Click to enlargeThe Great Barrier Reef - the largest living thing on earth

The Great Barrier Reef, which is a coral reef, is the largest structure in the world to have been built by living creatures. It is also called the largest “living thing” in the world, and was easily placed on the World Heritage list. It is not just the largest mass of living organisms on earth but also the most incredibly complex and diverse ecosystem known to man. The Great Barrier Reef stretches for more than 2900 km (1430 miles) along the east coast from the Gulf of Papua to a point near Gladstone. It actually consists of more than 2,500 separate, interconnected reefs comprising layer upon layer of polyps – tiny, rapidly reproducing marine invertebrates which secrete limestone. Large colonies of polyps are connected horizontally; a thin film forms over their hard protective skeletons, binding them together and eventually, after hundreds of years, they become coral.

Hardly another ecosystem on earth can surpass the reef for sheer beauty or variety. With wildly differing shapes recalling tress, plates, fungi and even brains, the still living polyps paint the underwater scene with vivid colour, to which is added a kaleidoscope of other living creatures. These include not only tropical fish of brilliant hue and intriguing personality, but also sponges, starfish, crabs, sharks, turtles, giant clams and the occasional dugong, a large harmless creature also known as the sea-cow.

Another creature that is drawn to this water paradise in large numbers is the Homo sapiens, tourist variety. This medium-sized, sometimes amphibious mammal can be observed gazing at the wonders of the reef from aircraft, wave piecers, and vessels of all kinds, including flat-bottomed boats and semi-submersibles, or socializing with its other inhabitants while snorkelling or playing around with tropical fishes. Large number of visitors stay on the mainland, venturing out onto the reef on day trips from the main tourist centres such as Port Douglas, Cairns, Townsville and the Whitsunday region.

[NEXT: Wilpena Pound- huge natural fortress, 7 of 14]

Learn more. Checkout this video from Panorama Australia !

Title: Cairns - The Gem Of The Tropics

Special discount of 10% from Panorama Australia for visitors from Just e-mail after purchasing that you came via UpFromAustralia !

C'mon - let's snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef
C'mon - let's snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef

Underwater wonderland...
Underwater wonderland...

Fish & No Chips...
Fish & No Chips...


1.Virtual Tours

2.Panaromic Views

3.Uniquely Aussie

4.About Australia

5.Did you know?

Book Aussie Travel Tours online AussieTravelTours


2.Arts & Crafts

3.Modern Crafts


5.Aussie Lifestyle


Your Comments.

Let's talk about Australia.

Like the website? TELL YOUR FRIENDS.

Price include worldwide air-delivery DIRECT from Australia. No more add-on. Note: we are retailers and not producers of the products. was brought to you by e-Stalls. "Virtual travel and shopping" (Copyright 2000-05)

In Association with Online Shop - Australian Food, Gifts and Souvenirs Visit the historical city of Malacca, Malaysia - truly Asia