The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on the planet, it is incredibly rich and diverse. Stretching 2300 kilometres, this natural icon is so large it can even be seen from outer space. While it is known mostly for its large maze of colourful reefs, it also provides a home for a huge number of plants and animals.
Some of these, such as turtles, have been around since prehistoric times and have changed little over the millennia. The breathtaking amount 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
This unique range of ecological communities is the Whitsunday Islands which have beautiful flowering coral reefs in easy accessible shallow water for all ages can enjoy what this truly stunning ecosystem has to offer.
The Whitsundays equals the best snorkelling anywhere along the Reef Check out some Fun Facts on the GBR
- Covers 344,400km in area.
- Includes the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem.
- Includes some 3000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays and about 150 inshore mangrove islands.
- Extends south from the northern tip of Queensland in north-eastern Australia to just north of Bundaberg.
- Is between 60 and 250 kilometres in width
- Has an average depth of 35 metres in its inshore waters, while on outer reefs, continental slopes extend down to depths to more than 2000 metres.
- Extends into the airspace above and into the earth beneath the seabed.
- While coral reefs initially made the Great Barrier Reef famous, they only comprise about seven per cent of the Marine Park and the World Heritage Area. The remaining of the Marine Park is an extraordinary variety of marine habitats, ranging from shallow inshore areas such as seagrass, mangroves, sand, algae and sponge gardens, and inter-reefal communities to deep oceanic areas more than 250km offshore
Bigger is always better…
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.