Australia's Underwater Wildlife: The Great 8

by Travelbag on 09 August 2016, 16:08PM

Introducing the Great 8; found throughout Australia's famous Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. In fact, you can usually find them all swimming around the wreck of SS Yongala, off the coast of Townsville, revered for its abundance of marine life. Not only is the Great Barrier Reef home to 1500 species of fish, but also 400 different hard coral species and one-third of all soft coral found in the world.

A scuba tour of the Great Barrier Reef in search of this famous 8 is the underwater equivalent of a South African safari, and a trip to the Great Barrier Reef wouldn't be complete without ticking them off your list.



Clownfish, Great Barrier Reef

We found Nemo! The Clownfish is an iconic resident of the Great Barrier Reef. You can find the colourful cuties in sheltered reefs or shallow lagoons, hiding between the stinging tentacles of anemones.



Sharks, Great Barrier Reef

The boss of the Great Barrier Reef food chain, you’ll spot these lone rangers cruising through the warm waters of the Whitsundays, and off the coast of Cairns. The galeophobics (fear of sharks) among you need not worry, as most sharks are typically calm animals and you have more chance of being struck by lightning than having a negative shark encounter.


Manta Rays

Manta Rays

The largest of all rays, mantas are like the birds of the ocean with their massive wingspans of up to seven metres. Manta rays are known for their graceful acrobatic skills both in and out of the water. Find this jumbo fish throughout the waters of the Australia’s east coast.


Maori wrasse

Maori Wrasse

These big boned fish love to play and will happily follow you around like a faithful dog. You can find your new best friend throughout the Great Barrier Reef, but hot spots include reef pontoons around the Whitsunday Islands and other popular dive sites like the Ribbon Reefs and Osprey Reef


The Potato cod

Potato Cod

These big gill-bearers like to get up close and personal and with their wide mouths constantly opening and closing you’re easily mistaken for thinking they want a chat! A prime spot for hangouts with these friendly giants is the Cod Hole, off Lizard Island in Tropical North Queensland.


The Giant Clam

The Giant Clam

These guys might look tough on the outside but inside they’re really just big softies. Giant clams spend their days eating algae, photosynthesising, and looking beautiful. You can find them pretty much everywhere on the Great Barrier Reef.




With six of the world’s seven turtle species calling the Great Barrier Reef home, it’s not hard to swim across one. Instinct drives turtles together each year for mating (mating season varies from species) in the shallows and nesting on the shore of many islands.




The Great Barrier Reef is the ultimate playground for humpback whales and their new calves, making an annual appearance in the Whitsundays from June until September. Their smaller cousin, the Dwarf Minke Whale, also likes to play in the tropical North Queensland waters off Cooktown in June and July.


For your chance to spot these mesmerising marine animals pop into your local shop and speak to an expert. Or, take the task on yourself; find Great Barrier Reef holidays here.

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