Open Daily - Click For Times Upcoming Events Aquarium Wharf, Darling Harbour, Sydney

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living system on earth, covering 2000km from north to south. So large that it can even be seen from space

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living system on earth, covering 2,000km from north to south. So large that it can even be seen from space!
Running down much of the coastline of north eastern Australia, this World Heritage site is the world's largest structure built by living organisms and is one of the few such structures visible from space.
The incredible diversity of life is unmatched elsewhere, with only rainforests coming close. This biodiversity includes over 350 species of coral, 2,000 species of fishes and over 4,000 species of molluscs.

Colour plays an important role with many of the animals found on the Great Barrier Reef. Like birds in a rainforest, the multitudes of fish use colours and patterns to recognise members of their own species and to convey important information such as sex and status within the school. The diverse colours of corals are provided by the different species of algae which live within their tissues, converting sunlight into food for the coral.

This profusion of colour can be seen in the Great Barrier Reef exhibit, which displays an extensive range of fish species as well as a number of different soft and hard corals. Through the numerous windows looking into the main oceanarium you will see hundreds of tropical reef fish living side by side with sharks and sawfish.

Quick Facts


Situated off the coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is home to approximately:
  • 1,500 fish species
  • 400 coral species
  • 4,000 molluscs species
  • 500 seaweed species
  • 215 bird species
  • 16 sea snake species

At around 2 million litres, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium's Great Barrier Reef exhibit is the world's largest, highlighting the enormous variety of life in this habitat.

Here you'll see clown anemone fish dart amongst the waving tentacles of an anemone, sea stars and sea cucumbers silently creeping amongst the coral, wildly coloured triggerfish and vibrantly coloured tangs and angelfish zipping around then suddenly stopping in their tracks to be attended to by a tiny cleaner wrasse, deceptively beautiful lionfish hovering menacingly over coral formations in search of their next meal, brilliantly patterned lobsters waving their long antennae about and sleek tropical sharks seeming to move in time with the music.

By the time you reach the Reef Theatre, with its floor to ceiling window into the oceanarium and captivating music, you just will not want to leave!
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Turns out it's not just coral that are negatively impacted by sea temperature rises. Recent research funded by the SEA LIFE Conservation Fund has found sea anemones are also extremely sensitive to increases in temperatures putting Nemo's home at risk. Find out more about this research here.
 
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