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The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world. Extending 1,250 miles along Australia’s northeastern coast, the reef is made from skeletons of millions of tiny sea animals called polyps. Home to many birds and more than 1,500 types of fish, the reef’s warm water temperatures and stunning environment make it a popular tourist spot. To ensure that this fragile natural environment will not be disrupted by human activity, the Australian government has passed laws restricting activities known to harm the reef.      Great Barrier Reef
Animals       Australia has some of the most unique animals in the world! Most of Australia’s animals are marsupials, mammals whose offspring mature in a pouch on the mother’s abdomen. Marsupials include kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, and wombats. Two other unusual Australian animals are the platypus (pictured here) and echidna, the only mammals in the world that hatch their young from eggs.
The interior region of Australia is also called the Outback. It is a huge, hot, dry area covered with plains, plateaus, and low hills. The Outback has a low population density, but it is good for sheep and cattle ranching. There are few paved roads here and most of the ranches, called stations, are hundreds of miles from the nearest town. Located at the center of the region is Uluru (Ayers Rock) - a huge, red-brown rock more than 1,000 feet high and one mile long.      Great Dividing Range