The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s seven natural wonders.

Australia’s northeast coast is home to the Great Barrier Reef, a place of extraordinary beauty and variety.  Located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is visible from outer space.

  • Over 400 different types of coral
  • 1,500 other fish species,
  • There are four thousand different kinds of molluscs.
  • 240 species of birds
  • 6 of the World’s seven sea turtles

Great Barrier Reef Gateways

Airlie Beach Bundaberg Cairns
Cape Tribulation Cape York Cardwell
Cooktown Mission Beach Port Douglas
Townsville Whitsundays Yeppoon

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is of significant scientific significance since it protects endangered animals like the dugong and green sea turtles.

Teeming with brightly coloured fish and coral, it is a must-see destination.  It is best seen with a mask and fins snorkelling and scuba diving.

The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s most extensive coral reef ecosystem, is a globally significant and exceptional entity.

This World Heritage Site includes the entire ecosystem, covering an area of 348,000 square kilometres that stretches from Fraser Island in the south to the tip of Cape York.

This wide range has many depths, from shallow coastal areas to oceanic waters over 2,000 metres deep.

Great Barrier Reef Islands

There are over 900 islands within the Great Barrier Reef, from small sandy cays to mountainous continental islands.

Book an island tour today.

Islands of the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is home to over 2,500 distinct reefs of varied sizes and shapes.

Many billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps, make up the reef.  The reefs support a staggering array of marine life and flora.  This coral reef is the largest single structure created by living organisms.

In 1981, it was designated a World Heritage Site and listed among the world’s seven natural wonders.  The Queensland National Trust has made it an official icon of the state.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) protects most of the Great Barrier Reef.  GBRMPA monitors its preservation and protection from the ongoing impact of human use, including fishing and tourism.

The Great Barrier Reef has been part of the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ culture for thousands of years.  It is integral to their culture, belief systems, and spirituality.

The Great Barrier Reef is a must-see location from Lady Elliot and Bundaberg in central Queensland through the Whitsunday Islands, Townsville, Cairns, and Cape York.

It generates billions of dollars of economic activity and sustains many small and large towns, including Cairns, Port Douglas and Airlie Beach.

Great Barrier Reef FAQ’s

Q. What is the Great Barrier Reef?

A. Queensland’s GBR is a kaleidoscope of colours—home to thousands of marine creatures and hundreds of types of corals. It is the world’s largest labyrinthine of coral reefs and islands—a place of recreation for scuba diving, snorkelling, and fishing. Providing work for 64,000 people, bringing in 6.4 billion dollars annually.

Q. Where is the Great Barrier Reef ?

A. It is located on the northeastern coast of Queensland, Australia. Stretching from the north of Bundaberg to Papua New Guinea.

Q. How big is the Great Barrier Reef?

A. The world’s most extensive coral reef, stretching 1,429 miles across 133,000 square kilometres. Nearly 3,000 reefs make up the enormous reef visible from space.

Q. What is the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park?

A. Since 1975, Australia has entrusted the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to protect and manage the marine park. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act of 1975 is the best science to safeguard the reef. Values decrease risks and improve the present prognosis for the Reef and the communities that depend on it. Traditional owners, Australian and Queensland government agencies, industry, community organisations, and individuals work together to maintain and manage the GBR.

Q. How many types of coral are there?

A. The GBR is home to approximately 600 species of coral. Coral has two main types: complex and soft.

Q. What kind of marine life can be found in the Great Barrier Reef?

A. The reef is home to a vast array of marine life, including over 1,500 species of fish, various types of corals, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, and whales. It’s one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet.

Q. Is the Great Barrier Reef in danger?

A. The Great Barrier Reef faces various threats, including coral bleaching due to rising sea temperatures, pollution, overfishing, and coastal development. Efforts are being made to conserve and protect the reef through marine protected areas and sustainability initiatives.

Q. Is the Great Barrier Reef visible from space?

A. Yes, the Great Barrier Reef is visible from space! Its expansive size and distinctive colours make it a prominent feature when viewed from orbit.

Q. Can you snorkel and dive in the Great Barrier Reef?

A. Absolutely! Snorkelling and diving are popular activities in the Great Barrier Reef. There are numerous sites where visitors can explore the underwater world, encountering colourful corals and marine creatures up close.

Q. What is coral bleaching?

A. Coral bleaching occurs when corals expel the symbiotic algae living within their tissues due to stress, often caused by high water temperatures. This leads to the corals turning white and, if the stress persists, can result in their death.

Q. Can tourists visit the Great Barrier Reef islands?

A. Yes, many of the islands are open to tourists. Visitors can explore the islands, enjoy water-based activities, and experience the region’s unique ecosystems. Popular islands include Hamilton Island, Green Island and Lady Elliot Island.

Q. Are there restrictions on visiting the Great Barrier Reef?

A. While tourism is allowed, regulations are in place to protect the reef. These may include rules about anchoring, fishing, and wildlife interaction. Following these guidelines is important to minimise the impact on the delicate ecosystem.

Every Visitor helps

Visiting the reef is not only an unforgettable experience but also one of the most effective ways you can contribute to preserving the Great Barrier Reef. Every visitor to the reef plays a vital role in its conservation efforts by paying an environmental management charge. This fee not only supports the daily maintenance of the marine park but also elevates the Great Barrier Reef’s reputation as the world’s best-managed reef.

  • Recycle trash
  • Use a reusable cup
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Plant a tree
  • Use only organic fertilisers.
  • Reef-Safe Sunscreen
  • Say no to single-use plastics.

Help Save the Great Barrier Reef

Molly Steer, an 11-year-old local Cairns girl, started StrawNoMore to help stop plastic straws.

Reef Restoration Foundation, James Cook University, and local tourism operators are establishing a coral nursery on the Great Barrier Reef.

Reef Check Australia uses citizen science to connect people to take positive action to protect coral reefs.

Attend a Reef talk and learn about the GBR.

Next, book one of our fantastic Great Barrier Reef Tours.

Then, take a scenic flight and see the GBR from above.

For the Ultimate way to experience, spend at least one night onboard Reef Encounter.

Now,  explore the Great Barrier Reef gateways.