Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is a reef that is about 2,300 kilometres long. It sits on the northeast coast of Queensland. The northern most part is from the tip of Cape York while its most southern part is from the coast of Bundaberg. It is a large natural structure consisting of live organisms of coral polyps.
In 1981 the Great Barrier Reef became a World Heritage Area. It is currently managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). They manage its protection, scientific and conservation matter and the reef’s use. The authority and the tourism industry have set rules to prevent the reef from overuse. Many visitors travel to the Great Barrier Reef every year.
Reef Teach is a one way tourists can learn about the Great Barrier Reef. It is an education centre. The centre informs visitors about the reef and how to conserve it while enjoying its natural beauty. Live presentations involve presenting images of the reef; coral displays; marine wildlife, and facts about the reef. The team at Reef Teach also explains the eco-tourism guidelines.
Six sea turtle species visit the Great Barrier Reef to breed. The turtles are attracted to the reef by the mixture of seagrass species that are part of the reef. On the northern coast of the reef are large numbers of saltwater crocodiles. They reside in the mangroves and saltmarshes. The crocodiles can also be viewed on coral reefs that are close to the coast.
Visitors to the Great Barrier Reef may want to see the 200 species of birds. Bird species that can be viewed include the white-bellied sea eagle and the roseate tern. The birds’ nesting areas are located on islands on the northern and southern areas. The Great Barrier Reef also has various species of sharks, skates and stingrays. Over 5000 species of mollusc have been discovered on the reef as well as 17 types of sea snakes. There are over 1500 fish species living in the reef. Species known to live in these parts are clownfish, red bass, coral trout and snapper. The fish live among 400 coral species. After the full moon in October coral go through the spawning process. Coral spawning is popular among tourists.
Tourists can see the underwater animals via the various tours that are on offer. There are reef tours, sailing tours, snorkelling tours, diving tours and diving courses.