Reef HQ

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Reef HQ Aquarium
ReefHQ, Townsville.jpg
ReefHQ Aquarium, Townsville, Queensland Australi
Date opened14 June 1987; 31 years ago (1987-06-14) [1]
LocationTownsville, Queensland,  Australia
Coordinates19°15′28″S 146°49′26″E / 19.2577°S 146.8238°E / -19.2577; 146.8238Coordinates: 19°15′28″S 146°49′26″E / 19.2577°S 146.8238°E / -19.2577; 146.8238
Volume of largest tank2 600 000 L(up to 3 million lt after water intake)
Annual visitors100 000
OwnerGreat Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Reef HQ (typeset as ReefHQ) is the largest living coral reef aquarium.[2] It is located in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. The aquarium was built as a Bicentennial Commemorative project and is a part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). The Coral Reef Exhibit has 130 coral species and 120 fish species along with hundreds of species of sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, brittle stars, feather stars, snails, worms and sponges.


Reef HQ was originally the vision of Dr Graeme Kelleher, a former chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA). Dr Kelleher's primary objective was to bring the marine environment onto the land and make it easily accessible to the public whilst also encouraging the public to help protect the reef.[1]

ReefHQ was originally known as Great Barrier Reef Aquarium when it opened on 14 June 1987. The aquarium was renamed "ReefHQ" in 1999. Since 2009 the name of the aquarium was changed to reflect its original name. It is now known as Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium.[1]


Three of a series of five tropical aquariums mounted in a single large room aquarium, located at the entrance of Reef HQ

Reef HQ Aquarium is inclusive of the Coral Reef Exhibit, a Predator Exhibit, a children's section, a gift shop and cafe.[2] In 2006 Reef HQ opened new 'Exploring our Wetlands' interactive kiosks developed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.[3]


Reef HQ Aquarium is located in the same complex as the Museum of Tropical Queensland and the Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Centre and an IMAX theatre in the Central Business District. Over 110 000 visitors tour Reef HQ Aquarium every year.[2]

Coral Reef Exhibit[edit]

Water motion is created in the Coral Reef Exhibit by a pneumatic wave machine. Unusually, the aquarium is open to the weather, receiving precipitation, sun- and moonlight, just like natural coral reefs. The tank holds approximately 2.5 million litres of water.[2]

See also[edit]


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