Great Barrier Reef Cairns

Great Barrier Reef facts

  • The Great Barrier Reef is popularly known to be Earth’s most extensive coral reef system.
  • More than individual 2,900 reefs, 900 islands and say cays make up the Great Barrier Reef.
  • The Great Barrier Reef is a total area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres.
  • The Great Barrier Reef is a natural beauty which is treasured not only in Australia but throughout the world.
  • Located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
  • The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space.
  • It the largest single structure created by living organisms.
  • The Great Barrier Reef made up of billions upon billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps supporting a staggering array of diverse life.

In 1981, the Great Barrier Reef was selected as a World Heritage Site and American media company CNN, labelled the Great Barrier Reef as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The Queensland National Trust has also given it the title of the official icon for the state of Queensland.

The majority of the Great Barrier Reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

The GBRMPA assist in preserving and protecting the reef from the ongoing impact of human use, including fishing and some forms of tourism.

Great Barrier Reef History

For many thousands of years, the Great Barrier Reef has been used by the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. It is an important part of their culture, belief systems and spirituality.

As can be expected, the reef is also a must-see location for tourists, especially in the Cairns, Australia region.

Generating more than one billion dollars each year, tourism is the main economic activity for this area.

Great Barrier Reef Dolphins and Whales

Supporting a great diversity of life, including many endangered species, there are 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises which have been recorded in the Great Barrier Reef.

Some of these include large populations of dugongs, the dwarf minke whale, the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, as well as the humpback whale.

There are more than 1,500 species of fish that live on the Great Barrier Reef. Including the clown-fish, red bass, red-throat emperor, and several other species of coral trout and snapper.

17 species of sea snake which live on the Great Barrier Reef in warm waters of up to 50 metres deep. Sea snakes are much more common in the southern area of the reef than in its northern section.

Great Barrier Reef Turtles

At certain parts of the year, six different species of sea turtles come to the reef to breed.

Including the green sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, flat-back turtle and the olive ridley turtle.

Green sea turtles on the Great Barrier Reef have two genetically distinct populations, one located in the northern part of the reef and the other in the southern part.

The Cairns outer barrier reef locations and Green Island are frequently visited by green sea turtles.

Fortunately, there are also 15 species of sea-grass beds attracting both dugongs and turtles, and also providing habitat for the fish.

Great Barrier Reef Sharks

The Great Barrier Reef is also home to some of the predators of the ocean world.

125 species of shark, stingray and chimaera live on the reef.

Great Barrier Reef Mollusc

5,000 species of mollusc live on the reef,  including the giant clam.

Great Barrier Reef Birdlife

215 species of birds which visit the Great Barrier Reef and regularly nest on some of the islands.

Namely the white-bellied sea eagle, one of the 1.7 million birds which come to the area to use the sites for breeding.

Great Barrier Reef Fauna

The Great Barrier Reef islands support 2,195 types of known species of plants.

The southern islands, in particular the Whitsunday Islands region, are the most diverse supporting 1,141 species of plants, which are all propagated by birds.

Great Barrier Reef Cairns Tours


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