1. Welcome to the Great Barrier Reef

19 surreal scenes from the Great Barrier Reef

When “Great” is officially in your name, you know you’ve got something to prove. Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef has a bit of a reputation for being bucket list worthy – but you’re probably wondering what it’s really like in real life.

They say a picture tells 1,000 words, so here are 19 scenes from our favourite reef to help you get better acquainted before you click the “Book Now” button and dive in yourself.

1. Meet Nemo

Finding NemoFinding Nemo is one of the first things you want to do when you dive the Great Barrier Reef. Around the world, these poor fish have probably been extremely confused as to why, for more than 10 years, everyone has been getting in their face for a photo.

2. Hot potato

The Cod HoleThis is one of the Great 8, otherwise known as a potato cod. Did I mention these guys get really close? Fun fact, they can grow up to 110 kilograms and over 8.5 feet long.

3. Colourful coral

Steve's BommieThis coral spire (aka Steve’s Bommie) shoots up to within a few feet of the ocean’s surface and is covered with fish.

4. Go below the surface

Snorkelling on the Great Barrier ReefThere are a couple good places to go for a scenic swim on the Great Barrier Reef … just a couple.

5. Pack in more reef with a liveaboard adventure

Mike Ball Dive ExpeditionsThe Spoilsport, the exclusive dive boat of Mike Ball Dive Expeditions, isn’t a bad place to spend a week on the Great Barrier Reef.

6. What you’ll spot under the sea

Coral on the Great Barrier ReefThe coral and sea anemones are so colourful. Their bold patterns would make some fashion designers jealous.

7. Kiss a fish

Potato Cod at the Cod HoleThe reef is the best spot to try to go all the way with a potato cod. Here fishy fishy fishy!

8. Blue on blue on aqua

Blues of the Great Barrier ReefGreat Barrier Reef blues are like no other. Make sure you catch the view of the reef from above the waterline.

9. Take a breather

Sunset on the reefDiving isn’t all about exploring below the surface. One of the best parts is meeting other divers and taking a minute to relax after another beautiful day of diving.

10. Dinner and a show

What happens on a live aboard: Mike Ball at nightLife on the Spoilsport consists of: nibbling on kangaroo, listening to Captain Trevor serenade us, and closing it all out with the daily homemade dessert. You might get used to life out on the reef.

11. Keep an eye out for evening visitors

Shark on the Great Barrier ReefAt night, you may spot sharks gathering at the back of the boat, making the evening dip ever so alluring.

12. Under da sea

Coral on the reefAriel would be right at home in this underwater wonderland. So much colour and movement.

13. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Cuttlefish on the Great Barrier ReefYou may be lucky to spot cuttlefish change colours repeatedly right in front of you. Its spots rhythmically change from dark and then glow like they were lit from behind. Fun fact, these guys aren’t actually fish, but molluscs.

14. Rainbow on the reef

Rainbow on the reef
The colour and good vibes underneath the water are not often matched above the water, but you might be lucky enough to spot a rainbow from the top deck of the boat. The right response is to jump straight back in and find that pot of gold (so you can have more epic adventures on the Great Barrier Reef of course).

15. Sunset special

Great Barrier Reef is even greater at sunsetMake sure you’re above the water at sunset for this once a day show. A-may-zing.

16. Above and below

Coral of the Great Barrier Reef

Catch the action above and below the waterline at the same time. Blue skies, clear water and corals? Yes please.

17. Dive right in

Diving the reefWhether you’re a newbie or old hand, the Great Barrier Reef is a great place to scuba dive. Go on, just dive in!

18. Sleepy turtles

Turtle on the Great Barrier ReefIt’s great when the turtles are really relaxed so you can spend a few minutes (before their nap time) to get up close and personal. Although we’re pretty sure he was thinking, “Enough with the photos already, trying to sleep here, alright?”

19. Here fishy fishy fishy

Schools of reef fishIf you needed any more reason to go and see the reef, just take a look at these schools of fish. Peak hour on the EAC.

For some more reef inspiration, head over to see 44 more surreal scenes from the Great Barrier Reef on Matador Network.

Have you been to the Great Barrier Reef? How did you capture your memories from this amazing bucket list spot?