The Great Barrier Reef comes indoors at Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium in Townsville. Admire the enormous aquariums that mimic the ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef with a variety of living corals, sharks, rays, fish and other denizens of the deep. Attractions include an underwater tunnel where you can watch sharks and fish swim around you, and daily animal feeding demonstrations and talks.
Your admission ticket to Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium gives you the chance to observe a variety of marine animals and corals in elaborate exhibits that simulate the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef and Australia’s greatest natural wonder. Marvel at the 200,000 gallon (750,000 liter) Predator Exhibit and the 660,430 gallon (2.5 million liter) Coral Reef Exhibit, housing more than 150 species of fish and 120 species of hard and soft corals. Unlike many other aquariums, the coral reef tank is exposed to the outdoors, allowing natural light, rain and storms to touch the waters. Walk through an underwater viewing tunnel that gives you front-row views of the living coral reef and the sharks and rays that swim around it. Watch some of the Great Barrier Reef’s most iconic species such as the giant trivially and blacktip reef sharks circle a replica of the SS Yongala, North Queensland's most famous shipwreck. You might also spot smaller critters such as seahorses, pipefish, clown fish and sea turtles. Throughout the day, the knowledgeable and friendly staff offer educational talks and feeding demonstrations. At the Discovery Lagoon, get a close encounter with some creatures of the Great Barrier Reef in the hands-on exhibits. You can even interact with an underwater scuba diver in the middle of the tank during a presentation about sharks and other reef predators. Learn about the aquarium’s turtle hospital, which treats and rehabilitates sick and injured marine turtles. Their biggest patient, a 287-pound (130-km) green turtle, was released on The Strand after seven months of treatment. She promptly swam more than 125 miles (200 km) back to her home waters off Wunjunga. If you want a snack or souvenir, check out the on-site cafe or gift shop.