The Great Barrier Reef the World’s largest living structure.

This coral reef system extends about 2,010 kilometres (1,250 miles) parallel to the coast of Queensland.

Located off the north-eastern coast of Australia and bordering the crystal clear Coral Sea.

The reef is a foremost tourist attraction bringing in about 1.6 million tourists a year.

Cairns is one of the largest centres for reef tourism and a few secluded islands located farther offshore.

History

The Great Barrier Reef is about 500,000 years old, with its most recent growth starting about 8000 years ago.

Coral reefs begin to build where large numbers of stony corals live together and skeletonise. Together with sand, rubble, plants, and molluscs form a limestone foundation.

Layer by layer, it builds over thousands of years. Nearly 3,000 individual coral reefs and about 300 small coral islands called cays form the reef, making it the world’s largest structure made by living organisms.

It may be surprising that corals are living animals, as they were long thought to be plants.

They have an opening or a mouth to take in nourishment, require shallow waters for oxygen intake, and are easily broken when collided with by foot or object.

This bright, almost neon coral reef is a dazzling site whether beheld from above or beneath the sea’s surface.  It is very much alive and changes in colour with the water ranging from brilliant blue to aqua green.

Great Barrier Reef

Underwater canyons, shipwrecks, and marine animals, these coral gardens make snorkelling and scuba-diving the reef’s most popular activities.

Much of the Great Barrier Reef is still unexplored and will undoubtedly keep scientists busy for millenniums.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Starting in 1975, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has been managing this spectacular Marine Park.  Reporting to Australian Government Environment Minister.

This World Heritage site is the World’s largest coral reef made of around 3000 individual reefs, which equate to around 10% of the Worlds’coral reefs.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority partner with the Traditional owners to make sure the reef continues to be healthy and safe.

Several reef operators employ  Marine Biologists to both monitor their own sites and help educate the visitors to ensure that the reef is always well looked after.

Nothing will prepare you for how beautiful the Great Barrier Reef it certainly be on everyone’s bucket list to visit at least once.

See our ReefTalk program to find out who you can learn more about the Great Barrier Reef.