Ocean Rafting offers a number of amazing products that visit Whitehaven, the number one beach in the world, the incredible Hill Inlet Lookout and of course the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef spans for over 344,400km² along the east coast of Australia, if that’s a bit hard to picture, imagine a football field, multiply that by 70 million, now you’re getting pretty close to the size of the Great Barrier Reef!
The Great Barrier Reef isn’t just one singular reef. This incredible natural wonder is made up of over 3000 individual reefs formed in different ways depending on the reef’s location. The outer reef is formed on the continental shelf of Australia.
Image courtesy of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)
The continental shelf is where the relatively shallow water meets a shelf, often dropping off to thousands of meters in depth. The combination of upwelling of nutrients from the depths, and the shallow water harbouring life the relies on the sunlight that penetrates the shallows provides the perfect environment for coral reefs to form. The outer reefs are generally platform and ribbon reefs and you can view some of our amazing offshore reef systems from Ocean Rafting’s Scenic Flight, a great way to try and grasp the scale of the GBR.
So what is Fringing Reef?
Fringing Reefs are characteristic of inshore reefs, found around the coastline and islands these reefs grow exactly as the name would suggest, fringing a landmass. The image below is a perfect example, the reef system grows out from the island, with a shallow inter-tidal flat growing out towards a wall. Typically the wall or the edge of the fringing reef has the healthiest coral and the majority of the marine life and your crew at Ocean Rafting will always guide you along the ‘drop off’ to get the best possible experience.
To fully understand the growth of coral reefs we recommend you check out the following article;
What is Coral? A basic understanding of this incredible ecosystem will only enhance your Great Barrier Reef Experience!