One of Australia’s most remarkable natural gifts, the Great Barrier Reef is blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the world’s largest coral reef. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has long been one of the world’s most magnificent natural wonders, so enormous it can be seen from space, so beautiful it can move visitors to tears.
Facts about the Great Barrier Reef:
As the largest living structure on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef is incredibly rich and diverse. Stretching 2300 kilometres, this natural icon is so large it can even be seen from outer space. While it’s known mostly for its large maze of colourful reefs, its intricate architecture also provides a home for a huge number of animals and plants. Some of these, such as turtles and crocodiles, have been around since prehistoric times and have changed little over the millennia.
The breathtaking array of marine creatures includes 600 types of soft and hard corals, more than 100 species of jellyfish, 3000 varieties of molluscs, 500 species of worms, 1625 types of fish, 133 varieties of sharks and rays, and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins.
There are activities for everyone when they visit the place like:
Great Barrier Reef Day Trips
Great Barrier Reef Cruises
Hot Air Ballooning Tours
Island Day Trips
Daintree Rainforest Tours
White Water Rafting
Reef & Rainforest Combined Tours
Just how big is the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park?
Covering 344,400km2, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is:
- bigger than Victoria and Tasmania combined
- bigger than the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Holland combined
- roughly the same area as Japan, Germany, Malaysia or Italy
- approximately half the size of Texas
- slightly smaller than the entire Baltic Sea.
The Marine Park stretches approximately 2300 km along the coast of Queensland in north-eastern Australia – this is about the same length as the west coast of the USA from Vancouver to the Mexican border.
The Belize Reef off the Caribbean coast of Belize is the second longest barrier reef in the world at 290 km, while Ningaloo Reef off the West Australian coast is 280 km long.
But the reef, and the profusion of sea creatures living near it, is in profound trouble.
Huge sections of the Great Barrier Reef, stretching across hundreds of miles of its most pristine northern sector, were recently found to be dead, killed last year by overheated seawater. More southerly sections around the middle of the reef that barely escaped then are bleaching now, a potential precursor to another die-off that could rob some of the reef’s most visited areas of color and life.
Australia relies on the Great Barrier Reef for about 70,000 jobs and billions of dollars annually in tourism revenue, and it is not yet clear how that economy will be affected by the reef’s deterioration. Even in hard-hit areas, large patches of the Great Barrier Reef survived, and guides will most likely take tourists there, avoiding the dead zones.
The global reef crisis does not necessarily mean extinction for coral species. The corals may save themselves, as many other creatures are attempting to do, by moving toward the poles as the Earth warms, establishing new reefs in cooler water.
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