The World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most unique and amazing marine spectacles and is the largest natural feature on Earth – one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World!
And it’s big! The only natural feature visible from space, it extends for some 2300km (1300 miles) along the north-eastern coast of Queensland Australia, from the Far North to Bundaberg in the South. It’s not one single reef, but consists of about 2900 individual reefs. To put it in perspective, it covers an area about the same size as the United Kingdom, half the State of Texas or the length of the entire Japanese island chain.
Covering over 348,000 km2, it comprises fringing and barrier reefs, continental islands, coral cays and 70 different bio-regions, making it the most ecologically diverse system in the world.
The Great Barrier Reef supports over 1500 species of fish, 400 species of coral and 4000 species of molluscs just to name a few!
There are more different species of animals and plants in a cubic metre of the Great Barrier Reef than in any other environment in the world – including tropical rainforests. In fact, some reefs in the Great Barrier Reef have more different fish types than in the entire Caribbean Ocean.
Although coral reefs have been around for over 500 million years, the Great Barrier Reef is relatively young at 500,000 years, and this most modern form is only about 8000 years old, having developed after the last ice age.