barrier reef

great barrier reef: world's largest coral reef system


The great barrier reef is the world’s largest individual formation created by living organisms. As the largest coral reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef includes over 900 islands, over 2,900 separate reefs, and supports one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.

quick facts

  • Largest coral reef system in the world
  • Consists of over 2,900 separate reefs
  • Stretches over 1,600 miles (2,600 km)
  • Can be seen from outer space The 133,000 square miles (344,000 km) includes 900 islands


The Great Barrier Reef is possible the grandest natural wonder in the world and is the only wonder of nature that may be visible recognized from outer space. The reef stretches 1,600 miles (2,600 km) along the north eastern coast of Australia and it covers over 133,000 square miles (344,000 sq km).

visitor tips



Probably the best way to see and experience the Great Barrier Reef is through the lens of an underwater mask. Snorkeling or scuba diving provides an up close view of some of the most vibrant fish, coral and marine life.

A guaranteed spectacular experience is to have an up close and personal encounter through either a snorkeling or scuba diving expedition. In most cases, a pontoon boat will be used to make the reef more accessible. “Live aboards” which are floating guest facilities also provide an opportunity for visitors to experience the reef up close for extended periods.

Visitors can select from a variety of boat or cruise tours that include single day trips, extended stays and varying boat sizes. There are a number of hotels located on some of the reef islands providing direct access to your underwater adventures. No matter where you stay, what type of craft or what length of trip, it is imperative to make sure that you take time to snorkel or scuba dive in order to ensure the best experience possible.

A helicopter tour is an excellent way to get above the Great Barrier Reef and witness the size and expanse of this spectacular marine natural wonder. In many places the sun will penetrate the shallow waters and light up the reef below. Flying over the reef will enable you to really appreciate the grandeur of this wonder of nature.


The weather is tropical and fairly consistent with it rarely being extremely hot or extremely cold. The summer temperatures range from 73 to 91 degrees and the winter months range from the upper 50s to the mid 70s. 

The rainy season occurs from November through May which accounts for over 75% of the annual rainfall during this period. The main thing to know about the weather is that it is sunny and tropical, so the primary planning involves sun protection and comfort.


Many cities along the coast of Queensland in Australia offer boating tours. Several islands along the reef have been turned into resorts providing a great place to stay for visitors who want to come and go as they explore the reef from day to day. Approximately 2 million visitors travel to the Great Barrier Reef every year, so it is important to plan early providing the greatest chance of securing the options that foster your best experience.