Great Barrier Reef Overview
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest marine park and stretches over 3000km (1800 miles) along the Queensland coast from Lady Elliot Island, off the coast of Bundaberg, up past the tip of Cape York.
The Great barrier Reef is one of the most visited regions in Australia
The reef is between 15Km and 150Km off shore and around 65 Km wide in places. It is made up of over 3000 individual reef systems and coral cays and covers an area larger than the U.K.
1500 Species of Tropical Fish
The Great Barrier Reef originated during the last ice age when the continental shelf was exposed creating a band of beaches, dunes and 'barrier islands'.
As the ice melted the sea level rose and created the perfect conditions for reef colonisers to start coral formation. Over millions of years the world's largest collection of corals, coral sponges, molluscs and seaweed has been created.
This is the ideal environment for over 1500 species of tropical fish, giant clams, rays, over 200 types of birds and over 20 types of reptiles including sea turtles. The Great Barrier Reef is also the habitat of several endangered species including the large Green Sea Turtle and Dugong (Sea Cow).
The reef is also a breeding area for humpback whales, migrating from the Antarctic. In recognition of its significance, UNESCO listed the reef.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established to preserve and control the Reef from over-development. The Great Barrier Reef Sections were created to make the vast reef system more manageable by dividing it into distinct zones.
Where To Stay
If you want to explore The Great Barrier Reef good locations in which to base yourself include:
From most of these location jet-cats and ferries depart daily to large well appointed pontoons, which are moored along side the many reef systems.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Australia and in many cases all this rich, colourful beauty is just a few metres below the surface.
It is relatively easily accessible to novice divers and snorkelers and can be viewed from underwater viewing platforms, submersibles and glass bottomed boats.
There are several ways to see the Great Barrier Reef which include scuba diving, snorkeling, 'mini submarine, on board viewing galleries and even by helicopter (helicopter tours operate frequently and probably give the best view of the majestic Great Barrier Reef).
Queensland School & Public Holidays
New Years Day Tue 1st Jan.
Australia Day Mon 28th Jan.
Good Friday 21st March.
Easter Monday 24th March.
Anzac Day Fri 25th April.
Labour Day Mon 5th May.
Queens Birthday Holiday Mon 9th June.
Christmas Day Thu 25th Dec.
Boxing Day Holiday Fri 26th Dec.
(End and start school on preceding and next week day (Mon - Fri) respectively)
School Starts Tue 29th January
Easter Holiday 7th April To 11th April.
Winter Holiday 30th June To 11th July.
Spring Holiday 22nd Sept To 3rd Oct.
Summer Holiday 15th Dec To Jan 21st.
Daylight Saving does not operate in Queensland
Note: Dates for guidance only. Always check with your individual School as variations may occur for individual education authorities or establishments and dates may be subject to change. Always check with relevant State or Territory education department to confirm holiday periods at the commencement of each school year. Not all Public Holidays for individual regions within each state and territory are shown and public holidays falling on weekends are not listed. Not all Public Holidays may be applicable to all employers, organisations etc so always check with your employer, education authority etc which public holidays are applicable.