Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the World’s largest Coral Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef covers over 350,000 square kilometres from Bundaberg to Papua New Guinea.

Great Barrier Reef

It is the largest coral reef globally, and in 1981 was selected as a World Heritage Site because of the diversity of life.

Marine Life

Whales, dolphins and porpoise, 30 species have been recorded. Large dugongs live there as well as over 1500 fish species.

Keep an eye out for brightly coloured parrotfish amounts to the hermaphrodites that live on the reef.

Six of the World’s seven species of sea turtle live on the Great Barrier Reef.   It is pretty common to have a turtle encounter on the GBR, which most of us will remember favourably forever.

During your stay, keep an eye out for the little fish made famous in Finding Nemo.

Clownfish or anemonefish come in several colours, including orange and white in the famous movie.  They also can be reddish or blackish.    Clownfish have a very clever arrangement with the anemone tentacles that have stinging cells that release a toxin to any other predator that comes too close.

The Great Barrier Reef and its lagoon offer various habitats for fishes and other marine organisms.  The outer part of this massive reef offers the best visibility.

Typically there is a broad outer reef flat. During low spring tides, the tops of the reef are out of the water.

Coral Spawningcoral spawning

Approximately six days after the full moon in November of each year, the largest sex show happens on the Great Barrier Reef at dusk.

Coral polyps release egg and sperm bundles simultaneously one night every year.

Underwater photographers flock to the reef to capture this fantastic event on film.

Outer Barrier Reef

Coralline algae work as a binding material that prevents the reef from breaking apart. Forming a rim at the outer edge, where the surf breaks, then the broad spur-and groove zone.

Subject to solid surge from incoming waves and the scouring action of sand and rubble in the grooves from powerful water movement.

These algae usually are pinkish-red and can also be purple, yellow, blue, white or grey-green.

Below the spur-and-groove zone, an abrupt vertical escarpment that drops to 30 m or more gradually follows this to the abyss.

Each of these zones has its characteristic assemblage of corals, algae and associated marine life.  The channels and passages through the reef, both shallow and deep, provide more habitats for which current is a significant parameter.

On the sheltered side of the outer reef, as the water deepens slightly, there’s a zone of elongate patches of coral, coralline algae, about 1-2 m wide and 20 m or more in length separated by channels.

Then a broad zone of sand grading into depths of the lagoon, there are usually many small coral heads *called bommies in Australia, each a microcosm of marine organisms.

Corals

A variety of coral formations occur within the deeper lagoon, some rising pinnacle-like from the deep water.

Corals growing in the sheltered lagoon water are often delicately branched.  Also in the lagoon are broad expanses of sea-grass beds.  Brightly coloured corals make the reef appear like an underwater garden.

Moving towards the mainland of Queensland, silty sand and mud habitats tend to dominate the lagoon floor.

The islets and larger islands provide more habitats, such as rocky intertidal areas and mangrove swamps.

 

Visitors find the Great Barrier Reef an ideal location to take a liveaboard scuba diving or snorkelling trip.

COVID-19

During COVID-19, the number of liveaboard trips departing from North Queensland has decreased.

All of our liveaboard vessels have a COVID safe plan.

Visitors are best to book in advance to avoid the disappointment of missing out.