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Must-do Eco Friendly Tours on the Great Barrier Reef

Morris EscapesTeam 3·1 Jun, 2024

Travelling anywhere comes with a level of responsibility but perhaps nowhere is there a greater need to be environmentally conscious than when visiting the Great Barrier Reef.Thankfully, eco-friendly tours on the Great Barrier Reef are part of the modus operandi at Orpheus Island Lodge.

With the island playing host to a scientific research station, regular beach cleanups, educational dive and snorkelling trips, and citizen science opportunities, these eco-friendly tours will keep your footprint low and your experiences high.

Research Station Tour

Fascinated by marine scientists and wonder what they get up to all day? The James Cook University Research Station has held an important position in Pioneer Bay on the western side of Goolboodi (Orpheus Island) since the late ‘70s, facilitating more than 600 scientific papers written about corals, fish and seaweed in the area.

On this eco-friendly tour, you’ll all but don a lab coat as you explore the wet and dry laboratories and the live reef touch tanks of the research facility. During specific times of the year, you’ll find marine scientists conducting integral research on climate change, sea level rise and their potential impacts on the local reef and ecosystems.

The James Cook University Research Station

Picnic Bay Beach Cleanup

The harmful effects of plastics and other debris on marine life is a problem we can all play a part in reversing. Twice a year, the Tangaroa Blue Foundation conducts clean ups on Orpheus Island to remove, sort and record marine debris, entering the tally and details into the Australian Marine Debris Database (AMDI) – and they’ve collected more than 1736 tonnes of rubbish from Australian waters thus far.

Even if a formal beach clean up isn’t scheduled during your stay on the island, you can play your part in the protection of the reef by collecting any rubbish you see and putting it into the Tangaroa Blue container set up at Picnic Bay.

Play your part in the protection of the reef by collecting any rubbish you see.

Eco-Educational Dive and Snorkel

When we have a connection to something, we’re more likely to rally to save it, which is why a half-day dive charter or a snorkelling trip to the protected giant clam garden at Pioneer Bay are ideal eco-friendly tours to book during your stay on the Great Barrier Reef.

Planted in the 1980s in an effort to save the species from the brink of extinction, the giant clam nursery is now populated by 300 of the world’s largest bivalve molluscs, weighing up to 200kg each.

DIY Research Volunteering

While not an organised eco friendly tour per se, participating in a citizen science project during your stay at Orpheus Island Lodge is an easy (and free!) way to take action against the climate crisis. Choose from local projects where you can complete surveys, and provide data and photos – in or out of the water – to assist professional scientists and conservation groups.

Download a coral health chart from Coral Watch and you can contribute important information to help scientists understand more about coral bleaching events. With The GBRMPA’s Eye on the Reef app, you can record reef health, animal sightings or incidents to help those who manage the Great Barrier Reef. There are projects covering everything from turtles to manta rays, and mangroves to coral.

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