the sun, surf and sand you won't be able to stay away from long and really, you're only here for one thing.
So if you're eager to find Nemo as well as a huge range of other marine life, organise a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef. It doesn't matter if you've never been snorkelling before, your tour operator can give you a crash course on the basics enroute to the reef, so you'll be ready to take to the water as soon as you arrive. There are a number of reefs to explore however Bait Reef, just 2 hours from Hamilton Island, is one of the more popular ones. Offering an amazing range of fish and colourful coral, once you're immerse in this unbelievable underwater world you too will develop an Attenborough-esque enthusiasm for the natural world.