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Great Barrier Reef

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The Great Barrier Reef is the largest area of coral reefs and islands in the world, with about 3,400 reefs in total. Situated 50-150km offshore of north-east Australia, it is 2000km long, stretching from around Bundaberg in the south to the tip of Cape York in the north although the complete area is extended to Papua New Guinea. It is comprised of 2,900 reefs including 760 fringing reefs. There are around 300 reef shingle islands and cays, and 600 continental islands. The entire area is some 350,000 kmē in size, even larger than Great Britain.

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Such an immense habitat means it is also home to a wide variety of life forms. Among these there are about 1,500 species of fish, six of the world's seven species of turtle, dugong, around 400 types of corals, about 400 molluscs, as well as thousands of different crustaceans, sponges, starfish, sea urchins, worms, sea cucumbers, and other different life forms. It is plain to see why it is a diver's paradise.

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There are three major types of reefs on the Great Barrier Reef. Ribbon reefs are found in the north of the Great Barrier Reef. They are narrow walls which sit on the edge of the continental shelf with passages between the individual reefs. Fringing reefs develop either along the mainland coast or along the sloping sides of islands. Patch reefs are round or oval and grow like platforms. There are also many less common types including plug reefs and deltaic reefs.

98.5% of the Great Barrier Reef is now a Marine Park.

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