Wonders of the Great Barrier Reef Australia

By admin| June 13, 2016|

Australia is home to the world's biggest living structure. Running almost the whole length of Queensland, The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from space. Made of  thousands of small reefs, islets, atolls and islands, the Great Barrier Reef starts near Bundaberg in the south and continues north of Cape York into the Torres Strait in the north. That's a total distance of 2,600 km. Or, to put it in perspective on a global scale, it's about the same distance

Great Barrier Reef coral spawn: happening soon!

By Fiona Harper| November 20, 2015|

Unless you’ve been hiding in a world wide web black spot behind a sand dune, you’ve probably already heard about nature’s spectacularly synchronised coral spawn. But in case you haven’t, coral spawning on the Great Barrier Reef is the biggest reproductive phenomenon this side of Texas. In fact, it’s bigger than Texas. (actually, that’s not strictly true – covering 344,00 sq km, the GBR is actually bigger than Italy, but no matter). What is important however, is the magnitude of

Atherton Tablelands and the Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo

By admin| January 20, 2015|

Thala Beach Nature Reserve is located smack in the heart of some of north Queensland's most spectacular country. With the Great Barrier Reef as the star attraction, the region has plenty of other diversions too! The Atherton Tablelands are easily reached during on a day trip from Thala Beach Nature Reserve. Driving north past Port Douglas, take the Mossman - Mt Molloy Road up the Rex Range to the Atherton Tablelands. The road twists and winds through rainforest and farmlands,

Dugongs – nature’s smartest mammal!

By Fiona Harper| September 22, 2014|

Known as the mermaid of the sea, dugongs (or manatees) are shy bashful creatures. The jury is still out on how or why dugongs were mistaken for mermaids, but stories abound of sailors sighting graceful half woman, half fish creatures as early as Christopher Columbus’s explorations during 1493. Perhaps the combination of lonely sailors and rum consumed on extended sea voyages gets closer to the truth. Using their tail fluke for propulsion, their rotund bodies make them appear sluggish yet

Dolphins and Whales sighted by Thala Beach Nature Reserve guests

By Fiona Harper| August 26, 2014|

It’s humpback whale season in Tropical North Queensland with humpbacks recently spotted by guests staying at Thala Beach Nature Reserve. Venturing north on their annual holidays (actually they migrate north to breed and give birth, but we like to think they’re on holidays too!) to the warm water playground of Tropical North Queensland, humpbacks leave Antarctic waters around June. Cruising the Great Barrier Reef, often with young calves in tow, the annual migration provides spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities. Growing up

Parrot Fish

By admin| September 25, 2012|

The colourful, ubiquitous parrot fish is a marvellous addition to the waters surrounding the Great Barrier Reef. Besides handsomely adding to the colour spectrum of this coral rich wonderland, the parrot fish contains a number of quirks that makes it a particularly interesting species. While there’s 30 different types of parrot fish in the Great Barrier Reef alone, it still relies on several inbuilt mechanisms to ensure its continued survival. Just one male parrot fish can produce whopping amounts of


By admin| September 21, 2012|

While fish have different things going for them, it surely would pay to be a batfish, an elongated, laterally flattened species that could dart through the narrowest of crevices. Besides providing a good game, such a skill would surely prove useful in a fleeting escape from a hungry predator. These reef dwelling fish can often be seen at the Great Barrier Reef, although their appealing good looks means they’re also commonly kept in aquariums. However, it’s the younger fish that


By admin| September 18, 2012|

Often termed lilies of the sea, crinoids, which can resemble a beautiful underwater flower, or perhaps even a creature from a Ridley Scott thriller, are amongst the oldest living creatures on earth. While suffering a major extinction episode in the Permo-Triassic, today their population remains stable, although they’ve since mostly shifted to deeper waters. Above: Crinoid on Tongue Reef - The Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The word crinoid comes from the Greek word krinon (lily) and eidos (form). One unusual

Butterfly Cod

By admin| July 27, 2012|

A striking looking creature, which looks as if it’s set to star in an underwater Chinese New Year Parade, the Butterfly Cod is adorned with fins and spikes that fire out of its body in flamboyant fashion. These fan-like protrusions, which are typically striped in appearance, are venomous and used for the fish’s protection. Located on the dorsal, anus and pelvis, the fins give the fish almost complete immunity to cruise the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Growing up

Giant Clam

By admin| July 10, 2012|

A beautiful sight to behold, the giant clam, which enjoys the warm waters surrounding the Great Barrier Reef, is the largest living bivalve mollusc. At times weighing more than 200kg, these bottom feeding behemoths have an average lifespan of around 100 years in the wild. Having a rather settled nature from the outset, the giant clam will find its home on the reef and remain there throughout its entire life. Here it feeds on passing plankton, which it syphons from

Snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef

By admin| June 22, 2012|

For a fun and accessible way to see rare and colourful creatures in a pristine coral environment, that’s also the largest in the world, there’s arguably no better activity than snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. In fact, the only requirements for snorkelling are a reasonably good level of fitness and a moderate sense of adventure. And there’s many tours in the area that will take you to any number of reef destinations, so all one has to do is

Maori Wrasse

By admin| June 8, 2012|

One of the many striking, yet rather unusual looking inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef is the Maori Wrasse. This bone headed bather contains two delightful features that don’t serve it well in the survival of the fittest. It’s a very personable fish that has been sought after for its tasty qualities. However, more than just a good meal, the Maori Wrasse serves to protect the environment, as it eats sea hares, boxfish, or the crown of thorns star fish

Night Dive on the Great Barrier Reef

By admin| June 5, 2012|

With such an array of wildlife, including six turtle species, numerous whales and dolphins, and over 150,000 species of tropical fish, the Great Barrier Reef is a striking underwater kingdom teeming with life. Why then wouldn’t you want to explore the world of these amazing creatures at night, when there’s a whole other show going on? As at night, there are literally thousands of reef animals that are too shy to see the light of day. Fortunately, there are a

Great Barrier Reef Helicopter Tours

By admin| May 1, 2012|

Of all the ways to see Australia’s remarkable Great Barrier Reef, possibly the best way to get an overall perspective of this enormous living organism is by helicopter. And fortunately, there are numerous Great Barrier Reef helicopter tours in the region. Excursions include half-day and full-day tours, which head out to areas such as Green Island. Located approximately 27km offshore, Green Island is around 15 hectares in size, and contains virgin rainforest which meets the translucent waters of the Coral

Catlin Seaview Survey

By admin| April 24, 2012|

A new state-of-the-art project is underway that will show the Great Barrier Reef in a way never seen before. Titled the Catlin Seaview Survey, the project involves shallow water, 360 degree panoramic cameras taking photos of the reef to be uploaded to Google Earth and Google Maps so the public can experience a virtual dive. The project's chief scientist, Australian Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, says over 50,000 panoramic images will be uploaded to boost pubic awareness of the Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef Documentary

By admin| April 13, 2012|

The world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef, the planet’s largest living organism, is a truly remarkable site to behold. Such an impressive subject is sure to garner attention, the latest of which is a Great Barrier Reef documentary that showcases this wonderland in greater detail than ever before. The three-part one hour series was created by Cairns based company Digital Dimensions, and was produced by Britain’s BBC. The team allegedly spent weeks at sea in remote locations, shooting over 600-hours

Coral Spawning The Great Barrier Reef Australia 2011

By admin| November 15, 2011|

The Great Barrier Reef is set to put on another amazing show shortly as the annual coral spawning takes place. The coral spawning usually occurs 4 to 6 nights after the full moon in November, placing it to occur on around the 15,16 and 17th of November 2011. Millions of coral on The Great Barrier Reef will release sperm and eggs into the water as part of the coral’s reproductive process. Eggs and sperm build up inside the coral polyps

Humpback Whales Arrive at The Great Barrier Reef

By admin| June 1, 2011|

It's that time of the year again as reports of the first Humpback Whales arriving on the Great Barrier Reef off Port Douglas and Cairns are rolling in. If you're planning a trip to the Great Barrier Reef off Port Douglas or Cairns this winter you've got a good chance of seeing these amazing marine giants! A group of Southern Humpback Whales migrate approximately 10000 kilometres each year from the Antarctic waters to the warm waters of the Great

Cairns Airport Challenge Cairns 2011

By admin| May 3, 2011|

The Cairns Airport Challenge Cairns Triathlon will see thousands of athletes, spectators and media flock to the area for the headline event of the Cairns Adventure Festival. The full iron-distance event will consist of a 3.8 kilometre swim at Yorkeys Knob followed by a 180 km bike ride along the scenic coastal road to Port Douglas and back followed by a run leg of 42.2km from Yorkeys Knob to the finish line at Fogarty Park on the Cairns Esplanade. The

Round Headed Parrotfish Research – The Great Barrier Reef Australia

By proof| December 30, 2010|

New research conducted by the University Of Queensland has found that the Round Headed Parrotfish’s night time cocoon of mucous is actually to protect the fish from parasite attack. Previously it was thought the mucous ‘sleeping bag’ was to mask the scent of the fish from predators. Parrotfish on The Great Barrier Reef Australia are preyed on by gnathiids which are 2 mm long parasitic isopods. They can suck blood from the unfortunate parrotfish and can carry a

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