Great Barrier Reef 

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Great Barrier Reef Australia is spectacular!!!

Thousands of people come here every year to dive, fish and explore. It's one of the world's natural wonders and is the largest reef in the world.

The Great Barrier Reef Australia is a marine park which stretches over 3000km or 1800 miles.

It was recently in the running for the seven natural wonders of the world, but missed out because there wasn't enough people who voted for it.

I for one think we were duped and is really a matter of opinion. I didn't vote, and most people I know didn't vote. Therefore, I consider it to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world!

It consists of nearly 3000 individual reefs, 880 islands and myriads of different types of plant, bird and marine life.

It has the world's largest collection of corals with more than 400 different species. There's also over 1500 different species of tropical fish, more than 200 birds and around 20 types of reptiles, including sea turtles and giant clams over 120 years old.

It can be seen from outer space and is the only living thing that can be seen from out there. It's also larger than the Great Wall of China.

So the Australian Great Barrier Reef really is a natural living wonder, don't you think?

Helicopter on Upolo Cay

The Great Barrier Reef History is important to understand, so that we can continue to protect it today.

It's has a long and diverse history, where many generations of coral have built a habitat.

Studies are carried out at a much close level, examining the make up of the reef, what species there are, how they live and interact and whether they're resilient or vulnerable to change.

Apart from it's own living history, there's also a human history involved in the Great Barrier Reef, with around 30 shipwreck sites known to exist.

There's been lots of explorers sail down the east coast of Australia, only to come across the Reef in a way that they didn't wish to. Hence the many shipwrecks.

Captain James Cook was one who became very closely acquainted with the Great Barrier Reef, however he was lucky enough to escape permanent damage.

He did however, have to spend some time repairing his ship on the site which is nowCooktown.

To find a way through the reef, he sailed north to Lizard Island and then climbed the highest point of the island to see a break in the reef large enough to sail through. This is now known as Cook's Passage.

There's been many other famous navigators charting the Reef such as William Bligh and Matthew Flinders.

Matthew flinders was the person who eventually charted a safe passage through, by sending small boats ahead to find the water depths. This passage is known as theFlinders Passage.

In 1975, the Australian government founded the Great Barrier Reef Marine Parkto make sure the reef is preserved and safe from abuse and other threats.

In 1981, the Great Barrier Reef Australia was listed as a World Heritage Area which made sure it was protected.

As a World Heritage Area, the Australian Government and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) joined forces and established rules and regulations, zoning, permits and management plans.

In other words, fishermen and tour operators etc are governed by where they can go and what they can do on the reef.

Some aren't happy with this arrangement because it limits them with what they can do.

But, it ensures sustainable growth and conservation on the Great Barrier Reef Australia and it's now one the highest protected areas in the world.

This page has given you just some of the Great Barrier Reef facts and I hope you can appreciate how much we need to protect this beautiful creation.

Diving with Reef Shark

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