Great Barrier Reef | One of the seven wonders of the natural world
The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. It is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms consisting of over 3000 individual reef systems and coral cays, and 900 tropical islands with some of the world’s most beautiful sun-soaked, golden beaches.It is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres.
Stretching for over 2,300 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 sq.km, the reef is a World Heritage Site (1981). CNN categorized it one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It is larger than the Great Wall of China and the only living thing on earth visible from space.
The magnificent natural beauty has made it to the list of the worlds’ most sought after tourist destinations. Tourists who love nature, adventure and ecology can enjoy many experiences including snorkeling, scuba diving, helicopter tours, whale watching and swimming with dolphins, glass-bottomed boat viewing, semi-submersibles and educational trips, cruise ship tours. The activities are spread far to exploring the amazing Whitsunday Islands, trekking the ancient Daintree Rainforest or relaxing on luxurious tropical islands such as Hayman and Lizard.
215 species of birds (including 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds) visit the reef. Similarly, 15 species of seagrass, 500 species of marine algae, 400 coral species and 2,195 known plant are recorded here. This diversity helps in creating mini-ecosystems on their surface.
The primary environmental threats affecting the health of this reef system are climate change, pollution, and over fishing. Shipping accidents, oil spills, pesticides, sediment run off and tropical cyclones are other causes for extensive damage to the reef system.