The Great Barrier Reef
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is a vast and spectacular ecosystem with one of the world’s most unique collections of biodiversity. Stretching 2,300 kilometres along the Queensland coastline from Bundaberg in the south to Cape York in the north, the Great Barrier Reef is approximately 348,000 square kilometres in size with over 2,900 coral reefs and 1,050 islands and coral cays. It has an incredibly diverse ecosystem, home to 1,500 species of fish, more than 30 species of whales and dolphins, six of the seven species of marine turtles and 22 species of seabirds.
The tourism industry plays an important role in connecting visitors to the reef and presenting the values of the World Heritage Area to the millions that visit annually. Research shows that the strong connection tourists feel to the reef after visiting translate into positive intentions to help with environmental issues, which is an important outcome for the reef’s long-term health.
Around 80 per cent of all tourism activity occurs within seven per cent of the marine park, with high standard operators who play an important role in preserving and presenting the reef’s story to visitors and adhering to best practice environmental and interpretation standards.
Like coral reefs globally, the Great Barrier Reef is under pressure from climate change and other threats, however it remains a vibrant, beautiful ecosystem that continues to attract millions of visitors each year.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Tourism and Events Queensland encourage people from all over Australia and around the world to come and experience the reef, be inspired by its beauty and to take actions to protect for future generations to enjoy.
The official government source of management and reef health is the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). The National Education Centre for the GBRMPA is the Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium in Townsville and is open to visitors daily.
To experience the wonder of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef and to plan a Queensland holiday visit queensland.com/greatbarrierreef.