Norman Reef, Great Barrier Reef

Cairns, Queensland 4805

The Great Barrier Reef consists of 900 tiny islands off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia and measures 2,300 kilometres long.

Norman Reef

It’s one of the most visited destinations in the country and worth every minute. The reef is filled with over a million different types of coral, thousands of fish species, as well as being the home to many turtles, dolphins and sharks. It’s even seen from space! With thousands visiting each year, The Great Barrier Reef is full of tours ready to take you out on the water to experience one of the greatest places on earth. With Norman Beach being one of most noteworthy sections along the Great Barrier Reef.

Where is Norman Reef

Located 80 kilometres from Cairns, the Norman Reef lies on the outer edge of the Great Barrier It is at the very top of the reef, being the most northern reef visited by the boats from Cairns. Located between the Spur reef and Saxon Reef, parallel to Onyx Reef. It is a large outer reef section, although is quite small in comparison to Batt Reef and Arlington Reef. The region is blessed with clear blue waters, and a collection of colourful coral and unique creatures. The reef varies from a depth of 10 to 20 metres, with a sheltered western side for divers.

What’s so Great about Norman Reef

Known to locals and expert divers as one of the best diving spots in the country, Norman Reef is a dream come true for anyone who gets to explore it underwater. It’s filled with caves, corals, giant clams, turtles, and swim through areas that will make you believe you’re in another world. Due to its long depth, there isn’t just fish to see here, but a range of larger marine life roaming the seafloor.

The Wildlife you can see at Norman Reef

The chance of seeing a variety of marine life is pretty high, with a large amount living in the reef throughout the year.

  • Giant Clams

    Found along Norman Reef’s seafloor is the largest of all the molluscs in existence. The Giant clam measures up to 1.3 metres in length and weighs around 250 kilograms. Majority of the clam’s body is the shell, with the soft inner parts inside the shell making up of only about 10% of the overall body. These enormous creatures feed entirely on the sugars and proteins produced by the nearby algae. They are fascinating creatures, stunning in shapes, colours, and sizes, with bright colours and interesting details in their shells. Get up close and personal when you swim along the bottom of Norman’s floor.

  • Moray Eels

    These creatures may not win any beauty contests in the near future, but they are a local within the Norman Reef. Most likely found in your nightmares, these slimy creatures have two sets of jaws, with sharp teeth that trap their prey in their grasp. Similar to the typical eel but ranging in size and colours depending on their type of species, with over 200 different moray eels dotting the world’s sea.

  • Manta Rays

    Some may mistake these for stingrays, but they are the ‘devil’ cousins of the stings. This is due to the mantra rays having the devil horn-like flaps on their mouth. They are thought to be the biggest rays on the entire plant, measuring up to 9 metres, but are seen as gentle and harmless creatures. Their pure white underbellies contrast with their darkish black back. Swim alongside these great beasts as they glide on the bottom or the top of the reef region.

  • Anemones

    Step inside the world of finding Nemo, where anemones sway slowly in the sea. These enchanting creatures attach themselves on reef rocks and have their almost transparent tentacles hang out around them. There are over 1,000 different anemone species found, so there is a good chance you’ll see a range during your Norman reef visit. Some fish, like clownfish Nemo, used these creatures as a safe home from larger predators, while the anemones snack on the scraps of the fish’s meals.

  • Turtles

    Turtle at Norman Reef

    What is one of the most sought-after creatures in the sea? the Sea Turtle! These slow and steady creatures glide through the sea with ease, being the mascot to the tropical reefs of Queensland. There is even a section of the Norman reef which is named ‘turtle bay’ so head here if you are wanting to catch sight with one of the ancient marine creatures.

  • Minke Whales

    If you’re in luck and visiting the Great Barrier Reef during the winter months, you may have the chance to view the Minke Whales. They tend to take over the area mid-to-late winter. Don’t miss out on this opportunity if whale-spotting is on your bucket list!

How you can visit the Norman Reef

There are many tours from Cairns that will take you out to the outer location of the Great Barrier to experience it either under or on the water. Snorkelling is also a great option if you’re not comfortable going completely underwater and requires no experience necessary. If you’re curious and want to commit to a full scuba diving experience, you have the option to do your first and second dive out there.

Many tour operators offer full-day excursions out to Norman Reef, which includes visiting another nearby reef. The other outer reefs included may be the Saxon, Hastings, or Michaelmas. Being able to experience two outer reefs in one day is a great way to see two different reef systems that live in the same area. Many of the species are specific to their locations including certain fish, coral, and anemones. Regardless of whether you are wanting snorkelling trip, a scuba dive adventure, or just a trip out to the deep blue, Norman reef is for you

Other tourist attraction: