Located on the northeast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef globally, extending from Cape York to Bundaberg. Discover some amazing facts about this natural wonder.
Many hotels in Gold Coast, Qld, the likes of Oaks Gold Coast Hotel, are ideal bases from which to explore the reef. With a depth of more than 2000m, the reef boasts snorkelling and diving locations and the chance to swim alongside whales, turtles or manta rays. The annual coral spawning event is a must-see.
Comprised of 3000 reefs, 500+ islands, hundreds of coral cays and coastal mangroves, the reef stretches 2300km along Queensland’s coast. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that converges with another UNESCO site, the Wet Tropics. Picture it being the size of Italy or Victoria and Tasmania combined.
The reef features a third of the world’s coral and is also home to a plethora of marine life, including 1500+ fish species, 600+ coral species, sharks, rays, dolphins and whales. Coral reefs form only 7% of the area, the balance populated by inshore and deep ocean areas.
Due to the regular flow of visitors, protective measures have been implemented to safeguard the reef and guarantee longevity. Volunteer programmes are carried out on the islands of Heron and Lady Elliot, among others. Additionally, a ‘reef tax’ is imposed on visitors to fund research and protection measures.