Australia's Great Barrier Reef is great in every way. One of the world's seven natural wonders, it is a prized World Heritage Area, the largest coral reef system and the biggest living structure on the planet. It sprawls over a jaw-dropping 344,400 square kilometres – an area so large that it can be seen from space.
Located off the Queensland coast, the Reef is composed of 3000 individual reef systems, 760 fringe reefs, 600 tropical islands and about 300 coral cays. This complex maze of habitats provides refuge for an astounding variety of marine life, plants and animals – from ancient sea turtles, reef fish and 134 species of sharks and rays, to 400 different hard and soft corals and a plethora of seaweeds.
As one of the world's most popular tourist attractions, the Reef has a global reputation for its turquoise waters, kaleidoscopic corals, abundant life and over 900 islands. This includes the Whitsunday Islands, Lizard Island and Heron Island.
Together with the fishing industry, tourism reels in about $6 billion annually and supports some 69,000 Australian jobs. But the Reef is far more than an economic resource.
It is a network of marine sanctuaries of unparalleled ecological importance – a place where beauty transcends business, where nature reigns supreme. How much greater can you get?