The Region

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef was accepted for inclusion upon the World Heritage List in 1981. It meets all four of the natural heritage criteria (geological phenomena,ecological and biological processes, aesthetics and natural beauty, and biological diversity, including threatened species).

The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area comprises the world's largest and healthiest collection of coral and coral reefs and covers 348,000 square km.

Within the Marine Park there are about 2,900 reefs which include 760 fringing reefs and 300 coral cays and 44 lowland wooded islands. 


Magnetic Island is one of 618 continental islands which were once part of the mainland. Only about 6% of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is coral reef.


30 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises live in, or visit Great Barrier Reef waters.

Some of the largest populations of dugongs in the world live on the Great Barrier Reef.

Over 200 species of birds (including 40 species of seabirds) live on the Great Barrier Reef. The easily recognised white-breasted sea eagles live on the coast and islands.

1500 species of fish and six breeding species of sea turtles live on the Great Barrier Reef.