Legendary documentary maker Sir David Attenborough has described his first time diving on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as the ‘most exciting natural history experience’ of his life.
The 88-year-old, who has spent much of the past 60 years exploring the Earth’s most spectacular locations, spent time aboard one of the world’s most technologically advanced research vessels while filming the a new documentary series last year, seeing the reef in a way he’d never experienced before.
Speaking ahead of the release of new three-part series about the reef, Mr Attenborough said the Australian marine icon had left him with some special memories.
“Being on the reef is a revelatory, thrilling and unbeatable experience and with this project we’re going to be able to share it with millions,” Mr Attenborough said.
“The most exciting natural history experience of my life was the first time I dived on a coral reef [in 1957],” Mr Attenborough said.
Tourism Australia announced on Tuesday that the $1.5 million three-part documentary is part of a renewed push to promote Australia’s aquatic and coastal experiences.
Tourism Australia Managing Director John O’Sullivan said that Mr Attenborough was an obvious choice for the project.
“David Attenborough is one of the world’s greatest presenters of natural history content, and the Great Barrier Reef is arguably the world’s most recognised natural wonder. We couldn’t ask for a better match,”
At 350,000 square kilometres, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure and one of the seven wonders of the natural world.
According to a 2014 government report the outlook for the reef is ‘poor’, with climate change posing the most serious threat to the 2,300 kilometre long coral reef ecosystem.
Tourism Australia says that the reef is one of the key drivers for international visitors to Australia.
Previous high-profile Tourism Australia campaigns include Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Walkabout’ ad that coincided with the director’s film, Australia and the infamous Lara Bingle ‘Where the Bloody Hell are You?’ campaign which was banned in the UK for inappropriate language.
David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef series is expected to air in early 2016 in more than 130 countries.