- "Organisms don't think of CO2 as a poison. Plants and organisms that make shells, coral, think of it as a building block."
- –Janine Benyus
The Great Barrier Reef is a two-tile passable Natural Wonder in Civilization VI. The Great Barrier Reef appears on Coast tiles. Each Wonder tile provides 3 Food and 2 Science. The Great Barrier Reef increases the Appeal of adjacent tiles by +2.
Each Great Barrier Reef tile has a yield of 3 Food and 2 Science. Since Science is often hard to generate early in the game, incorporating natural wonder tiles can provide a vital head start through the tech tree.
Like ordinary Coast tiles, the yields of the Great Barrier Reef's tiles can be increased using certain bonuses. If the wonder tiles are owned by a city with a Lighthouse, Shipyard and Seaport, the yield of the tiles will increase by 1 Food, 1 Production and 2 Gold respectively. (The Production bonus from the Shipyard only works in Gathering Storm.) The Suzerain bonus of the Auckland city-state also increases the tile yields by 1 Production, and by a further 1 Production once the Industrial Era has been reached.
Unfortunately, as with all natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef tiles cannot be developed or improved. Because of this, natural wonders are sometimes more of a hindrance than an asset later in the game - a natural wonder in the heart of a city can spoil adjacency bonuses for districts. In general, passable wonder tiles are significantly better than an unimproved tile of any kind, but are often less productive than an ordinary tile with an improvement or a district. If the Wonder spawns directly adjacent to the Coast, it can be incorporated into a National Park.
Meandering about off the coast of northeast Australia, the 2300-km (1400-mile) Great Barrier Reef is the largest structure built by living organisms (so much for manmade “wonders”) and can even be seen from orbit. Built by billions of coral polyps over a half-billion years, it now comprises some 2900 individual reefs and 900 islands, and is home to an incredible diversity of fauna – from 30 species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises to 215 species of birds. Unfortunately pollution, overfishing, tourism, and climate change are threatening the future of the reef; coral bleaching is accelerating and scientists estimate that unless drastic steps are taken, by 2030 AD the Great Barrier Reef will have suffered “irreversible damage” and no longer be “great.”
- The Great Barrier Reef can be found in its real-life location on the standard Earth map.
- The maximum possible yield from each tile of the Great Barrier Reef is 4 Food, 2 Gold, 2 Production, 1 Culture, 1 Faith and 3 Science. This is possible if the tiles are in a city with a Seaport and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, if the player is the Suzerain of Auckland, and the game is in the Industrial Era or later.
- The Great Barrier Reef is the largest natural wonder that appears in Civilization VI, covering a total area of 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 square miles). Bizarrely, the Reef covers only two tiles, while some other wonders cover up to four tiles. This is likely due to balance efforts, as the Great Barrier Reef would be able to provide overwhelming Science bonuses to multiple cities of the same empire if its size were scaled correctly.