Interactive: Dive the Great Barrier Reef with Google Maps

Interactive: Dive the Great Barrier Reef with Google Maps

The World Wonders Project takes Internetters from the deepest ocean to the coldest shack, courtesy Google's Street View

Follow the turtle, via your mouse

Dying to see the Great Barrier Reef but don't fancy the flight Down Under? You may soon want to cast Google Maps in the role of your personal travel savior.

For the first time, Google Maps' Street View has ventured beneath the sea to capture six of the world's best living coral reefs -- three along the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, Apo Island in the Philippines, Hanauma Bay in Hawaii and Molokini crater in Maui -- in panoramic, interactive sequences.

You can swim with a manta ray, track a turtle or follow a bunch of snorkelers thanks to The Catlin Seaview Survey, a major scientific study of the world’s reefs, which used a specially designed camera to capture the images.

See the ocean views here:

  • Follow a mantra ray near Lady Elliot Island, the Great Barrier Reef here.
  • See a turtle and a school of coral fish (above) in a larger map here.
  • See the reef at sunset on Wilson Island here.
  • Visit an ancient boulder coral at Apo Island's marine reserve, the Philippines here.
  • Join snorkelers in Hawaii's Hanauma Bay here.
  • See the vast coral reef at Maui's Molokini crater here.

As a part of Google's World Wonders Project, the company has partnered with UNESCO, the World Monuments Fund and Cyark, a digital archive of the world’s heritage sites, to make the incredible sites around the world "accessible."

In addition to natural wonders such as the reefs, the project covers many other sites and monuments, including Scott of Antarctica's hut (see below).

You can access 360-degree views of the sites through the project's official website, or by entering on Google Maps.

More on CNN: Time travels with your cat: How Google sees your vacation plans

Here are a few examples of the project. Scroll around by dragging the pictures to the left or to the right:

Great Barrier Reef at sunset (search for "Wilson Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia")

View larger map

Base of the pioneers who trekked Antarctica (search "Scott's Hut, Antarctica"). Don't forget to explore the hut from inside as well (click the door)

View larger map

Hiufu Wong is CNN Travel's staff writer.

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