Animals in the Great Barrier Reef

As the largest reef ecosystem in the world, the Great Barrier Reef is home to an incredible variety of species. From colourful corals and marine mammals to glimmering fish and magnificent birds, the Reef abounds with natural wonder! If you're lucky enough to visit the Whitsundays, a snorkel or dive in the crystal clear waters of the Reef are a must. So, check out some of the magical creatures that flourish just below the surface in the Whitsundays! 

Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Islands


10% of the world's fish species can be found within the Great Barrier Reef! Incredible right? The most noticeable species on the reef are the fish, of course! With an astounding array of diverse, wacky fish swimming amongst the soft and hard corals of the reef, you will surely be amazed by colourful variety! From the bright yellow Butterfly Fish to the huge Maori Wrasse, your snorkelling trip in the Whitsundays will be a real-life finding Nemo experience! Dive in to witness the beautifully balanced marine ecosystems and the thousands of fish species thriving below!

Snorkelling Fish in the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Islands

Sea turtles

Sea turtles are a common inhabitant of the Great Barrier Reef, and an absolute delight to see! The most common type of turtle found in our slice of paradise is the green sea turtle, known for a light coloured shell and mosaic-like head patterns. Younger turtles will swim around you during your snorkel, so swim peacefully amongst these prehistoric wonders and soak up their natural wonder! Or, try and spot an older sea turtle amongst the seagrass beds from above the surface. And lastly, don't forget your underwater camera! You won't want to miss your chance to snap a pic of these incredible creatures in their natural habitat.

Green Sea Turtle in the Great Barrier Reef, snorkelling in the Whitsundays


While coral may look like an underwater plant, the organism is actually made up of colonies of small polyps, which are animals closely related to jellyfish! These colourful, textured creatures come in a variety of types, the main two being hard and soft corals. With over 600 varieties of coral found in the Great Barrier Reef, you're bound to witness an abundance of colours, varieties and shapes of Whitsunday coral! Keep an eye out for Staghorn and Plate corals, which closely resemble their literal names! 

St Peters Bay Corals Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef


With an abundance of friendly reef sharks, it's likely you will spot a shark on your Great Barrier Reef adventures! While it's quite unlikely to see Tiger sharks and Hammerheads, there are plenty of smaller black-tip and white-tip sharks as well as grey-reef whalers. When spotting sharks, remember to exercise caution and not to disturb them suddenly. While sharks are generally gentle and relaxed creatures, they don't respond too well to impositions of personal space so keep your distance and soak up the reef's wonders!

Shark Whitsundays


With over 5000 species of mollusc inhabiting the Great Barrier Reef, you will probably spot one during your snorkel in the Whitsundays. Molluscs are busy little organisms that help control algae and provide food sources for other animals in the ecosystems. The most famous type of molluscs is the magnificent giant clam, known for its colourful, fleshy shell lips! Sea slugs are also molluscs, boasting a range of bright colours and soft bodies.

CLam, Giant Clam, Sailing whitsundays, East Coast


These weird and wacky creatures are truly something to look out for while you are exploring the depths of the Great Barrier Reef! There are over 800 species of echinoderms living in the Great Barrier Reef, such as sea stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. These creatures are characterised by their radial symmetry and colourful, calcium shells. Interestingly, echinoderms don't have brains! Instead, they have an intricate nervous system that allows them to feel and react to their surroundings. 

Sea Cucumber, Sailing, diving, whitsundays

Ocean Giants 

The Great Barrier Reef is also home to a handful of stunning water mammals such as Humpback whales and dugongs! While these creatures are less common, ocean giants grace our pristine Whitsunday waters seasonally! So keep an eye out for a frolicking Humpback, or chilled out sea cow having a tasty sea-grass snack! 

Humpback Whale Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef catamaran

Our luxury range of catamarans will take you to the best snorkelling spots in the Whitsundays!

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