How to have a sustainable visit to the Great Barrier Reef

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is a 2300km-long ribbon of colour and life, but the threats to the world's largest living organism are now as well known as its beauties.

Coral bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 saw massive coral loss, and two years ago Unesco pondered placing the reef on its List of World Heritage in Danger.

Caring for the reef begins at an individual level, and there are ways to minimise the impact of a visit, which can be as simple as choosing your location.

Up to 85% of visitors see the reef from Cairns or in the Whitsunday Islands, so head elsewhere on the Queensland coast and you're more likely to ensure the reef is unaffected by your visit.

Live aboard a dive boat from Townsville

Join the city's only live-aboard reef boat, operated by Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive. Multi-day dive and snorkel trips take in little-visited areas of the central reef, as well as the SS Yongala.

Adrenalin also run day trips to the coral gardens and canyons at Lodestone Reef. Further south, Heron Island and Lady Elliot Island resorts provide quiet patches of coral as well as sustainable stays.

Use renewable energy on Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island sits at the reef's southern end, and is best known for its manta rays and sea turtles, but it brings the added benefit of a resort with impeccable eco-credentials.

The Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort has dedicated itself to running on 100% renewable energy by the end of 2020, powered by more than 400 solar panels, and carrying out on-site composting.

It runs a Climate Change Trail, an hour-long walk with interpretation about the likely impacts of a warming planet on a coral cay.

Visit a research centre on Heron Island

Famed for its nesting turtles, it also has reef snorkelling straight off the beach and more than 20 dive sites around the island – Jacques Cousteau once rated it as one of his 10 favourite dive sites.

The island is home to a resort and a University of Queensland research station, with tours of the centre on offer to guests, giving them the chance to take home reef knowledge as a souvenir.