We collected here only the most amazing Great Barrier Reef facts to give you an idea why this place is called miraculous wonder, divers' paradise, and one of the wonders of the World, and why every year millions of tourists are visiting this world's largest reef system.
Great Barrier Reef Facts: Map
The Great Barrier Reef is known worldwide for the beauty and diversity of marine life. Without a doubt, it is one of the most amazing wonders of the world! Located just off the coast of Queensland in the North-Eastern part of Australia, this beautiful structure was "created" mostly by small living organisms (and it keeps growing!).
Great Barrier Reef Facts: Biodiversity
The Great Barrier Reef is home to many interesting species, and one can only wonder that such a rich diversity of inhabitants that exists in the depths of the sea. By its natural beauty Great Barrier Reef attracts millions of tourists all year.
Continue to read, and you will learn many interesting Great Barrier Reef facts and get a better idea of the splendor of this beautiful structure!
Great Barrier Reef Facts: The Most Interesting Info and Figures
- Experts believe that the Great Barrier Reef was formed about 18 million years ago. Due to different climatic and environmental changes reefs that are visible to us today, grew on earlier reefs since the last Ice Age;
- The Great Barrier Reef is located in Coral Sea, not far from the northern part of Australia. Reef can be seen from space and is the world's largest structure created by living organisms;
- It is the world's largest reef system, consisting of about 900 islands and 3,000 coral reefs
- Great Barrier Reef covers an area of over 344,400 square kilometers;
- Among the animals living here can be seen about 30 species of whales, 215 species of beautiful birds, 6 species of sea turtles, 125 species of sharks and rays, 49 species of pipefish, 17 species of sea snakes and about 1500 species of fish;
- One of the oldest kinds of fish that can be found in Great Barrier Reef - is red grouper (Red Bass). Compared with other species, this fish can live for over 50 years;
- The surrounding area of the Great Barrier Reef is home to large populations of manatees or dugongs. These marine mammals are descended from the same ancestors as the elephants;
- Here you can find the largest representatives of giant clams. One of the largest pearls was found inside such a clam and reportedly was sold in New York for crazy USD10 million!
- The Great Barrier Reef was declared a World Heritage Site in 1981. The main part of the Marine Park of the Great Barrier Reef is protected in order to prevent misuse of the resources of this beautiful place;
- A lot of sea stars "crown of thorns" appeared in the 70s, destroying the huge number of "builders" of the reef. This was due to decrease in number of their enemies - Triton's trumpets. They were collected in huge numbers for sale for tourists. Now the measures taken to restore the balance and it brought results. It is expected that by 2030 Great Barrier Reef will restore its original beauty!
- Probably the best place to start visiting the Great Barrier Reef is considered Cairns - small town that is located 200 kilometers south of Cooktown. Different day cruises to nearby reefs and multi-day diving safaries are organized from Cairns. We recommend arriving in the city of Cairns in spring or autumn.
Another popular destination is Port Douglas, where you can go for 1 day diving to Agincourt and Ribbon Reefs
Great Barrier Reef Facts: Approximate number of species
Discover even more interesting Great Barrier Reef facts and statistics about local inhabitants!
- Fish: 1500 (13,000 in the world);
- Turtles: 6 (7 in the world);
- Sea snakes: 15 (52 in the world);
- Dolphins and whales: 26 (75 in the world);
- Hard corals: 350 (in the world in 1260);
- Snails and shells: 350 (in the world in 1260);
- Huge shells: 6 (in the world 9);
- Nudibranchs: 350 (1550 in the world);
- Starfish: 100 (in the world 1800);
- Sea cucumbers: 115 (in the world 1400);
Great Barrier Reef Facts: Beauty & The Lady-diver
Great Barrier Reef Facts: History Of Discovery
The very first person who discovered Great Barrier Reef was Captain Cook during his first voyage around the Earth in 1770, when his ship Endeavour ran into one of the reefs and was damaged. Captain Cook was forced to stay on the coast of Australia to repair the ship in the town, which is now in memory of him is called Cooktown.
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Great Barrier Reef Facts: Spawning Of The Corals
Only once a year on one of nature's wonders - the Great Barrier Reef in Australia another miracle occurs - spawning corals. Every year in mid-November and 4-6 days after the full moon happens this unique natural phenomenon, and it is still not understood by scientists - simultaneous spawning of the corals on all the coral reefs along the Great Barrier Reef. Until now, scientists can not explain how coral reefs all over the 2,000 kilometers are able to communicate and coordinate start spawning in the same day and hour. But from experience we know that it happens rare night in one of the days of November. Local dive shops organize special dive trips to watch this mystery of coral reefs.
