The Great Barrier Reef is one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems in the world. It has a stunning array of marine-life that can be found nowhere else on the planet. There are 2900 separate coral reefs stretching for over 2,300kms along the Queensland coast, making it the largest living organism in the world.
Some of the rarest and most spectacular life in the ocean call the Great Barrier Reef home. This stunning underwater wonderland is home to over 300 types of hard and soft coral, 1500 species of fish and six of the world's seven marine turtles. Every year migrating Humpback and Minke Whales visit our waters with over 3,000 individuals coming to soak up the sunshine and warm water.
Clown fish have a lot to live up to! After their leading role in the movie “Finding Nemo” they’ve become one of the icons of the Great Barrier Reef and are a common colourful sight. They live within the venomous tentacles of anemones hiding away from any potential predators, but always put on a playful show for snorkellers and divers.
The Daddy of all Molluscs, yes; but man-eaters? Hardly! History told of unfortunate sailors swallowed by these huge molluscs that grow up to 1.5m in length and can weigh up to 250kgs. Today we know they just eat algae and photosynthesize. Crusty on the outside, soft and colourful on the inside, these big boys are found everywhere on the Great Barrier Reef.
With a wingspan of up to seven metres, it’s little wonder this is the largest of all the rays. Graceful and agile but powerful and magnificent. Lady Elliot Island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef is one of the hot spots for Manta Rays with up to 350 individuals visiting the island during winter.
These are truly happy-go-lucky creatures. They love to play and nuzzle up for a cuddle and will happily follow you like a faithful friend. You’ll find them throughout the Great Barrier Reef but especially where us humans hang out: the reef pontoons, around the Whitsunday Islands and popular snorkel and dive sites.
Potato cods love when people drop in, always taking the time to say hello and hang out for a while. They come right up close, their wide mouths constantly opening and closing as if they were trying to have a chat. Friendly and laid back like a good Queenslander should be!
Ask any diver what they want to see whilst they’re underwater and they’re bound to answer “shark!”. Majestic, powerful and watchful, the sharks of the Great Barrier Reef are usually spotted alone, cruising the warm waters of their favourite feeding grounds. Among the most common are white tip, black tip and grey reef sharks. We love our sharks!
With six of the world’s seven turtle species calling the Great Barrier Reef home, it’s not hard to run into one! Slow and awkward on land, turtles show nothing but grace and speed in the water and though they hunt alone, instinct will drive them together each year for mating in the shallows and nesting on the shore.
The Great Barrier Reef is the ultimate nursery playground for Humpback Whales and their calves. Each year from June to September you can watch them effortlessly hurl their huge weight into the air right along the Great Barrier Reef. Their smaller cousins, the Dwarf Minke Whales, pass through Tropical North Queensland at the same time each year.