The Great Barrier Reef is one of the richest, most complex and diverse natural areas in the world. It is larger than Victoria and Tasmania combined, covering approximately 350 000 square kilometres and stretching more than 2300 kilometres along the northeast coast of Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is the only living structure that can be seen from the moon.
A special place
The Great Barrier Reef is home to an amazing variety of fascinating plants and animals, which live underwater and on the shores of the Reefís many islands. It is alive with colour, movement and diversity.
Its Indigenous history stretches back for millennia with many of these connections maintained today. European exploration and the growth of Reef industries means that the Reef is now closely woven into the fabric of coastal Queensland.
Learn more about the Reef, its ecology, cultural significance and history, so you can help your clients discover what makes the Reef so special.
A shared responsibility
The plants, animals and all that makes up the Great Barrier Reef need to be protected for future generations. You may be wondering who owns the Reef and who is responsible for its protection and survival. The fact is we all own the Reef. We all have a part to play protecting this natural wonder and in deciding how best it should be managed. Learn more about the roles that each of us play in caring for this unique natural resource.
A truly great Marine Park
To protect this natural area for all to enjoy and use in the future the Commonwealth Government set up the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 1975 (see Download Maps at top right of page). The Marine Park is a multiple-use protected area where businesses can operate sustainably, gaining benefit from its resources while still keeping it great. It is a World Heritage Area, recognized internationally for its natural significance. Learn more about the Marine Park and its important international recognition.
Keeping it great
Itís an exciting challenge to balance protecting the Reef with the differing and sometimes conflicting needs of Reef users and neighbouring communities. The GBRMPA is working with all those involved to properly manage the Reef through consultation, cooperation, research, education and legislation. Learn more about how we care for the Marine Park and about some of the important management tools.