The process of preparing for spawning begins 6 months in advance, when the eggs and sperm begin to form inside the coral polyps. It is necessary that the water temperature was not lower than 27 degrees Celsius for coral spawning. In addition, all corals need a certain signal at the same time in order to release eggs and sperm along all reef. Such a signal for them is November's full moon, and after 2-6 days begins coral spawning night.
Great Barrier Reef Facts: Coral Spawning
The first sign of spawning are colored eggs' clusters inside female-polyps. At this moment clusters are located in polyps' mouths and visible through the transparent bodies. Later, the eggs will be released. Within a single coral reef colony all polyps can do it in a few minutes. At the same time, male-corals release clouds of sperm into the water, which is rising to the surface and meets with eggs. Specific layer that is made of this mixture is formed on the surface of the ocean, and it can be seen for several days.
Coral spawning occurs at a time when there is no strong tides. It allows sperm and eggs find a suitable partner of the same species before they will carry into the ocean. Sometimes "double" spawning happens: in the warmer waters near shore reefs spawning thrives in November, and on remote reefs in colder waters - in December.
Coordinated and synchronized mass coral spawning increases the chances of survival of eggs from predators and better fertilization. Besides, corals have an opportunity to mix and form new colonies and reefs.
Great Barrier Reef Facts: Few Great Barrier Reef Islands
- Hamilton Island attracts divers from around the world. Island offers wide variety of water sports, free training to do snorkeling, fishing, cruises on the Great Barrier Reef, helicopter tours, tennis courts, gyms, and lots of other entertainment for children and adults;
- Hayman Island - great island area of 294 hectares with excellent service and a secluded sandy beach. It is located 33 km off east coast of Queensland. Island belongs to the network of «The leading hotels of the world». Low housing is surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens, waterfalls, some of the rooms have direct access to the pool or to the beaches. Amazing landscape, modern facilities, friendly ocean, harmoniously organized tours to nearby islands - there are all conditions for sport and recreation.
- Dunk Island is located between Townsville and Cairns, and 4 km from the coast of Mission Beach and has lovely climate with an average temperature of 29C. Is considered one of the most beautiful tropical island as it has surprisingly lush vegetation. Almost all of its territory, is a nature reserve and home to beautiful butterflies named Ulysses.
- Brampton Island - a small resort consisting of one hotel. Small island with beautiful sandy beaches. There are kangaroo family and a large number of unusual birds.
- Keppel Island offers miles of white sand beaches, boat trips on catamarans. It has everything for hiking campaigns and the resources to play a variety of sports: badminton, baseball, swimming, aerobics, cricket, golf, tennis and more.
It is located 4 km from the tropical north coast between Townsville and Cairns, and is one of the most expensive for tourists in Australia.
There is only 16 beautiful villas set in isolation from each other and are ready to take 32 guests. This is an exclusive place for those who seek solitude in special circumstances in the idyllic surroundings of the emerald sea, the rainforest and comfort. Each villa has its own defined area with access to the whitesand beaches, where you can escape together, enjoying the scenery,decor, and one another!
- Lizard Island is located on the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, not far from Cairns, and is surrounded by its own coral reef - a favorite spot for divers. It is secluded and isolated from the rest of the world, and it is one of the most expensive holiday destinations with 24 whitesand beaches and a complex of luxury services.
The island contains 40 individual villas design. For each of them there is a remote covered terrace with panoramic views of the Coral Sea and own personal beach. If you have ordered a dinner - it will be delivered to you. Children under 10 years are not allowed. The resort was fully renovated in 2000. Best time to visit is from May to October, the average temperature of 25C in winter, in summer 32 degrees centigrade;
- Heron Island is located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. The island was declared a National Nature Reserve in 1943. Its location is in the center of a dense ring of coral formations, the island is popular for scuba diving in Australia. The amazing array of wildlife call Heron Island home, including the iconic Loggerhead and Green Turtles. Island can be explored with a number of activities, the most popular of which are snorkelling and scuba diving.
- In Lady Elliot Island experienced divers or beginners will submerge into the deep blue sea to see the breathtaking coral reefs and meet its inhabitants. Qualified instructors will show you the most magnificent views in the area. They take visitors to the caverns of Blow Hole, Hiro's Cave, and the Lighthouse Bommie, where divers may see manta rays. The Lady Elliot's 18-27-degree centigrade water temperature and more than 20-metre visibility create special unforgettable atmosphere for people who came to this site to do scuba diving in Australia.
During November to February spectators can watch Loggerhead and Green turtles on the beach shore. Visitors can also go whale watching every winter from July to October. That time humpback whales can be spotted in the area as they migrate through the Queensland's warm waters.
We helped you to recall the most well-known Great Barrier Reef facts and surely you will find out more when you will visit this one of the world's wonder!
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