Captivated by David Attenborough’s explorations of the place he calls “the most magical thing I ever saw in my life”? I was too. The Great Barrier Reef, a 2,000km stretch of coral that hugs almost the whole length of Queensland’s shore is, after all, nature on an epic scale. I spent a week there in November for The Independent, flying high above the reef in a seaplane and diving deep below the water in a magical underwater world.
First experiencing the reef is a little like having the colour saturation turned up on your eyeballs – sea the colour of jasper, brilliant blue skies, white sand and, under the waves, a rainbow of coral, home to everything from glimmering shoals of fish to wizened turtles and waving anemones.
David Attenborough still describes his first time diving the Great Barrier Reef, in 1957, as “the most magical experience of my life”. He returned to Australia’s “rainforest of the ocean” for what is perhaps his most spectacular show to date, a BBC1 documentary that combines the story of his most-loved natural wonder with the latest, cutting-edge video technology to show the weird and wonderful world beneath the waves, now so threatened by pollution, climate change and industry.
Great Barrier Reef diving guide
Here’s the story of my first dive, at a bommie off Heron Island.
And here is my full guide to visiting the Great Barrier Reef.
Read on for a few photos from the trip.