The Southern Great Barrier Reef is home to many incredible creatures, great and small.
Whether you are trekking on land, snorkelling or diving, or travelling with a ferry or tour operator, there are plenty of opportunities for unforgettable wildlife encounters.
Get ready for an up close and personal experience with some of Australia’s most amazing species, across a range of locations offering diverse habitats and environments.
A trip to the Southern Great Barrier Reef is not complete without catching a glimpse of Australia’s unofficial marine mascot and right now is the perfect time to hang out with these beautiful creatures.
The Southern Great Barrier Reef is one of the most important breeding and nesting areas in Australia for sea turtles such as the Loggerhead, Hawksbill, Flatback and Green Sea Turtle.
Turtle season is currently in full swing as hundreds of turtles emerge from the ocean to lay their eggs. From January, hundreds of hatchlings will make their perilous journey back to the sea.
The Mon Repos Conservation Park just outside Bundaberg run nightly tours at the Turtle Centre where you can take part in a guided turtle encounter and witness turtles nesting and hatching (in season).
When it comes to being able to swim with them, the most popular places are the lagoon at Lady Elliot Island, around Heron Harbour on Heron Island, Monkey Beach at Great Keppel Island and the lagoon at Lady Musgrave.
Image credit - Tourism and Events Queensland
The most amazing species of ray is undoubtedly the magnificent Manta Ray.
With a wingspan of up to 7 meters they are an amazing sight as they cruise through the nutrient rich waters of the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
The premiere place to see them is Lady Elliot Island, otherwise known as the 'Home of the Manta Ray'!
The Mantas mainly visit Lady Elliot during the months of May to August but can be seen all year round. They can also be spotted at Lady Musgrave, Heron Island, Bommie and Barren Island in the Keppel Group.
These curious cuties can be found almost anywhere that there is bushland, scrub, or places to burrow and hide.
Whether you are enjoying the serenity of Town of 1770 Headland, taking a stroll through Barolin Nature Reserve, or relaxing by the ocean on Great Keppel Island, our spiny SGBR locals may just pop out to pose for a photo and say hello.
There are legendary sea creatures who seek tranquility in the shallow, protected, sub-tropical waters of Keppel Bay on the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Shy and bashful, and a voluptuous 400 kilos of HUGE, this extremely placid and friendly marine mammal may be elusive but seeing Dugongs in their natural environment is an extremely special experience.
These gentle herbivores, who live the simplest of lives, are the best caretakers of our local seagrass habitats and the animals residing in them. Where there is Dugong, there is healthy ocean and reef.
Every year thousands of Humpback Whales pass through the waters of the Southern Great Barrier Reef on their annual migration north.
They begin reaching our waters around June with the last of them leaving in October/November.
Whale watching tours run from Bundaberg and they can be frequently spotted in the waters around Lady Elliot, Lady Musgrave, Heron, and the Keppel Islands either from the land, boat or whilst you are out on snorkelling or diving tours.