Nature lovers can now explore six of the world's most stunning marine landscapes from the comfort of their own home.

Google Maps have launched their first underwater panoramic images, giving users a glimpse of six Pacific coral reefs; Heron Island and Lady Elliot Island off Queensland, Wilson Island in the Great Barrier Reef, the Philippines' Apo Island, and Hanauma Bay in Oahu and Molokini Crater in Maui, both in Hawaii.

Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps and Earth, said the new images were Google's "next step in our quest to provide people with the most comprehensive, accurate and usable map of the world".

"With these vibrant and stunning photos you don't have to be a scuba diver - or even know how to swim - to explore and experience six of the ocean's most incredible living coral reefs. Now, anyone can become the next virtual Jacques Cousteau and dive with sea turtles, fish and manta rays in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii," the self-confessed scuba enthusiast wrote on the Google blog.


The images were taken by the Catlin Seaview Survey using a specially designed underwater camera, the SVII.

Google has previously launched panoramic views of Antarctica, the Amazon Basin and the Kennedy Space Center.

The new underwater panoramic images:

Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii
Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii