Can you see turtles while swimming at the Great Barrier Reef?

Can you see turtles while swimming at the Great Barrier Reef?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 03/25/2024

Reading time: 3 mins

The Great Barrier Reef is home to an abundance of marine life from fish and sharks to sea turtles.

Turtle hatchlings

If you are snorkelling and diving at the Great Barrier Reef, there is a good chance you will see a sea turtle.

There are seven sea turtle species living in the oceans, and six of those species live at the Great Barrier Reef!

About the turtles at the Great Barrier Reef

The Loggerhead Turtle is endangered and mostly feeds on crustaceans. They have reddish-brown shells and large heads, which is how they got their name.

Olive Ridley Turtles are the opposite of the Loggerhead Turtle in that they are extremely small. They have a greyish shell and hatchlings are black with a brown under-shell.

The largest turtle species is the Leatherback Turtle. This turtle species is found living across various oceans. They are less common in the reef than the other species, but they sometimes migrate through the reef.

Green Turtles are the most abundant species on the Great Barrier Reef and have reddish-brown speckles. They are mostly herbivorous and have a domed, smooth shell.

The Flatback Turtle only lives around Australia and occasionally migrates towards Indonesia. These turtles have a low-domed shell and a greyish tone.

Last but not least is the Hawksbill Turtle. This turtle lives in each of the oceans and eats mostly sponges. They can be easily identified by their black spots and a beak-like mouth.

How to keep them safe

Great Barrier Reef turtles

The turtles call the Great Barrier Reef their home, so it is important to maintain a healthy environment for the sea creatures.

You can do your part by wearing reef-safe sunscreen and not polluting the ocean with wrappers and other debris. If you come across a turtle while snorkelling, be sure to maintain enough distance so that they don’t feel in danger.

Great Barrier Reef snorkelling and diving

Snorkelling and turtle at the Great Barier Reef

Join one of our tours for a chance to see one of these majestic sea creatures while swimming!

We have many incredible tours available, so we will highlight just two.

Our Great Barrier Reef Premium Snorkelling Tour was created to offer a full day of snorkelling. While exploring the reef, you will see colourful fish, and mesmerising coral reefs. You may even spot some sea turtles! The tour includes all snorkelling equipment, flotation devices, an eco-talk, lunch, and more.

This Small Group Reef Tour is a great way to explore the reef with fewer travellers. You will have plenty of time to snorkel on your own, and you will also get to do a free guided snorkel tour. Keep your eyes open for the fascinating marine animals including the sea turtles! This tour includes equipment, lunch, and wine.

Now you have learned a bit about the turtles on the Great Barrier Reef and how to swim with them while also protecting them. Start planning your Great Barrier Reef adventure today!

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.