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Great Barrier Reef

If you’re planning a trip to Australia, you must see the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms. The Great Barrier Reef is located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia. Its massiveness can be seen from outer space, and the reef is labeled as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. According to various online sources, the reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, is composed of approximately 3,000 individual reefs, and 900 islands that stretch for over 1600 miles. A wide diversity of life is supported by the reef, and a large part of it is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use from over-fishing and tourism.

As mentioned above, the reef supports a diversity of sea life including many vulnerable endangered species, some of which may be endemic to the Great Barrier Reef. According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the reef and its ecosystem is significantly threatened by climate change, mass coral bleaching events due to rising ocean temperatures, pollution, and declining water quality; truly unfortunate since some of the coral skeleton deposits date back half a million years, and many of the corals have been growing in the region for as long as 25 million years. For more interesting facts, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority can be found online at www.gbrmpa.gov.au. Their goal is to provide protection wide use, understanding and enjoyment of the Great Barrier Reef in perpetuity through the care and development of the reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is a popular destination for tourists and scuba divers, and many cities along the Queensland coast offer daily boat trips to the reef, including a variety of tours and cruises from a single day trip to longer voyages. The daily fees collected go toward research and preservation of the Great Barrier Reef and its ecosystem. For more information, visit the Great Barrier Reef Visitors Bureau at www.great-barrier-reef.com, where you can find resort and hotel accommodations, and the ultimate travel guide and reservations centre for the magnificent reef. Even more comprehensive information on the Great Barrier Reef and Australian rainforest areas, can be found at www.barrierreefaustralia.com, including accommodations, site seeing and tour directories, and even dangers you may encounter while visiting the reef. Enjoy your trip mates, and have an “Aussie” experience!