Visiting Reef HQ Townsville is fun and informative and is one of our favourite things to do in Townsville Australia. It is as close as you can get to a Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling Tour on dry land and a wonderful reef ecosystem learning experience. Reef HQ is suitable for all ages and abilities and has a large lift to the top floor.
With a cafe and gift shop on site this air-conditioned complex is a cool place to be when it is hot outside.
What You Will Find in This Post
- What’s on Every day at Reef HQ
- 10.30 – Chat with an underwater diver
- 11.15am & 2.00pm Discovery Lagoon Session – Great for kids to get hands on with some marine life and learn about reef safety.
- 12.00pm & 3.30pm Meet the patients in the Turtle Hospital*
- 2.30pm Shark Feeding Show (Tue, Thur and Sun) – not only sharks but other reef predators. Floor to ceiling viewing window and walk through viewing tunnel.
- 2.30pm Animal Feeding Tour (Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat)
- How to Tour Reef HQ
- Welcome to the World’s largest LIVING Coral Reef Aquarium
- Reef HQ for Kids
- How to get to Reef HQ
What’s on Every day at Reef HQ
Check this list of talks and tours when planning your day. The kids will love all of the activities and keep in mind that photography is best on a sunny day around mid-day.
10.30 – Chat with an underwater diver
12.00pm & 3.30pm Meet the patients in the Turtle Hospital*
2.30pm Animal Feeding Tour (Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat)
How to Tour Reef HQ
Visitors can roam freely within the aquarium complex taking in any of the talks and tours mentioned above or just sitting and watching the reef through the huge viewing windows. There are interesting fact boards everywhere and you can interrogate the friendly uniformed volunteers – they are extremely well informed and love answering questions.
Reef HQ Turtle Hospital*
The majority of turtle patients are green turtles. The main reasons for treatment are the swallowing of plastic bags and/or fishing line, collapsed lungs and pneumonia. The hospital saved and released 110 turtles over one three year period alone and with more turtle tanks hope to increase this number. Green turtles do not reproduce until they are fifty years old so it is imperative for future generations that they survive and breed.
Welcome to the World’s largest LIVING Coral Reef Aquarium
The Coral Reef Exhibit at Reef HQ contains 2.5 million litres, and the predator tank 750,000 litres. The two tanks meet above the underwater viewing tunnel. The Aquarium is open to the weather and this with it’s gentle wave action creates the perfect environment for a living reef eco system.
During the floods of February 2019, 26 tonnes of salt were added to the Aquarium because torrential and long lasting rain had diluted the salt water to dangerous levels.
Photography at Reef HQ
Photographs (no flash) can generally be taken in the aquarium. I particularly like photographing the smaller display tanks that are home to tiny creatures like seahorses. It would be impossible to get such up close photos of such small creatures in the main aquarium.
Inspect the coral reef exhibit through huge viewing windows
Watch fish interact with the reef and each other
It is as close as you can get to the great barrier reef on land
Reef HQ for Kids
If you are looking for things to do in Townsville for kids, look no further. Children have great fun with the perpetual interactive displays and live tanks presented at their eye level with extra activities especially for them during school holiday times.
The school holiday program is advertised via Reef HQ’s website and social media channels. Special school holiday events, like mermaids are advertised in the Townsville Bulletin and radio stations.
- Reef HQ Prices and opening hours inclusive of Turtle Hospital
Kids prices are charged up to 16 years of age. Admission fees go toward conservation of the Great Barrier Reef.
How to get to Reef HQ
Reef HQ is located on Flinders Street East, an easy walk to the CBD, The Strand, and Magnetic Island Ferry Terminal, and is situated next door to the Tropical Museum of North Queensland, another fun thing to do in Townsville.
Have you thought of visiting Townsville? If you would like to know more about Reef H.Q. or Townsville in general, leave a comment and I will be happy to help.
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