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World Heritage Site

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Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system, composed of roughly 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands, that stretch for 2,600 kilometres covering an area of approximately 344,400 km².

The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The coral reefs hold a huge biodiversity, with dugong, whales, Dolphins and turtles among the most notable marine species.

Map of Great Barrier Reef


  • Natural

Community Reviews

Jay T USA 28.05.17

Great Barrier Reef by Jay T

The Great Barrier Reef is as impressive a natural wonder as its name suggests, a wonderland of marine life stretching almost 1400 miles along the northeast coast of Australia. When I planned my trip to Australia in 2012, this was one of the sights I was determined to visit, and it was as beautiful as I had hoped. I used Cairns as my departure point for a full-day snorkeling and snuba tour of the reef. The guides were helpful to point out starfish and giant clams, as well as a shy octopus blending in with a nearby rock. Hidden amongst the anemone were colorful clownfish, while silver schools of mackerel swam above. Our tour also saw reef sharks and stingrays, although we kept a safe distance. I was particularly impressed with the coral, which was brightly colored and magnificent to behold; I'm glad I saw it in 2012 before the recent bout of coral bleaching struck in 2016. The warming ocean temperatures off the coast of Australia are a valid concern, and I'd hate to see long-lasting impact on the unique biodiversity of the reef. Australia is full of wonders on land and sea, and I found the Great Barrier Reef to be an unforgettable marine adventure.

Logistics: The Great Barrier Reef stretches from the Torres Strait to Fraser Island. Tours of the reef can be arranged in cities and towns like Cairns, Townsville, or Port Douglas.

Mirjam S. Germany 19.04.15

Great Barrier Reef by Mirjam S.

The Great Barrier Reef was one of the few things I knew about Australia before I decided to go there and started planning my trip. Of course I had to go and see it, although I am not a water person and I don't like swimming in the ocean. So when I stayed in Cairns, I chose a tour operator offering trips including a glass bottom boat, and I liked it. I am sure it is nothing like snorkeling, but still I enjoyed what I saw and was fascinated by the underwater world.

Later, when visiting the Whitsunday Islands, I did another tour and this one was even better because the water was so clear and still that I could see the corals straight from the boat, without having to use the glass bottom.

I think I don't have to write anything else - it is famous enough already, and a "must see" for most people when visiting Australia!

Read more from Mirjam S. here.

Callie, New Zealand 28.03.12

Recently went to the Whitsunday's. It is such a beautiful place at the Great Barrier Reef. Best experience of my family's life and mine also. Five star by far :)

Amy, Canada 16.11.10

The Great Barrier Reef was a wonderful place to visit with seeing all of the great animals The shark were beautifuland it was great to see one of the worlds greatest natural beauty. The hotels are great and offer all the help you could need to experience at full potential. I've been there 9 times and going again next year! I would defently reccomend it

booshiki, Russia 04.05.08

The Great Barrier Reef was one of the best experiences in my life and i will never ever forget it. Go there and you won't regret it.

Emilia Bautista King, USA 25.02.06

I'm not much of a swimmer but I wouldn't go to the Great Barrier Reef without snorkelling. I'm so glad I was up for it because it was quite amazing to see the different varieties of fish! From Airlie Beach, I took a two-day boat trip out to the Whitsundays. I got a bit seasick but it was worth it, especially to come into contact with rainbow lorikeets!

Rob Wilson UK 11.02.06

What a place this is! I'm not much of a marine person, but I don't think I'll ever forget my visit to this part of the world. Just go, you won't regret it.

Ben Pastore USA

I visited the Great Barrier Reef via a liveaboard dive boat in March 2005. I've been diving all over the world, but this place tops them all if there was an "overall best" category. Marine life was prolific and varied and conditions were fantastic. It truly lived up to its name as being "Great".

Klaus Freisinger Austria

You could be forgiven for assuming from the other posts that only Australians would visit Great Barrier Reef, but that´s not quite true :-)

I´m not much of a sailing/diving enthusiast, but I did do a boattrip from Cairns to the Reef with some snorkeling, and I must admit it was really fantastic. You could see lots and lots of the most bizarre and colorful fish and corals, as well as big sea turtles, all in an evidently unharmed environment, despite the danger that global warming poses to this great site. If I decide to learn to dive, I´d probably come back here.

Janey 69er, Australia

I think dat it was da best, all dose fish were swimmin' 'round and i saw 1 get stuck in some coral. i also saw a shark thing but it was miniature and it only 8 seaslugs... weird. Kool. Cya

Rebeka tompson, australia

The great barrier reef was one of the most fun holidays that i have had in a long time. i found it very worth while. i caught a bus that took me there and back to school. the only thing that was disappointing is that when we got back to school we had to write a 6 page essa and i had over that amount.My teacher is planning another field trip soon and that has encouraged me to learn more about the great barrier reef that is how i found your wonderful and mind blowing site.

Barbie, -

We have recently experienced a wonderful cruise to the great barrier reef. We went snorkelling on a pontoon. The beautiful fish will never be forgoten in my memory. The coral was as alive as ever and swaying to and fro with the current. AND i didn't get bitten by a shark! It was wonderful!

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Site Info

Full name: Great Barrier Reef

Unesco ID: 154

Inscribed: 1981

Type: Natural

Criteria: 7   8   9   10  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 1981 - Inscribed 


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162 community members have visited Great Barrier Reef.