Great Barrier Reef

Ryan Fleck

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Location:The Great Barrier Reef is the biggest coral reef system in the world, made of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 1,400 miles over an area of approximately 133,000 sq miles. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.

Things to do:Due to its vast biodiversitu, warm clear waters and accessibility from the tourist boats called "live aboards", the reef is a very popular destination, especially for scuba divers. Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef is concentrated in the Whitsundays and Cairns due to their accessibility. These areas make up 7% of the Park's area. The Whitsundays and Cairns have their own Plans of Management. Many cities along the Queensland coast offer daily boat trips. Several continental and coral cay islands are now resorts, including the pristine Lady Elliot Island. As of 1996, 27 islands on the Great Barrier Reef supported resorts. It was estimated in 2003 that tourism generated over A$4 billion annually.

Passport Requirements: Since Australia is out of the country your going to need a valid passport.

Health risks:There are marine threats on the reef, from Stonefish to Sharks, Sea Snakes to Jellyfish. Many trips to the reef are made all year around, and injuries due to any of these causes on the reef are rare. As there are marine threats you also have to worry about Sunburn and dehydration, The QLD sun can burn unprotected skin within a very short time (approx 20 minutes). Even on cloudy days sunscreen is recommended for all exposed skin areas, particularly for children.

Restrictions:You must not take or possess protected fish species in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park unless you have a Marine Parks permit