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Earth Expeditions

Australia: Planned Sites

Reef HQ Aquarium

Located in the coastal city of Townsville, Reef HQ Aquarium is the National Education Centre for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Reef HQ Aquarium runs an on-site turtle hospital to rehabilitate and release sick and injured marine turtles. They develop and implement a range of education programs, including Reef Guardian Schools, which creates a network of schools taking action inside and outside the classroom to protect the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Students develop skills to investigate and solve local issues affecting the greater GBR environment.

Magnetic Island

Just offshore from Townsville lies Magnetic Island. Over half of this rugged, mountainous island is a national park and supports eucalyptus woods, mangroves, sea grass beds, and fringing coral reefs. Rock wallabies scamper on granite boulders. Koalas forage in eucalyptus trees. Echidnas, black flying foxes, brushtail possums, and over 180 species of birds can also be seen on the island. Dugongs and sea turtles swim in the waters around the island.

Wheeler Reef

Part of the outer Great Barrier Reef, Wheeler Reef lies some 40 nautical miles off the coast of Townsville. Wheeler Reef is off the beaten track, making for pristine corals and crystal clear water with few divers or snorkelers in sight. In addition to a high abundance of fish — including fusiliers, parrotfish, and damselfish– turtles and manta rays are common. The reef is famous for gullies, canyons, and caves and is an ideal site for divers and snorkelers.

(Course locations are subject to change.)