The Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world is listed as one of the amazing World Heritage Sites. This breathtaking underwater world is located on the east coast of Queensland, Australia. The Great Barrier Reef stretches 2,300 kilometres along the Queensland coast and covers an area of over 34,400 kilometres, including over 2,900 reefs and around 940 islands and cays. Within the Great Barrier Reef, there are over 400 coral species, over 15,000 fish species, 134 sharks and ray species, 30 marine mammal species as well as six out of the world’s seven threatened marine turtle species. Furthermore, it is home to 3,000 molluscs, 630 starfish and sea urchin species, 215 bird species and thousands of different sponges, worms and crustaceans.
The Great Barrier Reef is the only unique underwater wonderland that has the world’s largest ecosystem, cross-shelf diversity and biodiversity. It truly deserves to be named a natural wonder of the world due to its geographical history which reflects the geomorphic, oceanographic and environmental processes, enormous size as well as outstanding ecosystem and superlative natural beauty of the reefs, islands, coral cays and the biodiversity.
History of Great Barrier Reef: The magnificent Great Barrier Reef is formed over millions of years ago. The old reefs of the Great Barrier Reef were formed during the early ice ages around 600,000 years ago and the formation of the most recent structures began 20,000 years ago after the peak of the last ice age. When the glaciers melted, the sea levels around the Australia coast started to rise and the coastal plain near the northeast of Australia became flooded. This resulted in making hills on the plain into islands and the corals began to grow around the edge of these islands. When corals died, their skeletons built upon one another and formed the bedrock of the reef. Over time, the coral reefs slowly grew larger and larger by this process.
The earliest people to take notice of the Great Barrier Reef were the Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islander people who inhabited in the area about 10,000 years ago. In 1768, Louis de Bougainville, a French explorer, firstly discovered the reef.
On the Great Barrier Reef, many beautiful corals, islands, thousands of different fish species, many underwater tunnels and caves can be seen. Some of the great places to visit nearby the Great Barrier Reef are Daintree National Park, Mission Beach, Airlie Beach, Magnetic Island and Whitsundays Islands. In the Daintree National Park, one can see the rich wildlife of Australia, magnificent waterfalls, subtropical and tropical rainforests as well as many tree species. The Mission beach which is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef is a great place to overlook the Coral Sea and the outstanding natural environment unlike any places on earth. The beach contains many sandy beaches and is a great base to visit nearby islands. The Airlie beach in the north of the Great...