Australia's Coral Sea Reefs
Beyond the continental shelf that harbours the Great Barrier Reef, lie the isolated reef systems and crystal clear waters of Australia's Coral Sea. The region covers over 1 million square kilometres - three times the size of the neighbouring Great Barrier Reef - and is scattered with spectacular coral reefs, in an undersea world of ancient mountains, rising thousands of metres from the ocean floor.
In this oceanic wilderness, where man's influence is relatively insignificant, pelagic fish populations abound including grey whalers and white tip reef sharks, hammerheads, tuna, barracuda, big eye trevally, mackerel and manta rays. Rare sea creatures such as the Nautilus and Lacey Scorpionfish inhabit these waters, alongside an incredibly diverse range of corals, including massive soft corals and gorgonian fans far from land, with the sea floor far below, the Coral Sea is also known for its blue clear waters and underwater visibility, which ranges between 30 and 100 metres.
150 km off the north east coast of Queensland lies Osprey Reef, one of the most famous of the Coral Sea reefs. Here you will find the sheer walls, incredible visibility and schools of pelagics typical of the Coral Sea reefs. But Osprey Reef offers more. At the tip of this 25 km long reef is 'North Horn', renowned for its thriving shark population. At this site you can dive year round with legions of grey whalers and white tips plus the occasional silvertip, while in the winter and spring schools of hammerheads can often be seen in the blue. Manta Rays are commonly sighted at 'Around the Bend', a dive site with a manta ray cleaning station on an isolated bommie. Osprey Reef also boasts some of the world's largest and most spectacularly coloured soft corals. Due to the depths, occasional currents, and style of diving, Osprey Reef is recommended to the more experienced diver.