Spanning over 2,600 kilometres and dating back over twenty million years, it’s no wonder the Great Barrier Reef is listed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Whether you’ve already visited the reef or still have it on your bucket list, if you’d like to find out more about this fascinating eco system the following programs can offer some additional insight.
1. Reef Teach
Operating three nights a week in the Cairns CBD, Reef Teach is a unique education centre for The Great Barrier Reef. These entertaining evenings are full of amazing facts, beautiful images, and the opportunity to handle a wide range of corals and other marine specimens – including some dangerous creatures that you wouldn’t want to touch if they were still alive! It will amaze, inspire, and captivate you, and have you laughing about the funny facts and weird and wonderful ways in which the reef works!
2. Master Reef Guides
Developed to educate our visitors about the reef environment and protection, the Master Reef Guide program, is responsible for producing the world’s leading reef guides, interpreters and story tellers. These reef ambassadors can provide up to date information on the Reef, share stories of the magical World Heritage Area and explain what you can do to make a difference.
At Sunlover we are fortunate to have two Master Reef Guides on our team, Marine Biologist, Pablo Cogollos and Marine Naturalist Luke Smith. Luke, Pablo and in fact any of our crew are happy to answer any questions you have about the reef and share their passion and knowledge.
3. Marine Biologist for a Day
Marine Biologist for a Day is an in-depth educational experience linked to the Australian School Curriculum, created and conducted by our team of marine experts including two Master Reef Guides. The program which covers topics including reef ecology, climate change, marine life identification, and predators such as Crown of Thorns starfish, also requires students to fill out a ‘Rapid Monitoring Survey’, which uses a monitoring slate to record health observations on aspects of the reef. This data is then inputted directly to the “Eye on the Reef” program run by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).
For a truly standout educational experience in the world's best classroom, we also run a Marine Biologist for a Day + Astronomer for a Night program, which includes a night in swags in the middle of the outer Great Barrier Reef to learn about the Southern Hemisphere's night skies.
4. Cairns Aquarium
As the only aquarium in the world dedicated exclusively to the habitats and species of tropical North Queensland, the Cairns Aquarium connects visitors with the natural wonders of The Great Barrier Reef. As a place of learning, fun and discovery, this experience encourages students’ innate curiosity for the amazing creatures of the Great Barrier Reef with a hands-on approach to teaching and learning. Their “AquaNuts” are reef experts, constantly developing ways to engage and connect students with the living environment – to inspire them to value, conserve and make a difference for the future.
5. Cairns Turtle Rehab
Co-founded by Jennie Gilbert and supported by Sunlover, the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (CTRC) is a voluntary non-profit organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation of sick and injured turtles. More than 170 sick and injured turtles have been brought in for treatment over the past 15 years.With six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles located in our region, the Great Barrier Reef is home to a great number of turtles that are seriously under threat as a result of both natural and human induced factors.
Tours are available on Fitzroy Island and the Cairns Aquarium on a limited basis so please check their website to find out more.
6. Citizens of GBR website
As a founding Citizens Circle Member, Sunlover is a proud supporter of the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef – “the world’s first collaborative and independent movement for the Reef”.
Uniting interested parties from across the globe, this initiative is designed to inspire a collective approach to ensuring the longevity of the Reef. From choosing alternatives to single-use plastics, to participating in ground-breaking research – everyone is encouraged to play their part, no matter how big or small.
You can even track the progress of turtles rehabilitated and released by the Cairns Turtle Rehab from our Moore Reef Marine Base on their Reef Tracker app - check out this article for a turtle release filmed by BBC Blue Planet that also launched the Reef Tracker on our Moore Reef Marine Base.