Let’s face it, the Great Barrier Reef is big and is the largest living structure on Earth. Making up around 10% of the world’s coral, it’s the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem composed of over 2,900 individual reefs. It’s definitely something that just has to be seen, at least once!
The Size of the Great Barrier Reef
- Area: 348,700 km² (133,000 sq miles) or 34,870,000 ha
- Width: The reef ranges between 60 and 250 kilometres in width
- Length: The reef stretches over 2,300 kilometres from the northern tip of Queensland to just north of Bundaberg
- Depth: The has an average depth of 35 metres in waters close to shore, while on outer reefs, continental slopes extend down to depths of more than 2000 metres
The Great Barrier Reef has around 3000 coral reefs and over 900 islands (made up of around 600 continental islands and 300 coral cays).
The reef forms a long narrow band around 2,300km long from North to South starting at the tip of Cape York Peninsula in the north and extending down to Bundaberg, but the reef only ever reaches up to 300km off shore. The reef can be seen from outer space and is the world’s largest single structure made by living organisms.
Yep, It’s big. How big?
Ever wondered how big the Great Barrier Reef actually is?
- The Great Barrier Reef is greater in size than Tasmania and Victoria combined.
- The Great Barrier Reef is greater in size than the United Kingdom, Holland and Switzerland combined.
- The Great Barrier Reef is approximately the same area as Italy, Germany, Malaysia or Japan.
- The Great Barrier Reef is roughly half the size of Texas.
- The Great Barrier Reef is the size of 70 million football fields!
Some big facts about the Great Barrier Reef
You could fit all of the world’s remaining rainforests on the Great Barrier Reef and still have room to spare.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to one-third of the world’s soft corals. The reef is big enough to house over 1500 species of fish, 4000 types of molluscs, and 1000 species of echinoderms. In total, it is estimated that the reef is home to over half a million species. This incredible diversity of marine life makes the Great Barrier Reef one of the most important ecosystems on Earth.
The Great Barrier Reef is also an important economic asset. The reef generates around $6.4 billion each year from tourism and $5.6 billion from fisheries.
The reef is also a vital part of Australia’s identity. For many Australians, the Great Barrier Reef is a cherished national icon and a source of great pride. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is truly a wonder to behold.
The World’s 7 Largest Coral Reefs
Wondered what the world’s other largest coral reefs are?
- Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
- Red Sea Coral Reef, Israel, Egypt and Djibouti.
- New Caledonia Barrier Reef, South Pacific.
- MesoAmerican Barrier Reef, Atlantic Ocean.
- Florida Reef, Florida.
- Andros Coral Reef, Bahamas.
- Saya Del Malha, Indian Ocean.