The Great Barrier Reef
Sweeping across 2000km (1,242 miles) of the east coast of Queensland in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is made up of approximately 2900 individual coral reefs, covering an area of 350,000 square kilometres. The reef is the largest structure on earth made by living creatures and is one of the most beautiful, but sadly, most fragile wonders of the natural world.
The Reef has been formed over hundreds and thousands of years, and is in fact millions and billions of skeletons of tiny polyps that have died over the years. The colourful part of the reef is made up of living polyps.
It forms a stunning backdrop to the glorious Whitsunday Islands (see Whitehaven Beach), more than 70, mostly uninhabited sub-tropical islands.
And who could fail to be seduced by the sandy white beaches of the appropriately named ‘Daydream Island’?
A haven for divers – the breathtaking hues of the ocean, blue turquoise and green, along with the bright rainbows of the coral, combine to enhance the exotic beauty of this marine wonderland, which is home to a unique array of plant and animal life.
However live coral is extremely sensitive to pollution and temperature changes caused by global warming, and the World Wildlife Fund warn us that at the current rate, many of the world’s coral reefs could be dead in 40 years.
Did you know?
- the only ‘living’ organism visible from space
- greater in area than the United Kingdom
- home to more than 1500 species of fish