Explore a different destination UNESCO World Heritage Site Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the world's largest stretch of coral reefs. It is located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, and comprises approximately 2,900 separate reefs covering an area of 34, 870,000 hectares, and includes 760 fringing reefs. There are also 600 islets and 300 coral cays and sand bars. The area in which the reefs are located is the Coral Sea, off the Pacific Ocean.

The Great Barrier Reef was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the 5th session of the World Heritage Committee that was held on 26-30 October, 1981, in Sydney, Australia.

Photo of the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef
Author: Nickj (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

What to See in Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, which was built by billions of marine organisms called coral polyps, has a rich diversity of marine life. There are 1,500 species of fish found at the Great Barrier Reef, along with 360 species of hard corals and 5,000 species of mollusc. About 215 species of birds make a living on the reef as well as thirty species of whales, dolphins and porpoises, seventeen species of sea snakes, six species of turtles, nine species of seahorse, and large populations of dugong.

There are several endangered species of animals in the Great Barrier Reef including the dugong and the loggerhead turtles. The reef is also an important breeding ground for humpback whales.

The Great Barrier Reef is not devoid of human habitation. The Aboriginal Australians and the Torres Strait Islanders are two native peoples who have lived and used the Great Barrier Reef since prehistory.


The Great Barrier Reef is located all along the coast of Queensland. It gets closer to the coast as you go northwards towards Cape Tribulation.

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: S 18 17 10 E 147 42 00
Inscription Year: 1981
Type of Site: Natural
Inscription Criteria: VII, VIII, IX, X

Location Map

View Great Barrier Reef in a larger map

Visiting this Site

The Great Barrier Reef is a huge area. You can visit it from any of the major coastal cities of Queensland. If you are coming from outside Australia, I would recommend that you choose Brisbane as your base. From there, you can then plan your trip to the Great Barrier Reef as well as to any other places in Queensland.

Here's a list of Hotels in Brisbane with online booking facilities. If you are visiting any of the smaller towns, I have also listed down the hotels in Airlie Beach, Cairns, Townsville and Mackay. Booking is provided by HostelBookers, so there is no booking fee involved.

Getting there

There are tour operators handling trips to the Great Barrier Reef along the main coastal towns including Cape Tribulation, Port Douglas, Cairns, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Mackay, Gladstone and 1770.

Book Hotel Rooms in Australia and Worldwide

Click here also for a full list of hotels in Australia or hotels worldwide. If you prefer budget accommodation in hostels, guesthouses or inns, check out hostels worldwide for budget accommodation providers with online booking.

Tour Australia

As you plan your trip, consider all the local tours of Australia that you may want to include.

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