“Icon Of Queensland” – The Great Barrier Reef

Posted On November 19, 2009 

Lounging on the gigantic expanse off the coast of Queensland in Northeast Australia, The Great Barrier Reef is gifted with awe-inspiring world’s largest natural beauty. Mother Nature has bestowed the Great Barrier Reef with profuse treasure of marine life, comprising of nearly 2,900 individual reefs, coral cays, 900 tropical islands spanning over 2600 kilometers, altogether reclining over an area of about 344,400 square kilometers. This ‘natural wonder is the largest across the globe, even larger than The Great Wall of China, and the only single structure on Planet Earth visible from the space.

The Great Barrier Reef is the sole natural wonder formulated out of living organisms, comprising of billions of tiny organisms called as coral polyps. The year 1981 proved to be a golden moment as it was designated in the prestigious “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO. Even, CNN awarded it the tag of “One of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World.” It is been referred as “State Icon of Queensland” by the Queensland National Trust. Nurturing innumerable species of marine life and corals, this peerless structure outshines rest of the others as no one can emulate its supremacy and uniqueness. The Great Barrier Reef is an unparalleled coral entity that shelters countless coffers of coral mishmash.

When I was enlightened with these unique facts and figures, I couldn’t stop myself from visiting this out-of-the-world spot. I did extensive research on The Great Barrier Reef and went ahead for a magnificent encounter with this natural great barrier reefwonder. There, I came across the expansive breathtaking islands and enthralling diversity of abundant marine species. The Great Barrier Reef’s crystal clear waters are in its best round the year, except the period of coral spawning or after storm. Grabbing the fabulous opportunity, I dived in famous diving spots around Townsville such as Wheeler’s reef, Davis reef, Broad Hurst reef, Bowden reef and many others. After all the enchanting diving experiences, I personally preferred diving outside the main barrier reef. The underlying reason behind this was water visibility was much clearer than inside. The diving experience is completely indescribable; the reef stretching from 15 kilometers to 150 kilometers off shore possesses a treasure of stupendous and stunning coral. The entire diving experience is similar like a visit to a fairyland, glimpsing the world’s marvelous and vivid species underwater is something that makes me speechless.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to diverse life that includes endangered species and some of which are endemic to the reef system. The Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander peoples have set Great Barrier Reef in a momentous stature, also the indigenous group of people have attached with it tremendous amount of spiritual and cultural significance. Its diverse marine life comprises of world’s largest collection of corals figuring up to more than 400 distinct types of corals, coral sponges, molluscs, rays, dolphins, tropical fishes exceeding 1500, more than 200 different birds¸ about 20 kinds of reptiles consisting of sea turtles and giant clams, whose existence can be traced from the past 120 years.

The 400 different types of corals include both hard and soft corals. The most striking attraction that is a must-see is coral spawning. One can experience it live in the Great Barrier Reef. The living species of corals reproduce every year for a couple of nights, wherein all the corals let their eggs and sperms go freely underwater packaged in bundles. Large huddle of corals act in the same manner and the sea is flooded with millions of bundles of eggs at simultaneous point of time. However, these mass spawning events are affected by the escalating temperatures of spring, summer, lunar cycle and diurnal cycle. When the spawning period is concerned, the inner Great Barrier reefs spawn after the full moon in October, whereas the outer moon spawns between November and December. The experience is totally exceptional; no other spot in the world can provide such an exotic experience. The inner reef shelters five hundred species of marine algae or seaweed which includes thirteen species of Halimeda genera. They accumulate calcareous stack up to 100 meters. All this formulates to a kind of mini eco-systems on the surface, which is somewhat similar to rainforest cover.

The Great Barrier Reef is a home to diverse species comprising of humpback whales, Indo-pacific humpback dolphin, sea turtlesdolphins, porpoises, dwarf minke whale. There are six species of six turtles that come up to the reef which include green sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, flatback turtle and olive ridley. Also, the island shelters seven different species of frog, 215 different bird species that includes 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds. The Northern and Southern terrains of the Great Barrier Reef are enriched with most of the diverse species. Amidst the regions, the Whitsunday can be referred as the most diverse one.

The Great Barrier Reef boasts natural treasures both above and below the waters, which has made it one of the most looked after location amidst tourists. Over two million tourists crowd this natural marvel annually for experiencing its underwater diving, snorkeling and glass-bottom boating. This region is inundated with large cluster of tourists, which can trigger adverse repercussions on the island. But the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has adopted essential measures and precautions to alleviate the impact of tourism. It protects certain part of reef against human concentration and human activities like fishing. Not only this, this reef suffers from other ecological pressures like climate change, water quality from runoff, mass coral bleaching and cyclic outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish.

The Great Barrier Reef is an elaborate as well fragile wonder that needs to be handled with care. This delicate wonder can be damaged bGreat Barrier Reef Marine Parky harsh approach. The large influx of tourists is perceived as a severe threat by the Great Barrier Reef conservationists as there actions are contributing pollution and deteriorating this natural wonder. Other damaging threats include boats, farms, ranches, industrial pollution, over fishing and large number of tourists. Even, many scientists predict that Great Barrier Reef’s existence will come under danger if the water temperature rises by 5% or beyond its current average.

In today’s times, when global warming, climate change and many such environmental and human related issues are posing strong threat against the existence of such magnificent natural wonders, it should be seen as a responsibility by each individual to protect their mother nature. Because it is true that human existence can’t be perceived without soothing nature. So, when you are moving to the Great Barrier Reef, indulge in activities that have a minimum impact on nature. As someone has rightly said “Give respect and take respect” which clearly states that if we care for our nature, it will ultimately care for our well-being.

Get there and enjoy the divine beauty of Great Barrier Reef, as it is the world’s most spectacular and impeccable spot.

Best time to visit

The Great Barrier Reef witnesses warmth round the year. Its southern region Rockhampton is cool during the mid-winters and gets hotter during the summers. So, the best time to visit here is March, May, September and November. These islands fall under summer cyclone belt, so you can delight yourself by indulging in diving between August and November.

How to reach

For reaching in Great Barrier Reef, you can catch a flight to Cairns. It is by far accessible easily from the regions of Cairns, Prosperine and Townsville. Cairns is the mainland port and accessible by 15 major Australian countries, Bali, Japan, New Zealand and Singapore.


It offers a wide-range of accommodation ranging from camping grounds to bungalows to grandeur resorts.

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