Related Photo Galleries
The Great Barrier Reef on the Queensland coast is the largest reef system on Earth, extending for over 2000 km in length (about the same size as the USA's western coastline).
Situated in the Coral Sea, the reef can be seen clearly from outer space due to its immense size. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and is home to hundreds of varieties of coral & countless colourful and exotic sea creatures. Within the reef there are nearly 1000 tropical islands including such gems as the Whitsunday Island Group, (which includes Hamilton Island and Whitehaven Beach), Dunk Island, and Fitzroy Island.
In 1768, Captain James Cook became the first European to discover the Great Barrier Reef. His ship the Endeavour ran aground on the reef on June 11, 1770 in what is now appropriately called Cape Tribulation.
Today most of the reef is protected in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.