About World Heritage

    The Queensland Government acknowledges the First Nations peoples of Country throughout Queensland and their continuing connection to land, sea and community, including those places that are recognised as World Heritage sites—places of international importance and recognised as the most remarkable places on Earth.

    We pay our respects to all First Nations peoples, cultures and to Elders past, present and emerging.

    First Nations peoples are engaged in all levels of governance and management of Queensland’s World Heritage properties including through membership of advisory committees and ‘on Country’ management.

    What is a World Heritage area?

    World Heritage areas are places that are important to all the peoples of the world, regardless of where they are located. They include the most beautiful and significant places on our planet.

    These areas include the Great Barrier Reef, the Pyramids of Giza, Great Wall of China, Machu Pichu, the Galapagos Islands, Grand Canyon, rainforests of Queensland’s Wet Tropics and Tropical Rainforests of Borneo.

    There are more than 1,100 World Heritage properties globally.

    Australia has 20 sites on the World Heritage list, including:

    • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
    • Kakadu National Park
    • Shark Bay
    • Greater Blue Mountains area
    • Budj Bim Cultural Landscape

    Queensland has five World Heritage areas—more than any other state or territory in Australia. The Queensland Government is responsible for the state-wide coordination of all World Heritage matters in Queensland. Learn more about Queensland’s World Heritage areas.

    Why are they important?

    World Heritage areas must represent outstanding and the best examples of cultural and/or natural heritage in the world. For example, ancient ruins or historical structures, buildings, deserts, forests, islands, lakes, monuments, mountains, or wilderness areas.

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is the organisation that monitors and considers nominations of all World Heritage areas.

    Only the Australian Government can nominate Australian places for entry on this list. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee assesses nominated places against set criteria and makes the final decision as to the places that are included on the World Heritage List.

    Australia has 20 properties on the World Heritage List, which means these places are recognised by the global community as having irreplaceable significance which needs to be protected for future generations to enjoy. Learn more about the World Heritage List process.

    Queensland World Heritage areas

    Five of the World’s Heritage listed sites are found in Queensland.

    • At K’gari (Fraser Island) you can actually see the very processes of change which made this island worthy of World Heritage listing.
    • The Great Barrier Reef became Queensland’s first World Heritage area in 1981 and is home to more than 1,500 species of fish, 4,000 species of molluscs, 400 species of sponge and 300 species of hard corals.
    • The Gondwana Rainforests of Australia straddles the border between Queensland and New South Wales, protecting subtropical and temperate rainforests that date back to the Jurassic Period about 180 million years ago.
    • Riversleigh fossil site in north west Queensland tells the story of how our native animals evolved to be so different from wildlife anywhere else in the world.
    • 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 as varied as those found in this area.
    • Watch the video that explains the evolution of three of Queensland’s World Heritage areas—the Wet Tropics of Queensland, the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia and the Riversleigh fossil site.

      Watch the video that explains the evolution of three of Queensland’s World Heritage areas—the Wet Tropics of Queensland, the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia and the Riversleigh fossil site.