The Great Barrier Reef Australia stretches along the Queensland coast for a distance of around 2,500 kilometres from Lady Elliot Island, 80 kilometres off Bundaberg, in the south to the Torres Strait in the north.
Comprised of thousands of individual reefs, sand cays and islands , the Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system and was formed over half a million years ago, current reefs being about 10,000 years old. Changes to its structure occur all the time – for example studies show that hard corals can be replaced by soft corals if water quality changes due to human use, cyclones etc.
As its name suggests, this system of interconnecting reefs forms a protective barrier along the length of the northern part of the Queensland coast in the Coral Sea. Originally chartered by English explorer, Captain James Cook, in 1770, it is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet and is home to an amazing variety of over 1500 Great Barrier Reef fish and hundreds of coral and sponge species.
Australian World Heritage listed, the Great Barrier Reef is classed
as one of the seven natural wonders of the world and can be seen from
outer space. It is a vital component of Queensland’s tourism industry,
to which it contributes tens of thousands of job opportunities and
generates some billions of dollars for the Australian economy.
But what's it worth? Check this June 2017 assessment.
Protecting the Great Barrier Reef is one of the roles of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which helps to limit the sometimes detrimental effects of overfishing and tourism.
The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait people have long had an emotional and spiritual association with the Great Barrier Reef animals, including turtles, dugongs and fish as well as depending on them for food.
Would you like to share your stories about your experiences on the Great Barrier Reef? Did you go on a Barrier Reef tour? Dive or snorkel? Watch whales? Slide through coral ‘bommies’ in a submersible water-craft? Float above a stingray? Come face-to-face with a giant cod?
Please share your experiences and also send in a photo if you have one?
Do you have a great story about your experience there? Please share it with us in 400 or more words? There is room for up to 4 photos too!
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