The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef structure and is located along the East coast of Australia. The reef contains over 2,900 individual reef systems and tropical islands, each of which has its own unique marine life.

Its natural beauty has meant that The Great Barrier Reef has become one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. Whether you view it from on, above, or under the water it’s a special place that you won’t forget quickly. Here’s your guide to the reef.

  1. It’s a Natural Wonder of the World

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef structure and is so big it is actually visible from space. In fact, it is the only living thing that can be seen from space. Its size, natural beauty, and environmental significance have meant that the reef is now listed as one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.

  1. There’s Much More to Do Than You Think!

While the main attraction of the reef is snorkeling or diving amongst the diverse marine life, there are so many attractions only a stone’s throw away. Whether it’s sailing Whitsundays Islands, hiking in the ancient Daintree Rainforest, or visiting Hayman and Lizard Island, the reef isn’t a one-stop-shop. You’ll need a few days to take it all in.

  1. It’s Home to a Countless Number of Different Species

The marine life that lives and thrives on the Great Barrier Reef is what makes it such a special place. The number of different species is endless, and we still don’t think we’ve recorded every single one yet. It contains:

  • Over 1,500 fish species (roughly 10% of the worlds fish species)
  • A third of the world’s soft corals and 410 hard corals
  • 134 different species of shark or rays
  • 6 turtle species, most of which are endangered
  • Over 30 marine mammals
  1. It May Not Be as Close as You Think

While most coral reefs we are used to seeing on TV or in photos are located close to land, barrier reefs are separated from the land by a lagoon. When visiting The Great Barrier Reef the boat ride can take anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours! Even though coral reefs thrive in shallow, warm water it might surprise you to find out that this shallow water is a two-hour boat ride away.