For those who have never dived into the Great Barrier Reef, it’s whereabouts can be a little confusing. As a huge and delightful 2,300 kilometre long formation consisting of clusters of 2900 reefs, 900 islands and numerable sand cays, the reef is located between 15 kilometres and 150 kilometres offshore, depending on the land points.
As the largest living ecosystem on earth, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most treasured wonders. Spanning over 2,600 kilometres, the reef is continuously growing, morphing and changing shape. Consisting of corals, seagrasses, islands and cays, this wondrous ecosystem doesn’t leave much up to the imagination!
Opal Reef is found on the Outer Great Barrier Reef and is best visited from Cairns. It takes about an hour and a half to reach from the shore and sits on the edge of the continental shelf. It’s a huge reef with many individual reef sites with each offering a unique experience. Different currents and coral formations provide homes to a variety of fish and other marine animals, meaning what you will see will depend on which site you visit! Tour providers choose the best sites based on the conditions of the day, ensuring you are able to have the best experience possible and enjoy the reefs at their best!
Upolu Reef offers an inner reef experience on the Great Barrier Reef and a spectacular place to explore and visit, teeming full of marine life! Unlike some reefs in the marine park, it supports both inner and outer reef species, giving you a diversified insight into life here on the Great Barrier Reef. Upolu Cay is located within Upolu Reef, so you can visit both in one trip - if the cay is above water! As Upolu Cay is very tiny and has very little elevation, it can actually become completely submerged during high tides!
Thetford Reef is a small horseshoe-shaped reef that is great for both snorkelling and scuba diving. It has a beautiful combo of sandy sea beds teeming with life and colourful coral bommies that are host to many coral species and vibrant tropical fish! The reef itself is about 2km long and has several individual sites, each more unique than the last!
Pellowe Reef is found in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park near Milln Reef, Thetford Reef and Moore Reef on the edge of the continental shelf. This stunning site is visited from Cairns and is located about 35 nautical miles offshore, and is visited by both overnight and day trips! Pellowe is a more rare reef site to visit as the conditions must be just right, making it a special treat for those who do get to visit it. Tides and weather conditions must be ideal as this area has strong currents that can be dangerous to divers and snorkellers, and as safety is extremely important, you will only be able to go here if all the conditions are met! While a small reef, it offers a large variety of marine life to make each and every trip interesting to its visitors. Visibility ranges as far as 20m and depth here range from 5 - 20m and the reef has exciting wall dives and swim-throughs, making it a particularly great site for scuba divers.
Moore Reef shares a coral space with Elford Reef and hosts a huge variety of coral environments. Moore Reef ranges from 1 - 25 metres in depth, making it great for scuba diving, with plenty of reefs that are great for snorkelling. It’s a favourite reef for many visitors, as it promises a huge variety of marine life, coral formations, and reef types! It has drop-offs and sea caves, making for diverse experiences each and every time, giving guests a memorable Great Barrier Reef experience. It is located close to Fitzroy Island and are often visited in conjunction with the island!
Milln Reef is found close to Thetford Reef and sits close to the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. It’s a preferred reef for many day boats as it offers a huge variety of marine life close to the shoreline, taking about 30 minutes to reach.
Flynn Reef is a coral reef found 20km east of Green Island in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. It is located on the Outer Reef and is about 60km offshore from Cairns. The ride out to the reef cruises past other colourful reefs, pushing you to the edge of the marine park and onto this much-loved and visited site! You can look forward to seeing plentiful marine life here as well as a vast seascape that boasts both variety and excitement!
The Low Isles is a coral cay found in the Great Barrier Reef and is made up of Woody Island, Low Island and 55 acres of coral reef. The stunning cay is found only 15km northeast of Port Douglas, making it a popular spot for daytrippers leaving from the mainland, as you can reach in the cay in as little as 30 minutes! This reef site is teeming full of life and colour, offering an amazing snorkelling destination on the inner reef where visitors can swim in the coral lagoon, viewing the amazing marine life from above. Scuba diving isn’t allowed at this location, unless for scientific purposes, so tours only offer snorkelling to visitors!