Get a glance of mother nature at its best in the Great Barrier Reef. Scroll further for amazing and interesting facts about Great Barrier Reef.

Facts About Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system and the largest marine park of the world; it comprises of the most complex span of living coral reefs. With more than 2,900 individual reefs, Great Barrier Reef is located in the north eastern Australia off the coast to Queensland and is the ideal place to fulfill that lifelong dream to go scuba diving and snorkeling. Being designated as ‘World Heritage Site’ and one among the seven natural wonders of the world, it was also named as the ‘state icon of Queensland’ by the Queensland National Trust. This mesmerizing natural wonder of the world comprises of many tiny living organisms that amaze you and incite your curiosity for the world and life underwater. Large crowds of people visit this place every year attracted by its serene beauty and ambience; it’s difficult to escape the charm of this structure. Go ahead and read more in depth details of this splendidly beautiful reef structure.
Amazing And Interesting Facts About Great Barrier Reef
  • Great Barrier Reef stretches over 900 islands, covering 34 million hectares and is more than 2,600 km in length and 348,700 sq. km in area, larger than Italy. It is the largest reef system of the world.
  • Great Barrier Reef, also referred as the ‘single largest animal being of the world’, is situated in the Coral Sea in north-east Australia, off the coast of Queensland.
  • Captain James Cook was the first European explorer to encounter Great Barrier Reef during his 1768 voyage. It was discovered on 11 June, 1770.  
  • The reef began its first growth about 18 million years ago. However, natural occurrences such as the Ice Ages and low seawater levels etc interrupted the reef’s growth.
  • Reefs are actually limestone masses made millions of years ago from skeletons of tiny marine plants and animals.  
  • This place is ‘a dream come true’ for scuba divers due to its enormous biodiversity, accessibility and its warm and flawlessly clean waters. Also, another striking fact is that this structure can be seen from outer space as well.
  • Compared with any other environment in the world (even tropical rainforests), the Great Barrier Reef offers more varieties of plants and animals per cubic meter. Also, there are diverse varieties of fish present, even more than those found in the Caribbean Sea.
  • This most diverse ecosystem of the world was listed as a ‘World Heritage site’ in 1981 and also named as one among the seven natural wonders of the world.
  • In this reef system, there are about six different species of turtles, thirty species of whales, dolphins, porpoises and also over 1,500 species of fish. Not only that, it also supports 215 species of birds including 32 species of shorebirds, 22 species of sea birds along with 125 species of sharks and stingrays. Red Bass is the oldest type of fish found here which can live for more than 50 years.
  • You are indeed lucky to see a shark during your visit to the reef. Sharks are not found commonly and the most encountered ones are white tip reef sharks and the black tip reef sharks. The white mark on the tip of their dorsal fins makes them easy to identify and they rest on the sea floor. These extremely timorous sharks do not trouble any divers and do not stay close to them for long. They are mainly fish eaters; hence pose no harm to the visitors.
  • The continental islands (618 in number) were also once part of the main island.
  • Due to the decline in the water quality owing to sedimentation and chemical run off as a result of farming, loss of wetlands, about 400 from the total 3000 reefs are bound within the risk zone.  
  • In the wet tropics, sugarcane farming is popular and cattle-grazing is common in the dry tropics region. Both these activities affect the quality of water.
  • Global Warming, is a nightmare for the future of the reefs and also any other tropical reef ecosystem. This is because most of the corals belonging to the Great Barrier Reef presently live in their upper level of the temperature tolerance level. When they experience a stress of waters, they usually become too warm for long. During this time, the corals eject zooxanthellae and turn colorless. They appear as white skeletons and even die if the water does not cool down within a month.
  • Throughout the tropics, the harsh effects of global warming have activated the breakdown of the reef ecosystems. More violent tropical storms result due to the increased global temperatures and there are chances of more coral bleach.
  • Australian Environment Ministry, on 1 July 2004, enhanced the protected area from 4.5% to 33.3% making reef system, the largest sea reserve.   
  • Dudongs, the marine mammals related to elephants, are the most significantly found inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Ribbon, Platform, and Fringing reefs are the three chief types of reefs found in Great Barrier Reef.
  • In case you superimpose Great Barrier Reef on the moon, it would cover more than half of the apparent diameter when seen from Earth. 

How to Cite

More from