A large proportion of the filming for this documentary took place on the outer reef, including these reefs located off the coast of Cairns:
Osprey Reef is one of the most spectacular dive sites in the world, located off Cairns in the Coral Sea. The North Horn site on the reef is a remote sea mount rising 1000m from the ocean floor. There are spectacular wall drop-offs, amazing visibility and a popular shark-feeding location! The northern most point attracts many reef fish and many pelagic species including barracuda, dogtooth tuna and mackerel. White-tip and Grey Whaler sharks cruise off the wall and Hammerheads and Oceanic Silver Tips often come in from deep water to check out the action. You will also find the amazing Nautilus here.
The Ribbons Reefs are a string of 10 coral reefs stretching over 100 miles to the north of Cairns. Relatively isolated in this remote location, the Ribbons Reefs are only accessible by liveaboard diving boats. The Ribbons Reefs, usually quite shallow, can come up to around 5m below the surface from a sandy bottom which is about 15-20m below the surface. Here you will find picturesque coral gardens and coral bommies showcasing delicate corals, anemones, giant clams and colourful reef fish. With great visibility year round and mostly calm sea surfaces the Ribbon Reefs provide fascinating diving opportunities for all levels of diver. Dive sites include: Pixie Pinnacle, Challenger Bay, The Clam Gardens, Lighthouse Bommie, Steve's Bommie, Temple of Doom and Dynamite Pass. At the very top of the Ribbon Reefs lies the famous Cod Hole, home to a family of resident Potato Cod (Grouper), who always seem to be eager to pose for the camera.
Raine Island is a remote, vegetated coral cay that is 32 hectares in total area and is situated on the outer edges of the Great Barrier Reef. It is the largest and most important green sea turtle nesting area in the world. The waters surrounding Raine Island are so active that seeing over 250 turtles during an hour in the water is common. It is primarily a scientific research site and you can only go there with one of three permit holders.
Some of the filming highlights of this documentary took place on these selected islands of the Great Barrier Reef, spanning from the most southern to northern islands:
Heron Island is located on the Southern Great Barrier Reef just off the coast of Gladstone City and boasts some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. Heron Island is a coral cay, completely composed of sand and coral fragments. The island is surrounded by 24 square kilometres of reef and has several nesting spots for green and loggerhead turtles. There are more than 20 dive sites, half of which are only 15 minutes from the beach.
Heron Island is an important location for the collection of oceanographic data. Heron Island Research Station is a world class research and teaching facility and is internationally renowned for coral reef research and student training in marine sciences.
There is one resort on the island, Heron Island Resort, which offers several standards of accommodation designed to suit all tastes and budgets.
The contrasting landscape of Magnetic Island makes this World Heritage listed island a truly distinctive natural destination. The rocky granite headlands fuse with the 23 bays and beaches studded with magnificent Hoop Pine trees, creating a dramatic coastline. Visible from the sea, Mount Cook hovers above the eucalypt woods and green vine forests. The island provides the perfect setting for a unique escape with various accommodation options.
Over two-thirds of the island is protected National Park providing a haven for the native wildlife, like rock wallabies, possums, and over 100 species of birdlife, including the majestic Sea Eagles. Magnetic Island is home to Northern Australia’s largest colony of koalas living in the wild. An abundance of tropical fish and marine life live in the surrounding coral reefs and tranquil waters.
Green Island is a coral cay northeast of Cairns in Tropical North Queensland. The island boasts an unspoilt rainforest, stunning beaches and surrounding reef, so close that you can snorkel directly off the beach. Green Island is perfect for day-trippers from Cairns, but if you'd like to spend more time there, then you have the option to stay at the Island Resort.
The island is spiritually significant to the Gungandji Aboriginal people. Stroll around the island's boardwalks to explore the rainforest and birdlife and find out about the island's history. Walk along the beaches to view seabirds and enjoy views over the reef. Relax on the beach. Swim or snorkel in the clear reef waters. Take a ride in a glass-bottomed boat or join a guided nature walk. Visit the world's first underwater observatory and the Marineland Melanesia Crocodile Habitat.
Situated 15km north-east of Port Douglas, the Low Isles comprise a four acre coral cay surrounded by 55 acres of reef. The reefs are very close to the island, which makes snorkelling an easy and enjoyable experience. The two small islands are separate but share the common reef. The larger of the two, Woody Island, is uninhabited except for a large bird population. It is a vital habitat for many species. The smaller of the Low Isles is a coral cay with a lighthouse that has been operating since 1878.
There are 150 different species of hard corals in the waters surrounding Low Isles, although these are dominated by 15 species of soft corals. Living amongst the corals is a large variety of fish, molluscs, sea cucumbers and other animals. Colourful parrotfish are a common sight as well as angelfish, damselfish, anenomefish or clownfish, trevally, rabbitfish, sweetlip, moon wrasse and fusilleers, just to name a few!
Lizard Island is a ruggedly beautiful island on the northern Great Barrier Reef in Tropical North Queensland. Lizard boasts 24 pristine beaches that range from white sand to rocky escarpments and easy access to some of the best diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Lizard Island is renowned for its scuba diving and snorkelling and is surrounded by coral reefs, ribbon and lagoon reefs. But Lizard Island's close proximity to one of the best known diving sites on the Great Barrier Reef, the Cod Hole, that distinguishes it from many other reef islands.
Lizard Island is also home to one of Australia's most premier resorts: Lizard Island. There is also a campground at the national park at the northern end of Watson Bay. There is also a Research Station on the island which is known as a world-leading supplier of on-reef facilities for coral reef research and education.
Take one of the many magnificent walks on the island and you can expect to glimpse a Monitor, the lizard after which Lizard Island was originally named.
Described by many as the greatest wildlife wreck on Earth! The S.S. Yongala sank in 1911 and was one of Australia’s most intriguing maritime mysteries as she lay undiscovered for more than half a century.
Find the S.S. Yongala near Townsville on the north Queensland coast.
Tropical North Queensland is the only place on earth where two World-Heritage areas meet, the Great Barrier Reef and the ancient Daintree Rainforest. Approximately 1200 square kilometers, the Daintree is the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest on the Australian continent. North of the Daintree River tropical rainforest grows right down to the edge of the ocean.
The Daintree region is undeniably spectacular and is uniquely accessible to travellers. Cruise down the river and take in the sights of jungle homes of birds, animals and reptiles including large crocodiles and pythons. The region is recognised for its superb wildlife, and eco-tourism operators provide itineraries offering fascinating insights into the creatures that inhabit this remote and beautiful river-system.
Cross the Daintree River by ferry to reach Cape Tribulation and enter 4WD country. Cape Tribulation is a small village where the frontier of the Tropical North really begins. Exploring the area and you’ll discover excellent coastal lookouts where you can see for yourself where the rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef.
Just west of Cairns, on the Atherton Tablelands, 700m above sea level, you will find one of the rainforest’s amazing trees. The Cathedral Fig Tree is a gigantic 500 year old strangler tree. Located in the Danbulla State Forest, the tree is 43m around, 50m high and has a canopy cover that spans 2 hectares. Many species of animal can be found in and around the Cathedral Fig Tree including scrubfowl, reptiles, possums, Tree Kangaroos and Fruit Doves.