Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system. It is located in Coral Sea, off Queensland Australia's coast. This unique formation features over 2900 individual coral reefs plus 900 islands that stretch for over 2300 km (1400 ml) over an area of around 344,400 km2 (133,000 ml2).
The Great Barrier Reef is also the world's largest single structure consisting of living organisms. It is composed of billions of tiny organisms (coral polyps) and can be seen even from outer space. In 1981 the reef was designated a World Heritage Site. CNN named it one of the world's 7 natural wonders. Queensland National Trust labelled it Queensland's state icon.
A large part of the Great Barrier Reef is protected by Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, that helps to limit the human impact (tourism and fishing). Other environmental pressures on reef's ecosystem include climate change and runoff (accompanied by coral bleaching) and population outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish.
- According to a 2012-published scientific study, since 1985 the reef has lost over half of its coral cover. Another data published in 2014 showed that global climate change (rising ocean water temperature) will wreck irreversible damage to the reef by the year 2030.
- A report in March 2016 stated that coral bleaching is more widespread than previously thought, and it seriously affects the reef's northern parts as a result of warming ocean temperatures.
The Great Barrier Reef has been known to and used by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Australian peoples, and is a major part of local groups' spirituality and cultures. The reef is a popular destination for tourists, especially in the Cairns and Whitsunday Islands regions. Tourism generates more than $3 billion per year. Google Underwater Street View in 3D was launched in November 2014.
Among the most popular destinations for cruise ship tourism are:
The Great Barrier Reef cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near Great Barrier Reef, Queensland Australia.
If you lose the Great Barrier Reef location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.