The Great Barrier Reef is a world’s famous largest coral reef and a famous destination for tourists, attracting more than two million visitors each year. This beautiful natural attraction is located off shores of north-eastern Australia, from Bamaga to Bundaberg, Queensland. It is the world’s most complex & diversified ecosystem consisting of 900 islands that stretch over 2,600 km, their width ranging from 60 km to 250 km & occupying an area of 344,000 square km approx. There are more than 2,900 individual coral reefs, including Lady Elliot Island & the smaller Murray islands.
The Great Barrier Reef is a unique colorful mosaic making the largest structure on planet Earth by living organisms. Visitors experience a rare & remarkable adventure in a picturesque Paradise, a haven of isolation, relaxation & gratification.
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Things to see and do
- glass-bottomed boat viewing
- scuba diving & fishing charters
- long range roving tours
- aircraft & helicopter tours
- self-sail bare boats
- semi-submersibles & educational trips
- cruise ships
- beach hire
- water sports
- passenger ferries
- whale watching
- swimming with the dolphins
Means of Transport
The tourism fleet of 1500 vessels by 820 operators is the primary means for visitors to explore the Marine Park. They offer a diverse range of tourism operations including day & over-night tours.
The wonderful & exotic coral reef system was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1981 & ever since it is also protected by (WHC) the World Heritage Convention, which is an international organization with an aim to protect & conserve designated sites for future generations. The reefs are vital to the survival of several endangered species & therefore, ‘The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’ was established in 1975, by the Australian Government, to protect & conserve the unique tourism site.
Great Barrier Reef Facts
- The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest colorful living structure that astronauts have been able to see & have photographed from the space.
- The Great Barrier Reef is a remarkable natural habitat of a wide species of living things including giant clams, sea turtles, sea-horses, nudibranch, 17 kinds of sea snakes, 6 species of sea turtles, sharks, stingrays, & over 1500 different species of fish, (Including clown-fish, star of the Walt Disney’s animated film, “Finding Nemo”), thirty species of whales, dolphins, porpoises. A large population of dugongs & about 5,000 species of mollusks also live on the reef.
- The Great Barrier Reef is a natural home to more than 210 species of birds including 22 species of sea-birds and 32 species of shore-birds that nest or roost on the islands or visits the reef. The white-bellied sea eagle & roseate tern are frequently seen by the visitors.
- There are 15 species of sea-grass, commonly Halophila & Halodule, found along the reef to attract the dugongs & turtles and to provide appropriate habitats for the variety of fish.
- Salt-water crocodiles live in the salt marshes & mangrove on the coastline near the reef.
How the reef formed?
The Great Barrier Reef is about 500,000 years old according to the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences. These reefs had not been the same & have taken on many forms, depending on the sea level, temperature etc. The current form is estimated to be 6,000 to 8,000 years old. Marine animals called coral play an important role in the formation of the Great Barrier Reef. Corals create calcium carbonate which forms a huge, hard, shell like structures.
The biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef is the climatic change due to global warming as the warmer seawater temperature causes coral bleaching.
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