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 making it the largest living organism in the world and is home to over 300 types of hard and soft coral, 1500 species of fish and six of the world's seven marine turtles. A visit to the Great Barrier Reef wouldn’t be complete without experiencing these eight marine encounters:
- Clown fish - One of the icons of the Great Barrier Reef and a common and colourful sight, they live within the venomous tentacles of anemones hiding away from any potential predators.
- Giant clams - Growing up to 1.5m in length and weighing up to 250kgs, these huge molluscs eat algae and photosynthesize. Crusty on the outside, soft and colourful on the inside, they are found everywhere on the Great Barrier Reef.
- Manta Rays – The largest of all rays with a wingspan of up to seven metres. Lady Elliot Island is one of the hotspots during winter to see these graceful and magnificent creatures.
- Maori wrasse - They love to play and will happily follow you like a faithful friend. Found throughout the Great Barrier Reef, they hang out at reef pontoons, around the Whitsunday Islands and popular snorkel and dive sites.
- Potato cods – 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.
- Sharks – Cruising the warm waters, sharks of the Great Barrier Reef are usually spotted alone. Among the most common are white tip, black tip and grey reef sharks.
- Turtles – With six of the world’s seven turtle species calling the Great Barrier Reef home, it’s not hard to run into one! Instinct drives them together each year for mating in the shallows and nesting on the shore.
- Whales - The Great Barrier Reef is the ultimate nursery playground for Humpback Whales and their calves, making an appearance each year from June to September. Their smaller cousins, the Dwarf Minke Whales, also pass through Tropical North Queensland at the same time and exclusively in Tropical North Queensland, you can swim with the Dwarf Minke Whales.