DESTINATIONS – The Great Barrier Reef
Facts to consider while sightseeing on the Great Barrier Reef:
The Great Barrier Reef is undisputed as one of the world's most important natural assets. It is the largest natural feature on earth stretching more than 2,300km along the northeast coast of Australia from the northern tip of Queensland to just north of Bundaberg.
It is an area bigger than the United Kingdom, Holland and Switzerland combined and is the largest World Heritage Area in the world.
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest collection of coral reefs; it contains 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc.
The Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia's first World Heritage Areas, was inscribed in 1981 on the World Heritage List in recognition of its outstanding natural universal values:
- As an outstanding example representing the major stages in the earth's evolutionary history;
- As an outstanding example representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes;
- As an example of superlative natural phenomena; and
- Containing important and significant habitats for 'in situ' conservation of biological diversity.
The Daintree Rainforest
The Daintree Rainforest is the most complex rainforest ecosystem on earth.
The World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest is the oldest living rainforest in the world at 160 million years old. This heartland of Tropical North Queensland is rich in flora and fauna, containing 30% of frog, marsupial and reptile species in Australia, 18% of Australia’s bird species, 65% of the country’s bat and butterfly species and approximately 12,000 species of insects.
The Daintree Rainforest is around 1,200km2 in size and is the largest continual area of tropical rainforest on the Australian Continent.
Australia was a warm and humid continent and rainfall was plentiful millions of years ago. During this time, rainforests thrived even in areas such as Ayers Rock. As Australia became drier, there were fewer places where rainforests could survive. The Daintree region is one of those areas where the climate and topography are perfect, that it’s the last remaining sanctuary for rainforests.
Within this sanctuary, many species have lived comfortably with no reason to change for millions of years. There are species that are still in existence which carry characteristics of their primitive ancestors. One species, commonly known as the ‘Idiot Fruit’ is one of the rarest and most primitive of the flowering plants. Its discovery in 1970 is arguably the most significant biological find in Australia. Scientists understood the significance this species. Out of 19 primitive flowering plant species on the planet, 12 of them are found in the Daintree region, the highest concentration of these plants in the world.