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World heritage areas

World Heritage areas are outstanding examples of the world's natural or cultural heritage. The World Heritage Committee oversees listing these areas on behalf of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

The Australian Government has to ensure that Australia's world heritage properties are managed to protect their natural and cultural values. Of these 19 areas, 5 are in Queensland, one of the most naturally diverse places on earth.

In 2006, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service also commissioned a report into compiling a case for World Heritage on Cape York Peninsula (PDF)*.

  • At Fraser Island, you can actually see the very processes of change which made this island worthy of world heritage listing.
  • The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area straddles the border between New South Wales and Queensland, protecting subtropical and temperate rainforests.
  • The Great Barrier Reef became Queensland's first world heritage area in 1981, and is home to more than 1500 species of fish, 4000 species of molluscs, 400 species of sponge and 300 species of hard corals.
  • Riversleigh fossil site in north-west Queensland tells the story of how our native animals evolved to be so different from wildlife elsewhere.
  • The Wet Tropics of Queensland is one of a handful of sites worldwide which met all four criteria for World Heritage listing, with no other rainforests in Australia are as varied as those found in this area.

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Last updated
29 October 2015