Tourist 'underwhelmed' after visiting Great Barrier Reef: 'Not what you'd expect'

The famous destination was on the woman's 'bucket list', but she was disappointed after seeing the sad reality.

An Aussie woman ticking off a "bucket list" item by visiting the Great Barrier Reef says she was feeling "underwhelmed" after exploring the famous reef off Australia's northeast coast.

Global warming and climate change have been blamed for the destruction of the reef in recent years — particularly the southern end — with warmer waters repeatedly bleaching the coral found within it. Wild weather events, including storms, have also wreaked havoc on the once-thriving reef.

So it's no secret that parts of the huge 348,000 square kilometre area have seen better days, but "it's not what you'd expect," the disappointed traveller said while visiting recently.

Woman snorkelling in great barrier reef, Queensland.
The tourist named Adriana was disappointed by her visit to the Great Barrier Reef. Source: TikTok/ajelesslipss

Detailing her experience in a video on TikTok, the woman said "this is the most underwhelming thing," filming from the water while donning a wetsuit and snorkel. "There's no colour, there's no fish, it all looks dead. It is certainly not what you'd expect from the Great Barrier Reef," she said.

The woman filmed her diving experience before sharing it on social media. She explained there was "a lot of white stuff floating around everywhere" making it hard to see much else — a stark contrast from the brightly colours reefs we're used to seeing.

'We have a long way to go' to fix the problem

There are over 1,500 species of fish, about 400 species of coral, 4,000 species of mollusk, and some 240 species of birds, plus a great diversity of sponges, anemones, marine worms, crustaceans, and other species found within the reef. But the tourist said the only time she saw a fish was at the end of her tour when she fed them from her boat.

"To say I was [devastated] and underwhelmed is an understatement. I knew through global warming and too many of us tourists, that we had done some damage," she said. "But I had heard and hoped we were regenerating it. This proved to me we have a long way to go"

The southern end of the reef (left) has lost more coral than the northern end (right) Source: AIMS
The southern end of the reef (left) has lost more coral than the northern end (right) Source: AIMS

Several bleaching events have destroyed the reef

There have been several mass bleaching events The first was recorded in 1998 then again 2002, 2016, 2017, 2020 and 2022 and were likely all fuelled by climate change. The WWF-Australia head of oceans Richard Lack last year said the trend appears to now be an event occurring “more than once every two years”.

"Coral bleaching is directly attributable to climate change caused by rising global emissions," he said. "Reducing Australia’s domestic and exported emissions fast, this decade, is the main solution within our control."

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