Coral of the Great Barrier Reef – A colourful underwater journey

The Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Queensland is a place full of wonder and delight. The waters around this reef are so immensely diverse and rich with sea creatures and coral of all different kinds. A visit to the Great Barrier Reef will allow you to witness the staggering beauty of these colourful reefs in all their glory.

The Great Barrier Reef is almost unimaginably large, spanning an area of over 344 000km² with up to 3000 reefs spread out across this vast region. These waters are home to over 1600 species of fish, 134 species of sharks and rays, and is one of the only places in the world to be conserving 6 of the 7 endangered turtle species. This underwater wildlife is truly incredible, but what’s more fascinating is the reef itself, where you will find 411 different kinds of hard coral and one-third of the world’s soft coral!

The Great Barrier Reef is known to be the world’s largest living structure, this is due to the hard coral which has developed over 18 million years and formed links that allow the entire reef to be connected. Hard Coral, also known as hexacoral because of their 6 tentacles, form when colonies of coral polyps produce a limestone skeleton to support themselves. Although they are not very colourful, they are the building blocks for the reef and act more as a base on which the soft coral can find a foothold.

Soft Coral, also known as octocoral because of its 8 tentacles, is what breathes colourful life into the Great Barrier Reef, their astonishing vibrancy and fascinating movement enthral millions of visitors every year. The mesmerising swaying of the soft coral can often be seen decorated with rich colours such as mauve and pink, and sometimes even a vivid purple. What’s more is that these incredible corals sometimes play host to the marine life that inhabits this reef, with many species of small fish, prawns and sea slugs making the coral their home.

The unparalleled diversity of the Great Barrier reef is evident the moment that you lay eyes on it, with the wide range of wildlife swimming through the plethora of colourful coral that graces the reef with its captivating beauty.