Australian Great Barrier Reef a Natural Wonder

The largest coral reef system in the world extends for 2,600 kilometers through the balmy waters of the Coral Sea, just off the north east coast of Australia. This magnificent wonder of the modern world has been fashioned by, and comprises of, billions upon billions of living coral polyps, which are actually microscopic organisms. The Great  Barrier  Reef occupies an area of about 344,000 square kilometers and is acclaimed as the world’s busiest marine life sanctuary because of it’s diverse population of living creatures.

The great  barrier  Reef is listed as a world heritage site and a large portion of it is controlled by the Great  Barrier  Reef Marine Park Authority, which protects the area from many human and environmental issues. Many endangered species, some of which, are natives of the area, lead a precarious existence on the reef. A large number of dugongs also inhabit the area.

According to researchers, today’s living reef was founded on an older coral structure about 20,000 years ago. About that time, sea levels started to rise because of global warming and the coral grew continuously atop an ever descending land ridge. The result is the magnificent array of coral structures that are present today, which form the Great  Barrier  Reef.

There are about nine hundred islands, of various dimensions, sprinkled throughout the length of the reef that support a variety of flora, fauna and bird life. The larger of these islands have been developed into vacation resorts that offer first class facilities. Many thousands of tourists and adventure seekers visit the Great  Barrier  Reef each year to explore the wonders that exist there.

As a tourist destination, the Great  Barrier  Reef attracts thousands of divers and snorkelers who are keen to explore this huge undersea wonderland that harbors a maze of marine creatures. Because of the magnitude and diversity of the reef, the range of available activities is almost limitless, especially for the water sport enthusiast.

All of the Queensland coastal cities between Gladstone and Cooktown have tour operators that run excursions to the reef for day trips or extended cruises. Distances from each coastal point to the reef varies from just a few kilometers to 200 kilometers. North of the Daintree River the reef meets the coast, so the tourist can explore the lush, unspoiled beauty of the Daintree Rainforest onshore and the marine wonders of the Great  Barrier  Reef offshore.

Tourist operators have large pontoons moored out in the reef area, which means that you won’t be confined to a boat for the day. Upon reaching a pontoon, if you don’t fancy diving, then you can stretch out in the sun, sit in the shade, do a spot of fishing or just relax and take in the beauty of the surrounds.

For a lifetime of memories, put Queensland and the Great  Barrier  Reef on your destination list.