The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world, running north south roughly parallel to the coast of Queensland, Australia, for almost 2,000km. Bathed by the warm waters of the Pacific’s Coral Sea the perfect environment is created for the world’s largest system of coral reefs.
The Great Barrier Reef is listed by the World Heritage Trust as a protected site and is managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to ensure that its beauty is maintained to the future Visitors come to marvel at the spectacular sight seeing opportunities that is unique to our area. The Wet Tropics World Heritage listed Rainforest on one side and the Great Barrier Reef on the other. No other place in the world offers such diversity so close to each other.
There is a diverse range of tourism operations catering to the differing needs of visitors to the Great Barrier Reef.
Activities typically include: snorkelling; scuba diving; fishing; glass-bottomed boat viewing, semi-submersibles and educational trips to learn about the marine environment.
Tourism is now the largest commercial activity in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Generating over $1b per annum, the marine tourism industry is a major contributor to the Australian economy. Attracting about 1.6 million tourists each year the marine tourism industry plays an important role in presenting the World Heritage area to a wide range of visitors. For many visitors to coastal Queensland, the tourism fleet is their primary means of experiencing the Great Barrier Reef and learning about its World Heritage values.
Keeping the Barrier Reef ‘Great’ for future generations requires the cooperative effort of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, other government agencies, the marine tourism industry and other stakeholders. By working together, the diversity, integrity and productivity of the Great Barrier Reef can be maintained and the impacts of all activities in the Marine Park can be minimised. The goal is to provide for the protection, wise use, understanding and enjoyment of the Great Barrier Reef in perpetuity.
The waters of the Great Barrier Reef provide the world’s busiest and most varied marine habitats. Marine life is in abundance. Visible from the moon, the Great Barrier Reef system is the largest of the world’s 552 World Heritage Areas, covering some 347,000 sq km with more than 2800 catalogued reefs in the area.
Although stretching for more than 2000 kilometres offshore of Queensland, it is only at Cape Tribulation, just north of Port Douglas, that the reefs come right to the shore and meet the tropical rainforests of the Wet Tropics. With over 1000 islands, which are easily accessible from North Queensland and coastal cities like Cairns and Port Douglas, these coral islands have become very popular tourist attractions. Accommodation on the islands that are inhabited ranges from camping grounds to bungalows to luxurious resorts.