Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is the largest marine protected area in the world, covering around 345,400 square km. The marine Park stretches for more than 2300km along the north east coast of Australia. The northern end begins at the tip of the Australia in the waters of the Torres Strait and extends south to Bundaberg.

The Marine Park is home to:

  • over 1625 species of fish
  • 360 species of hard coral
  • 150, or One third of the world’s soft coral species
  • 3000 species of molluscs
  • 630 species of echinoderm
  • 24 species of sea birds that live and breed on the reef islands
  • More than 30 species of marine mammals including whales, dolphins and dugongs
  • There are 6 species of marine turtles.

Contrary to its name, the Great Barrier Reef is not one long continuous barrier, but a complex system of various marine habitats. These habitats comprise of more than:

  • 2900 individual reefs
  • 600 continental islands
  • 300 coral cays

Important habitats including coral reefs, seagrasses, mangroves, sponge gardens and muddy seabed communities make up the entire marine park. This diverse range of habitats all connect and support each other, which means they are all vital to the health and wellbeing of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to a number of threatened species. The reef also provides an important habitat and breeding area for marine turtles, dugong, seabirds, humpback and minke whales. The extraordinary biodiversity and the interconnection of relationships between various species and habitats make the Great Barrie Reef one of the richest and most diverse and complexed natural systems on the planet.

The Great Barrier Reef is the only living organism visible from outer space!

For further Information, please view the following pages:

The History of the Great Barrier Reef

World Heritage Area