Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 3000km of Queensland coast. The reef runs from the coast of Bundaberg to past the tip of Cape York in Northern Queensland.
An amazing protected Marine Park, which is in fact the only living thing on earth which is visible from space. The reef recently made the list on the seven wonders of the natural world.
Home to the worlds largest collection of coral. As well as more then 1500 species of tropical fish, 200 types of birds, 20 types of reptiles and not to mention the Giant Clams which are over 120 years old. Also the home to some of the Australia's most endangered species, the Dugong and the Large Green Sea Turtle. The Great Barrier Reef is also the breeding grounds for migrating Humpback Whales.
In 1981 The Great Barrier Reef was listed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is no wonder, the natural beauty and sheer size of this reef is something that must be seen to believe. The reef was recently made famous again by the movie 'Finding Nemo', which was soon to become an Australian favourite.
Not only is this Australia's favourite tourist destination but also one of the worlds. With so many great destinations along the reef. Including the Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Airlie Beach, Townsville and Cairns. These are just located on the coast of the main land, it is the sunny islands located in amongst the reef which gets tourists excited. Islands available to visit include, Bedarra Island, Brampton Island, Daydream Island, Dunk Island, Fitzroy Island, Great Keppel Island, Green Island, Haggerstone Island, Hayman Island, Hamilton Island, Heron Island, Hichinbrook Island, Lindeman Island, Lizard Island, Long Island, South Molle Island and Whitsunday Island.
All the Islands located on the Great Barrier Reef are protected National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries. Although tourists are aloud to stay on the island there are only certain parts of islands and certain islands that are open for development.
With climate change dawning down on us, Australia is doing everything it can to help protect the Great Barrier Reef. In early 2009 it was found that 32,000 tones of fertiliser nutrients from farms in adjoining catchments where making its way into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. This has impacted severely on the reef, polluting its waters. This is why the Queensland Government is starting to bring in tougher laws to help protect the reef, in doing so they hope to decrease the amount of pesticides, sediment and nutrients that enter the reef by up to 50% over the next 4 years. A huge step forward by Australia to help protect its most amazing Natural Wonder, will it be enough though?
To create awareness to tourists and locals, each tourist sight along the reef offers tours. These tours help to educate humans on the current threats to the marine ecosystem as well as what we can do to protect it.
Locals also run a monitoring program to help report dumping of chemicals into the water, as well as any other illegal activity. This is done by calling the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to report what has been seen.
The Great Barrier Reef, is a home to many as well as one of the most beautiful sights on the planet. It is time humans start stepping up to protect this part of our great land.