The Great Southern Reef is a reef system spanning our southern coast from Western Australia to Queensland.

What is the The Great Southern Reef?

Australia is known around the world for The Great Barrier Reef, but there’s a lesser known reef which deserves just as much care, attention and protection – The Great Southern Reef (GSR).

8000km of Coastline

Fringing Australia from Kalbarri in Western Australia, down and around the rugged southern coast and up into Moreton Bay in Queensland, the GSR is an interconnected network home to thousands of species.

The Great Southern Reef

Image courtesy of Australian Academy of Science


“What makes the Great Southern Reef such a distinctive ecosystem is that not only is it incredibly biodiverse, but a high proportion of the species it hosts are found nowhere else on earth”

– Stefan Andrews, Ocean Imaging Director and Science Communicator


Kelp Forests & Amazing Creatures

The defining feature of the reef systems is the temperate waters and the thriving kelp forests, which are home to iconic species including the iconic giant cuttlefish, leafy seadragons, Australian sealions and giant kelp forests.


Thanks to Ocean Imaging & for all images.


Multiple Types of Value

The reef system is a unique habitat, home to thousands of creatures, just off the coast of Australia. In addition to its intrinsic value as a home for so much life (significant amounts of which has no other home), the reef plays a vital role for us humans too.

A report completed in 2015 by Bennett & Wernberg et al (link) indicated the system contributes $10bn value to the Australian way of life, and the reef was recently recognised as a Mission Blue Hopespot.

To learn more you can read the article “Australia’s ‘other’ reef is worth more than $10 billion a year – but have you heard of it?” on The Conversation.

To learn more about the reef through video, photos and to read the reports about the value of the reef – visit



Caring for the Great Southern Reef through #SeaToSource

The GSR lies off the coast of many of our most populous cities, and as such is at threat from human activities including ocean litter which comes down the waterways from towns and cities inland and on the coast, as well as from people operating on the water.

To protect and care for The GSR, we’ve developed #SeaToSource which aims to tackle ocean litter from the sea right back to the source, supporting people to take action through community challenges, beach cleans, source reduction workshops and more.