Reef and Fauna Information
Green Island and its reef are very close to the mainland, lying only 27 km (16 miles) from Cairns. The island sits on the north-western edge of the reef flat. The surrounding reef is classified an ‘inshore patch reef’.
The reef surrounding Green Island supports a diverse range of habitats and marine life. There are two significant habitats:
- the seagrass beds in the shallows
- the reef that starts shallow and continues into the depths.
Seagrass beds support a wide range of animals, from juvenile fish that use the grass for protection from predators to large sea turtles and dugong that feed on the seagrass. The reef around Green Island has over 190 different types of hard corals and over 100 types of soft corals.
With a circumference of just 1.6km, Green Island is home to over 120 species of plants, including a unique mixture of coastal and rainforest plants. The coastline is ringed by short, scrubby coastal vegetation that can survive drier conditions along the beach. But, step a few feet in to the centre of the island, and the vegetation changes abruptly to a dense, shady vine-thicket rainforest.
In fact, of the 300 coral cays on the Great Barrier Reef, Green Island is the only one with a rainforest. Coconut trees are not thought to be native to the island, but were introduced to the island in 1889 to provide food, drink and shelter for fishermen and stranded sailors.
View our Self Guided Eco Island Walk to gain an insight into some of the commonly seen flora and their Indigenous uses.
Bird Life On Green Island
Green Island attracts a wide range of birds, including land birds, seabirds and migratory birds that pass through the Great Barrier Reef on the way to nesting grounds. There are over 55 species of birds regularly seen on Green Island. Of these, 13 are seabirds and 38 are shore and land birds. About 15 types of birds regularly nest on the island.
For more Reef, Flora and Fauna Information download the Green Island Fact sheet.