insights from the ultimate cruising team

Weird and Wonderful Creatures of the Coral Reef

Weird and Wonderful Creatures of the Coral Reef

Hugging the shores of Queensland, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, and lapping just the southen  tips of  eastern New Guinea, the Coral Sea is an underwater hive of marinelife.  With more than 1,500 species of fish, six species of turtles and 30 species of porpoises, whales and dolphins, it’s no wonder this region draws people from all over the world to explore these hidden depths.

Aptly named for it’s colourful underwater garden, the Coral Sea encompasses the 2,000km stretch of Great Barrier Reef, with around 2,900 individual reefs and 1000 islands.  A biodiversity hotspot with 49 different habitats, ocean-going species use the various cays, reefs and corals as habitats for feeding and breeding.  And it’s right here in our own back yard!

It was the site of the “Battle of the Coral Sea” in WWII – the first aircraft carrier battle fought between the United States and Australia against Japan.  No ships saw each other during this battle, nor did they fire their guns.  Instead, it was an airborne battle by aircraft launched from the carriers.  An important battle lasting from 04-08 May 1942, it was the first major defeat for Japan and touted as the battle that saved Australia from invasion.

These days, sailing the Coral Sea is a far more enjoyable experience!  Let’s take a look at some of the weird and wonderful creatures you may encounter here.  Some of these guys don't do the reef a lot of good but oh my, they are incredible creatures!


Crown-of-thorns starfish


Giant clam

 Reef Stonefish

 Christmas Tree Worm


Hawksbill turtle




Napolean Wrasse


There are a number of ways to explore the Coral Reef whether it’s a round trip cruise from Cairns, part of a Cairns to Sydney voyage or a cruise that takes in Australia’s coast, New Guinea, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.  Take a look at our packages page for some of the options.  If these don’t tick the box, give us a call for some further options.