Some of the most fascinating natural landscapes in the world can actually be found underwater. This is especially true for coral reefs, magnificent underwater ecosystems that consist of often colorful reef-building corals.
These remarkable living organisms are mostly formed by stony corals and are home to some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. They are therefore sometimes referred to as the “rainforests of the underwater world.”
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most famous coral reefs in the world, some of which were chosen as one of the 7 Wonders of the Underwater World.
1. Great Barrier Reef
Let’s just start this list with the most fascinating and largest coral reef on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef. This enormous reef is located off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia and consists of 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands.
This enormous collection of reefs has a total length of 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) and coves an area of about 344,400 square kilometers (133,000 square miles). Most of the area of the reef is protected, but the unprotected parts are visited by large numbers of tourists who want to explore this incredible wonder of nature off the coast of Australia.
Official website: Great Barrier Reef
2. Red Sea Coral Reef
The Red Sea is a large inlet of the Indian Ocean that lies right in between Africa and Asia. The sea covers a total area of 438,000 square kilometers (169,100 square miles) and large parts consist of shallow waters that feature coral reefs.
These reefs are found along the coastline of the countries Egypt, Eritrea, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, and are estimated to be anywhere between 5,000 and 7,000 years old. The wonders of this underwater miracle are popular tourist attractions, especially near the numerous resorts along the coasts of Israel and Egypt.
3. Rainbow Reef
The Rainbow Reef is located in the Republic of Fiji and can be found in the Somosomo Strait. This strait is located between the two Fijian islands of Taveuni and Vanua Levu. This magnificent coral reef can be found at a depth of between 15 and 65 meters (49 and 213 feet).
This means that to explore the reef, you’ll have to use diving equipment. The Rainbow Reef is considered to be one of the most popular scuba diving spots in the South Pacific, mainly the area around the so-called “Great White Wall,” an incredible wall of white coral reef with an extremely rich level of biodiversity.
4. Raja Ampat
The coral reefs of Raja Ampat are located near the Raja Ampat Archipelago, also known as the “Four Kings.” This archipelago consists of 1,500 islands located off the coast of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s West Papua province.
This area is considered to be the world’s center of tropical marine biodiversity as about 75% of the world’s known species of hard coral grow here. The coral reef consists of 600 species of hard coral in total and is home to over 1,700 species of reef fish. This makes it the richest biodiverse coral reef in the world and an amazing spot for scuba diving as well.
5. Belize Barrier Reef
The Belize Barrier Reef is part of the second-largest barrier reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef. Just like its larger counterpart in Australia, it consists of a collection of reefs that run for 300 kilometers (190 miles) along the eastern coast of the Caribbean country of Belize in Central America.
This reef is part of an even larger reef system called the “Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System” which has a total length of 900 kilometers (560 miles). The Belize Barrier Reef is made up out of 70 species of hard coral and 36 species of soft coral which are home to over 500 species of reef fish. It’s the most popular tourist attraction in the country of Belize and attracts over a quarter million visitors every year who want to get a closer look at this incredible underwater ecosystem.
Info on UNESCO: Belize Barrier Reef
6. New Caledonian Barrier Reef
Even though the New Caledonian Barrier Reef isn’t the largest barrier in the world, it’s the longest continuous reef system in the world. This means that with a continuous length of 1,500 kilometers (930 miles), it’s longer than its bigger counterparts the Great Barrier Reef and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System.
The reef is located in New Caledonia, an Overseas Territory of France in the South Pacific, which is situated about 1,210 kilometers (750 miles) east of Australia. This enormous reef encloses a lagoon that covers an area of 24,000 square kilometers (9,300 square miles) and is home to numerous endemic animal species, including green sea turtles.