It’s easy to think of the Great Barrier Reef
as a purely underwater affair, but that would be doing its 300 coral cays and 600 continental islands an injustice. Covering a vast 344,400km2
, the Great Barrier Reef is divided into the Outer Reef (the more remote coral gardens furthest offshore), the Inner Fringing Reef (the reefs surrounding islands such as the Whitsundays for example) and the Ribbon Reefs (in the far north, so called for their shape where they form along the continental shelf) all brought together under the umbrella of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
. Home to 10% of the world’s fish species – a mighty 1625 species in fact - as well as dugongs, whales, sea turtles, birds, sharks, rays, whales and dolphins, the diving, snorkelling and sailing here are out of this world. Fitting, then, that it’s the only living organism on the planet that can be seen from outer space. And its ecological importance to the wider, global marine ecosystem is nigh-on incalculable.